Iguodala Drains Three To Save Wildcats
Dec 31, 2003
By MEL REISNER
AP Sports Writer
It turned out to be the break the fourth-ranked Wildcats needed.
Iguodala hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 9 seconds remaining, andArizona escaped an upset in its holiday tournament with a 72-69 victory overthe Ragin' Cajuns on Tuesday night.
'I was thinking about getting open and getting the shot up,' Iguodalasaid. 'I have faith in my team to get the offensive rebound if I missed, butwhen the shot left my hand I knew it was good.'
Mustafa Shakur threw an inbounds pass across half the court for the shotthat broke a tie created when Dwayne Mitchell dunked at the other end with 44seconds to go.
'They had their whole defense to the ball side (blocking out Frye),' coachLute Olson said. 'Thank goodness Andre screened for it and Mustafadelivered.'
The Cajuns' Brad Boyd missed a 3-point attempt in the final seconds, andChris Cameron's putback was late and rolled over the rim.
'I kind of hesitated with the shot, and Frye was jumping right there,'said Boyd, who made only three of his tournament-record 17 3-point attempts.'I felt like it was a good shot, but it just didn't go in.'
Olson picked up his 300th home victory (300-30) and 18th title in the FiestaBowl Classic's 19 years. It was Olson's 699th win in 31 years as a coach atLong Beach State, Iowa and Arizona.
He has never lost in the event. The Wildcats were upset by Mississippi Statein the 2000 championship, but Olson was attending to his cancer-stricken wife.
Hassan Adams had 23 points and 14 rebounds for the Wildcats (8-1), who wontheir seventh straight, and Iguodala, who had a triple-double in Sunday's107-91 win over Liberty, finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and fiveassists.
Louisiana-Lafayette's Antoine Landry had a career-high 20 points, going6-for-10 on 3-pointers. Brian Hamilton and Mitchell each scored 11 for theCajuns (4-4).
Louisiana-Lafayette coach Jesse Evans, Olson's assistant from 1988-97, hadhis team prepared for the first meeting between the programs.Louisiana-Lafayette rattled the Wildcats, forcing them into a season-high 23turnovers, and led 67-65 on Landry's last 3-pointer with 3:38 left.
In a 20-second span, Frye and Iguodala each made a free throw to tie it, andArizona regained the lead, 69-67, with 1:15 to play when Adams got a defensiverebound, raced to the other end and dunked off Iguodala's thread-the-needlepass through the lane.
'It was a good game from my perspective,' Evans said. 'We're a prettygood basketball team, but we realize we're playing one of the top teams in thecountry.'
The Cajuns outscored Arizona 19-1 in a run that began with 1:16 left in thefirst half, turning a 40-28 deficit into a 47-41 lead on Landry's 3-pointer.
But the Wildcats regrouped after a timeout.
Ivan Radenovic put back a miss by Iguodala with 14:56 left, Iguodala burieda 3-pointer 51 seconds later and Adams shot the Wildcats into a 48-47 lead witha putback with 12:46 left.
The lead changed hands three more times before Arizona's Chris Rodgers brokea 52-52 tie with a 3-pointer with 9:44 left.
Iguodala had a three-point play and Adams a 3-pointer to cap an 11-2 runthat gave the Wildcats a 61-54 lead with 8:03 to go.
'When games get close like that, you have to pull it off,' Adams said.'It comes down to who wants it more at the end. This'll get us ready for theconference.'