Men's Hoops Knocks Off No. 12 Arizona, 87-83
Feb. 5, 2004
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - A swollen left knee kept Leon Powe out ofCalifornia's first meeting with Arizona this season. Given another shot at theWildcats, Powe didn't waste the opportunity.
The freshman center had 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Amit Tamir added aseason-high 21 points - including five 3-pointers - to lead California to an87-83 victory over No. 12 Arizona on Thursday night.
Powe is the Pac-10's leading rebounder, and he leads the Bears in scoring.Without him in the lineup, they were routed 95-75 by Arizona on Jan. 8.
'That was really tough on him, not being able to play Arizona the firsttime,' California coach Ben Braun said. 'Leon was really hungry and wantedit. Just in passing the ball out of double-teams ... he had to make some goodreads tonight. That really helped our team. We ran a lot of our offense throughhim tonight.'
Richard Midgley added 18 points, including a pair of free throws with 19seconds left to seal the victory for the Bears (10-9, 6-4 Pac-10), who snappeda 10-game losing streak to the Wildcats.
Andre Iguodala scored 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Arizona(14-5, 6-4), which lost for the second time in eight days. The Wildcats, whoopened the season ranked No. 4 in the AP poll, have lost three of their lastsix.
The Bears made a season-best 10 3-pointers, eight in the first half to helpbuild a 51-46 lead. But it was their free throw shooting that proved mostpivotal in the second half, when California went nine minutes without a fieldgoal and made only three baskets over the final 16:57.
Despite shooting a conference-worst 39.1 percent from the foul line headinginto the game, the Bears never flinched down the stretch, hitting 18 of 23attempts in the second half after going just 3-of-7 in the first half.
'We know who (California's) supposed bad free-throw shooters are, buttonight they weren't,' Wildcats coach Lute Olson said. 'We're just not a gooddefensive team, and it's hard for me to understand that. We just aren't able tosustain it. When you're on the road and you don't sustain things, you're goingto have a tough time. We can score points but we can't keep people fromscoring.'
Arizona, which leads the Pac-10 in scoring, was coming off its lowest pointtotal in more than three years, a 61-57 win over Washington State on Jan. 31.The Wildcats easily surpassed that mark against California but could never geta lead on the surging Bears, who have won four of five.
California scored the first seven points of the game and led by as many as12. Powe hit a 16-foot baseline jumper to open a 29-17 lead.
Powe made his presence felt inside throughout the first half, finishing with12 points and eight rebounds while softening up Arizona's defense for theBears' perimeter shooting.
Midgley was the biggest beneficiary, connecting on all four of his 3-pointattempts. Midgley had 14 points in the first half, but he wasn't the onlyCalifornia player shooting well from beyond the arc.
Tamir had three of his five 3-pointers and the Bears were 8-of-14 overall,matching their season high for 3s in the first half alone.
'The cushion that we gave ourselves with the good start did a lot for ourconfidence,' Tamir said. 'It showed how much heart we have on this team.'
Arizona, which had never lost in four previous trips to Haas Pavilion,trailed throughout the first half but closed within three with 15 seconds toplay. Iguodala, who moments earlier silenced the sold-out crowd with a soaring,one-handed dunk through the key, sank a pair of free throws to cut California'slead to 49-46 before Conor Famulener's short basket made it 51-46 at halftime.
Tamir made his first two 3-point attempts of the second half as the Bearsagain took a 12-point lead before Arizona fought back.
But California did enough to hold off the Wildcats, who closed within twotwice in the final minute.
'That combination (Powe and Tamir) is difficult,' Olson said, 'becauseone of them is so tough inside that you can't help outside where the guy shootsthe ball so well.'