Arizona Runs Past ASU

Feb. 25, 2006

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Led by Ivan Radenovic's 14 points, Arizona used a relentless defense to crush Arizona State 68-47 Saturday in the McKale Center.

The Wildcats harassed the Sun Devils into a season-high 26 turnovers while allowing only 18 field goals.

Bryson Krueger led the Sun Devils with 14 points.

The Wildcats, making a late push to secure an NCAA tournament berth, won for the fourth time in five games. Arizona (17-10, 10-6 in the Pac-10) is seeking to extend its 21-year string of NCAA tournament appearances, the nation's longest active streak.

The Wildcats have won 22 of the last 23 meetings with their in-state rival, including 10 in a row. ASU coach Rob Evans is 1-16 against Arizona.

Arizona needed a strong defensive effort on a day it shot only 40.6 percent from the floor and 18.2 percent from beyond the three-point arc.

The Wildcats took control from the opening tipoff, starting the game on a 12-2 run. After center Kirk Walters hit two free throws, forward Marcus Williams made a three-pointer and Ivan Radenovic scored on a fast break lay-up and a hook shot to put Arizona up 9-2. A jumper by Hassan Adams and a Williams free throw made it 12-2.

After ASU (10-15, 4-12) cut the deficit to 14-7, the Wildcats blew the game open with an 18-0 run, shutting out the Sun Devils for seven minutes.

Arizona State entered the game ranked eighth in the Pac-10 in scoring offense (65.1 points per game), and the Sun Devils struggled against Arizona's active, pressing defense. With Wildcat defenders contesting every pass, ASU made only one of its first eight shots and didn't score its second field goal until the game was nearly nine minutes old.

The Sun Devils had seven turnovers in the first eight minutes. The Sun Devils shot 25 percent (5-for-20) from the floor in the first half and went to the dressing room trailing 38-13.

Arizona's best defensive sequence came late in the first half. First, Radenovic stripped Arizona State guard Kevin Kruger of the ball and threw a 50-foot bounce pass to Adams, who dunked to put the Wildcats up 21-7. Three possessions later, Adams blocked a lay-up by Sun Devil guard Antwi Atuahene, setting up a 16-foot jumper by Fendi Onobun to give Arizona a 27-7 lead.

Radenovic punctuated Arizona's dominant first half by stealing the ball and dribbling the length of the floor for a dunk as time expired.

Sparked by a pair of Bryson Krueger three-pointers, ASU opened the second half on a 12-2 run to pull within 40-25 with 16 minutes to play. But the Wildcats used a pair of turnovers to quell the rally.

Arizona's victory moves the Wildcats closer to an NCAA tourney bid. The Wildcats have played in the NCAA tournament ever year since 1984-85, Lute Olson's second season in Tucson.

Arizona finishes the regular season with home games against Washington State March 2 and Washington March 4.



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