Arizona Outlasts Western Kentucky In OT, 86-81
Dec. 21, 2005
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Hassan Adams scored 23 points, including Arizona's first and last in overtime, and the Wildcats beat Western Kentucky 86-81 on Wednesday night to win the Fiesta Bowl Classic.
Anthony Winchester of Western Kentucky forced the overtime when he tied the game at 75 with a baseline jumper with 15 seconds left in regulation.
Winchester, who had 22 points and eight rebounds, made a 3-pointer to get the Hilltoppers within 81-78 with 1:48 remaining, but Adams, who had seven rebounds, made a reverse layup 41 seconds later for a five-point lead.
Courtney Lee's three-point play with 55 seconds to go cut the deficit to 83-81. On the Wildcats' next possession, Chris Rodgers missed a shot and Butch Jointer rebounded for the Hilltoppers, but fell wrenching the ball away and was called for traveling.
Mustafa Shakur of Arizona then made two free throws and Rodgers added one.
Rodgers finished with 19 points, Marcus Williams had 14 and Shakur scored 11 for Arizona (7-3), which won its fifth straight.
Lee, last season's Sun Belt Conference freshman of the year, had 21 points, a season-high 14 rebounds and four steals for Western Kentucky (6-4).
It was a difficult game for the Wildcats, anxious to shine in their holiday tournament the week after being dropped from the regular-season rankings for the first time in 18 years. They routed Sam Houston State by 36 points on Monday night and hoped for something similar in the championship game to impress voters who ignored their winning streak.
Instead, they came within a whisker of losing for only the second time in the 21-year-old tournament.
Western Kentucky's biggest lead came was 46-36 with 16:53 left when Lee hit a 12-foot turnaround after losing the ball and getting it back.
That's when Arizona's running game kicked in.
The Wildcats caught up - and then some - with a 15-2 run sparked by Adams.
He made three baskets, including a dunk, and passed off the seat of his pants in the Hilltoppers' end to Shakur for a spectacular three-point play. Shakur went left, forcing contact with Orlando Mendez-Valdez before coming back with a left-handed layup that preceded the foul.
That gave the Wildcats their second lead of the game and first since the opening minutes, 49-48 with 13:16 left.
Adams followed 25 seconds later with a basket to make it 51-48.
Arizona took a 72-62 lead on a 3-pointer by Rodgers with 4:06 to go, but Western Kentucky outscored the Wildcats 13-3 the rest of the way.