Juniors Set Pace over NAU

Nov. 30, 2008

TUCSON - Arizona's veteran trio of Jordan Hill, Chase Budinger and Nic Wise helped lift the Wildcats to a nonconference victory over in-state rival Northern Arizona, 74, Sunday afternoon in McKale Center.

The trio scored 63 of Arizona's points and helped fuel a 22-9 run half way through the second period to pull the Cats away from a halftime tie to take a 53-42 lead.

Hill powered in 23 points and had a double-double with a game-high 10 rebounds, Budinger posted 22 points on six-for-seven shooting, and Wise added 18 points and seven assists.

NAU was led by Shane Johannsen with 14 and Josh Wilson's 13 points. The Lumberjacks had some balance with five others in the scoring column, including nine points from Matt Johnson but suffered from 43 percent shooting.

UA hit 57 percent of its shots and both teams were even on the glass, with UA edging the Jacks 30-28. NAU had 10 turnovers to nine by Arizona.

NAU put on a little run inside the nine-minute mark to cut the lead to six, 59-53, but couldn't get closer thereafter.

NAU held the lead from the start in the first half, holding Arizona to eight shots through the first eight and half minutes of the game for a 12-11 edge. Meantime, the Lumberjacks worked the ball at a fast pace in their half-court offense for multiple looks off 13 shots.

By that point, NAU had used 10 players to the initial starting five by UA.

UA took the lead, 13-12, on a fadeaway jumper by Wise at the 11-minute mark. NAU missed a pair of free throws and Hill dunked at the other end, but Zarko Comagic answered with a jump shot at the other end. Wise drained a three-pointer to give UA an 18-14 lead.

Cameron Jones' three-pointer as the shot-clock expired tied the game at 23 with 3:51 left in the half. Both teams turned it over before Budinger knocked down a three to snap the deadlock.

Wise made a move to get open for a jumper in the key to push the lead back to five, 28-23. But UA's Fendi Onobun fouled Matt Johnson on a three-point attempt at the other end and Johnson made all three to cut it to two.

A minute later, NAU's trey by Josh Wilson tied it at 31 and Arizona's Hill missed a short jumper as the half closed.

The Cats improved to 4-1 overall, while NAU dropped to 1-5. Arizona will play Loyola Marymount at 7 p.m. Tuesday in McKale Center. NAU next plays Dec. 6 at home against Utah Valley.

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