Wildcat Men Cruise In Season Opener
By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer
TUCSON, Ariz. - No. 1 Arizona lived up to the preseason hype and thensome in its season opener.
Freshman Hassan Adams scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half to leadseven Wildcats in double figures in a 107-68 rout of 19th-ranked WesternKentucky on Saturday.
The Hilltoppers, also playing their season opener, committed 28 turnoversagainst Arizona's trapping, pressing defense.
The Wildcats blew open an 18-4 lead and were up by as many as 32 points inthe first half. Western Kentucky trailed by as many as 42 and never got closerthan 24 in the second half.
Rick Anderson scored 14 for Arizona, all in the first half, and JasonGardner added 12, all in the second half. Luke Walton had 12 points and sevenassists, Will Bynum scored 12 points, Channing Frye added 10 points and ninerebounds and freshman Andre Iguodala had 10 points.
David Boyden scored 26 for Western Kentucky, including four 3-pointers.
Western Kentucky was without 7-foot-1 Chris Marcus, who is recovering fromankle surgery, but still had four returning players who started at least 14games last season, when the Hilltoppers were 22-4.
The Hilltoppers lost two starters to injuries. Mike Wells left when he waselbowed in the face late in the first half, and Todor Panjdov, who scored 12points, had to be helped from the court with an injured left knee with 13:31 toplay in the game.
Arizona led 53-25 at the half even though Gardner, the No. 2 scorer in thePac-10 last season, didn't have a point and took just two shots. He doesn'tneed to score with a team coach Lute Olson says is his deepest and mostathletic.
The Wildcats' defense wreaked havoc from the start, forcing eight turnoversin the first 7ï¿½ minutes and 15 in the first half.
Adams' slam on a lob from Gardner after a turnover made it 18-4 with 13:10to play in the half, and Bynum's 16-footer put Arizona up 22-6 with 10:24remaining.
Boyden's stuff capped a 11-5 spurt that cut Arizona's lead to 27-17 with6:27 left until halftime.
But the Wildcats stepped up the pressure again in a 24-2 outburst that madeit 51-19 on Adams' 10-footer with 1:35 to go in the half. Walton and Bynum eachmade two 3-pointers and Anderson one during the run.
Ten Wildcats played at least six minutes in the first half.
Arizona rolled despite the absence of guard Salim Stoudamire, the Pac-10freshman of the year last season who has a sprained ankle.
The Wildcats committed 20 turnovers but outrebounded the Hilltoppers 42-25.