Wildcats Edged By Knox Raiders On Australian Tour, 97-95
May 22, 2002
MELBOURNE, Australia - The University of Arizona men's basketball teamgot its first true test in Australia and came up two points short in a97-95 loss to the Knox Raiders Wednesday night at the Knox BasketballStadium.
Knox's Brad Sheridan, who finished with a game-high 24 points, hit athree-pointer with 11 seconds remaining to give the Raiders thetwo-point win. Arizona did have a shot to win the game, but SalimStoudamire's three-point attempt at the buzzer bounced off the front ofthe rim.
Once again, turnovers proved to be a problem for the Wildcat offense asthe squad tallied a tour-high 33 miscues in the contest. Eight of the10 UA players to see action Wednesday collected at least two turnoversapiece.
'Turnovers killed us tonight,' said UA assistant coach Josh Pastner, whohandled the head coaching duties. 'We've got to learn to take care ofthe ball. Until we do, we're going to run into problems, and that wasthe case tonight.'
The Raiders held the lead for the majority of the game, building as muchas a 13-point lead (63-50) with 7:06 to go in the third quarter.Arizona chipped away at the lead with consecutive treys by Luke Waltonand Stoudamire before an Isaiah Fox bucket cut the deficit to fivepoints with six minutes to go in the period.
After a Knox free throw pushed the margin to six, Jason Gardner turnedin what was the play of the game. He stopped a would-be Raider fastbreak by blocking a layup attempt, tracking down the loose ball, andhitting a trey at the other end that cut the lead to three.
Overall, UA head coach Lute Olson was satisfied with the Wildcat effortagainst a veteran Australian ABA team. For the first time in fourgames, Arizona faced an opponent that forced it to play well in order towin.
'That was a good game for us,' said Olson. 'They are a very good teamthat you really need to play well against to win. For us to have 33turnovers and still have a chance to win at the end tells me we did somethings well.'
One of those positives was the play of Channing Frye. The 6-foot-10center hit 12-of-17 shots from the floor en route to game-high totals of24 points and 17 rebounds. He scored eight of his points in the fourthquarter, and practically traded baskets with Sheridan down the stretch.
Despite the strong effort, Fyre's sights were already looking forward tothe next game. 'The bottom line is that we lost the game,' heexplained. 'I really hate to lose. I'm already looking forward togetting back on the floor tomorrow night.'
The Wildcats travel to Sydney Thursday to take on the Sydney Kings nightat 7:30 p.m.