Cougars Come Up Short In Arizona

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - If there is any absolute truth in Pac-10 basketball it's that Arizona beats Washington State.

The No. 2 Wildcats did so for the 35th consecutive time Thursday night, 82-69, but it was no overpowering performance.

Jason Gardner scored 19 points to lead four Arizona players in double figures.

Luke Walton, back after missing last week's Oregon trip with his fourth sprained ankle of the season, had nine points and eight assists but five turnovers.

'We were shorthanded tonight. Our team gave a supreme effort. If we could have gotten a stop or two, we could have pulled it out.'
-- Head coach Paul Graham

'It felt pretty good,' Walton said. 'It is a little sore but for the most part it is pretty stable.'

Channing Frye scored 11 and grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds for the Wildcats (10-1, 3-0 Pac-10). Salim Stoudamire added 14 and Rick Anderson had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Arizona, which overcame 21 turnovers.

'In the first half, we played like a bunch of bums,' Frye said. 'We didn't look like we were happy to be out there.'

Coach Lute Olson said his team came out flat.

'The second half I thought we played with more enthusiasm,' he said. 'We have to do that a lot more. It was not a good week of practice, and we played the way we practiced.'

Gardner joined the chorus of self-criticism.

Chris Schlatter fights for a loose ball during the Cougars' loss in Arizona.

'We had a lot of turnovers and gave up open shots,' he said. 'We talk about being a Final 4 team, we can't let that happen.'

Marcus Moore, the Pac-10's leading scorer, scored 35 points, including 8-for-12 3-pointers for the Cougars (5-7, 0-3) despite bone chips in his right ankle. With his fourth career 35-point game, the junior guard topped 1,000 points for his career with 1,005.

'My ankle is hurting right now,' Moore said. 'It hurts more now than during the game, but I'll be fine for Saturday (at Arizona State). I will probably be out three to four weeks when they do surgery, but hopefully that's after the season.'

After a sluggish first 25 minutes, the Wildcats finally got in gear with a 15-0 run to go up 54-35 on Gardner's layup after a turnover with 12:47 to play.

Walton had four points and two assists in the outburst. He had a stuff on a no-look pass from Anderson, then threw a behind-the-back pass to Anderson for a fastbreak layup.

Washington State cut the lead to eight with just over a minute to play but got no closer.

The Cougars were without starting forward Shami Gill (leg injury) and Milton Riley (injured back).

'We were shorthanded tonight,' Washington State coach Paul Graham said. 'Our team gave a supreme effort. If we could have gotten a stop or two, we could have pulled it out.'

In what might have been their worst half of the season, the Wildcats sputtered to a 34-31 lead. Moore scored 17 points and had six of the Cougars' 12 field goals in the first half. No other Washington State player had more than one in the first 20 minutes.

Andre Iguodala's 14-footer put Arizona up 27-18 with 4:45 left in the half, but Washington State responded with a 13-5 run capped by Moore's fourth 3-pointer of the half - in five tries - that cut the lead to 32-31 with 55 seconds left in the half.

Anderson's tip-in with 42 seconds left gave the Wildcats' their three-point lead at the break.

Arizona committed 13 turnovers in the first half, to Washington State's 10.

'Thirteen turnovers in the first half, a good team doesn't do that,' Olson said.

The crowd of 14,462 was more than the Cougars had drawn for all seven of their home games combined.

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