Wildcats Defeat Pepperdine, 94-71
Dec 28, 2001
By MEL REISNER
AP Sports Writer
TUCSON, Ariz. - Salim Stoudamire seemed to benefit the most fromArizona playing its first home game in nearly four weeks.
The freshman, looking for improvement after shooting poorly during a roadtrip to Oregon last week, had a season-high 25 points Friday night as No. 14Arizona rebounded from the worst loss in coach Lute Olson's 19 seasons with theWildcats by routing Pepperdine 94-71.
'I don't worry about that,' said Stoudamire, who was 9-of-13 from thefield with five 3-pointers after going a combined 5-of-15 the last two games.'We won, and that's all that matters.'
Associate head coach Jim Rosborough said nobody was worried about Stoudamireregaining his touch.
'No. 1, we're back home,' Rosborough said. 'No. 2, we watched Salim verycarefully on tape. We've worked with him a lot, and I think the techniqueswe've taught him will help.'
The win six days after Oregon beat the Wildcats 105-75 sent Arizona toSunday's championship game of the Bank One Fiesta Bowl Classic. The Wildcats(7-3) will play Valparaiso, a 76-57 winner over West Virginia in the firstgame.
Terrance Johnson had 24 points and eight rebounds for the Waves (5-6), andBoomer Brazzle scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half.
The win was Arizona's first in two games at home, where the Wildcats wereambushed 105-97 by Kansas on Dec. 1, and its 32nd in 33 games at its holidaytournament.
The phrase 'honoring Bobbi Olson' was added to the tournament name thisyear to commemorate Olson's late wife, who was terminally ill during the eventlast year and died Jan. 1.
Olson missed last year's title game to be at his wife's bedside, andMississippi State dealt the Wildcats their only loss in the first 16 years,75-74. This time, Olson came down with laryngitis and was forced to write notesto communicate during timeouts and skipped postgame interviews.
'He didn't have a voice, but he was still yelling at you on the paper,'Frye joked.
But the Wildcats got the message, jumping ahead from the start and notletting up until Pepperdine outscored them 13-4 over the final four minutes.
'We knew this team could get hot,' Frye said. 'Our guys just played well.Salim had a breakout game, but then we all did.'
Pepperdine coach Paul Westphal, whose squad beat UCLA and SouthernCalifornia early on but since has lost to Oregon and Arizona, said theWildcats' long-range shooting was a key to the Waves falling behind.
'I give them a lot of credit, but I also give us the blame,' Westphalsaid. 'If you're patient you can run your offense and you won't be taken outof it. We weren't patient.'
Stoudamire made three 3-pointers in the first 5:02, opening a 17-4 lead.
Isaiah Fox made it 26-8 with a putback 8:12 in before the Waves made theirbest run of the first half.
Johnson had seven points during a 15-10 run, finishing it with a 3-pointer,as Pepperdine cut its deficit to 36-23 with 5:11.
But the Wildcats stepped up the pace again, and Gardner made a 3-pointer,was fouled by Will Kimble and opened a 47-27 lead with the free throw with 53seconds left.
'In the second half, we needed to come out and play harder,' Johnson said.'But they were ready to play and beat us to it.'
Arizona got its first 30-point lead at 65-35 on a layup by Frye four minutesinto the second half, and Frye scored seven points in 60 seconds to give theWildcats a 74-42 lead with 12:19 to go.