No. 14 Arizona Advances To Championship Of The Fiesta Bowl Classic
Dec. 28, 2004
By MEL REISNER
AP Sports Writer
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Channing Frye had 16 points, and No. 14 Arizona beatEastern Washington 79-45 Tuesday night to advance to the championship game ofthe Fiesta Bowl Classic.
The Wildcats will play Richmond, a 69-68 victor over Butler, for the titleThursday night. Arizona is 38-1 in its holiday tournament, losing only toMississippi State in 2000 while coach Lute Olson was at the bedside of hiscancer-stricken wife.
Hassan Adams added 13 points and four steals. Frye also had four steals,contributing to Eastern's 24 turnovers.
Marc Axton, a 1,000-point career scorer, went 3-for-12 against Arizona'spressure and finished with seven points. Reserve Paul Butorac had 11 points andKenny Smith 10.
The Wildcats (9-2) won their sixth straight and handed the Eagles theirworst loss of the season.
Eastern Washington (2-9), a preseason favorite to repeat as Big SkyConference champion, has lost seven straight during a difficult stretch whichbegan against No. 13 Washington and included consecutive games against Gonzagaand Arizona.
A week earlier, Arizona beat Manhattan 105-75 in its best performance of theyear, shooting 52 percent to silence some early season critics. They kept upthe sharp shooting against the Eagles, hitting 61.5 percent in the first halfand 53.8 percent for the game.
Frye was 7-of-11 from the floor, including 6-of-8 in the first half when hescored 12.
The Wildcats led by 16 points at halftime and squeezed any suspense out ofthe game with an 18-6 run that featured seven straight points by Adams. SalimStoudamire had four points during a 9-0 finish to the run, capping it with aspectacular reverse layup.
The 6-minute surge opened a 62-34 lead with 8:56 left, and both coaches sentreserves in to finish the game minutes later.
Arizona made 13 of its first 19 shots and forced the Eagles into 13turnovers by the 7:33 mark of the first half.
Frye made a layup for a 14-4 lead and a jump hook with 12:07 to go,increasing the lead to 16-7.
After a 3-pointer by Butorac, Arizona went on a 13-4 run capped by DanielDillon's 3-pointer for a 29-14 lead with 7:33 remaining.
Jawann McClellan, another freshman, gave Arizona its biggest lead of thefirst half at 39-23 when he made a free throw with 1.9 seconds left aftergetting an offensive rebound.