No. 12 Arizona Romps Over No. 20 Texas, 80-52

Jan. 27, 2001

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Defensively, Arizona is living up to those loftypreseason expectations.

Gilbert Arenas and Michael Wright scored 16 points apiece Saturday as theNo. 12 Wildcats won their sixth in a row with an 80-52 rout of No. 20 Texas,the Longhorns' worst loss of the season.

Arizona coach Lute Olson said the margin surprised him.

'That's a good team,' he said. 'Our defense did not let them look like agood team.'

The Wildcats (14-5), the preseason No. 1 team, are 4-0 since Olson came backfollowing the death of his wife.

'We're getting there,' he said. 'I don't think we're anywhere near wherewe need to be yet offensively, but it's a whole lot better than it was a monthago.'

Richard Jefferson added 13 points for the Wildcats (14-5), while Loren Woodsscored 10 despite 4-for-16 shooting. Wright and Jefferson had nine reboundsapiece.

Texas (15-5) shot just 31 percent from the field (22-for-70).

'The key for us defensively today was pressure on the point guard,' Olsonsaid. 'They're a young team. We just didn't want to give them any room to dowhat they wanted to do.'

The 28-point loss surpassed the 95-69 blowout of the Longhorns by Duke Nov.22 in the semifinals of the preseason NIT.

'A good word is poise,' Texas coach Rick Barnes said. 'We don't staypoised on offense. You expect a team like Arizona to take away your firstoption, then you go to the next option and next option. What you don't do issay `What am I going to do here?' and put your head down and take off and noone knows what's going on.'

Arizona shot out to a 21-6 lead. Texas got with in seven late in the firsthalf, but Jason Gardner banked in a 50-footer at the halftime buzzer, then theWildcats ran away in the second half to lead by as many as 29.

'I think the key was picking it up on the defensive end,' Gardner said.'We really made them work hard, and we tried to stay on them. We are stilltrying to find ourselves. To beat Texas like that is a big confidence boost.'

Chris Owens had 19 points and 17 rebounds for Texas but was 8-for-25 fromthe field. Maurice Evans added 11 points. Darren Kelly scored 10 but made onlyfour of 15 shots.

Texas lost on the road twice this week - at Oklahoma and Arizona - and is3-5 away from home this season.

Gardner's big shot gave Arizona a 34-24 lead at the break, then the Wildcatsoutscored 27-9 over the first 10 1/2 minutes of the second half.

'They played good defense,' Owens said. 'They were in the passing lanesall day.'

Texas, which started the game 3-for-19, made just two of its first 16 shotsin the second half.

'The thing is we don't have a flow to our offense,' Owens said. 'As ateam, we don't understand who is going to get a shot and who is playing a role.I don't know.'

Evans' tip-in to open the second half and cut Arizona's lead to 34-26.

Wright scored inside to ignite a 17-4 run that included a steal andbreakaway stuff by Arenas. Wright's rebound basket capped the outburst and putthe Wildcats ahead 51-30 with 12:58 to play.

Luke Walton sank a 10-footer to make it 61-33 with 9:23 to go. The Wildcats'biggest lead was 66-37 after Arenas made two free throws with 7:55 to go.

The Longhorns used a 9-3 run to cut the lead to 31-24 on Kelly's 3-pointerwith three seconds left in the half.

But Gardner took the inbounds pass and let fly from in front of press row.The ball banked cleanly through, Gardner calmly shook his fist, and Arizona hada double-digit lead again.

Texas went scoreless in a 7:04 stretch in the first half and was without afield goal for 6:19 in the second.

Owens had eight points and 10 rebounds in the first half but was just3-for-12 from the field.

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