Cats Win Back-and-Forth Battle over Troy

Feb. 12, 2009

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TUCSON--A compelling game of runs came down to the final minute and Arizona found some huge plays by game-high scorer Nic Wise and forward Chase Budinger to pull out an 83-76 victory and post the Wildcats' sixth consecutive win.

UA closed the game with a 7-0 run, but it was just one of many by both teams.

With the game tied a 76, Arizona took a three-point lead on a Nic Wise three-pointer with 45 seconds left, and then Wise got a steal to set UA up for a bigger edge. But Wise stepped on the sideline under pressure with 28 seconds left to hand the ball back to USC.

Trojan Dwight Lewis launched a three, just off the mark, and Wise grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He made both free throws to stake Arizona to a four-point lead with 17 seconds left.

SC tried another three, by DeMar DeRozan, but it was off the mark and Budinger's rebound was as big a play as there was in the game. He made both free throws for the final score.

Wise led all scorers with 27 points, two shy of his career high. Budinger added 25 and Kyle Fogg 13 to pace UA -- which needed all three to outweigh 21 from Trojan Dwight Lewis and 20 each from DeRozan and Daniel Hackett.

Both teams pressured the ball, with UA committing 14 turnovers and the Trojans 16.

Arizona improved to 17-8 overall and 7-5 in Pac-10 play, moving ahead of USC into fifth place in the standings. The Trojans dropped to 15-8 and 6-5.

USC's rebounding -- a 30-21 edge -- kept it in the game despite giving Arizona a 59 percent to 52 percent edge in shooting. The Trojans had 16 of their boards at the offensive end, too. Arizona hit 12 of 20 three-pointers while USC dropped in 10 of 17 from beyond the arc. Arizona had an edge at the line, making 19 of 21 free throws to eight of 13 by USC.

USC took its first lead a minute into the second half, 43-41, with a three-pointer by Dwight Lewis -- who added one another minute later to give the Trojans a five-point cushion to which they appeared to be capable of hanging on used to hang on. But the Cats didn't fold.

Arizona made its ninth three a moment later, by Budinger, but the Trojans had an answer, as they did until the Cats tied the game at 61-all with about 10 minutes left. The game was tied then, at 66, at 70 and at 76.

Arizona started the game hot, making its first eight shots, but USC just kept going at a plus-50 percent rate while UA cooled off just enough to spoil a first-half 16-point lead.

A little 12-5 UA run from the 15- to 12-minute mark in the second half helped the Cats climb back to within one, 58-57, and breathe some more life into the crowd of 14,728.

The Cats went on a 9-0 run to take a 66-61 lead, and then USC went on a 9-0 run to gain a 70-66 lead. And so it went.

Arizona used a little 4-0 edge to tie at 74 with 3:20 left, with Budinger making a pair of free throws and Wise getting a steal and a layin.

UA's Nic Wise took it to the hoop for two consecutive layins to tie at 70-all, and USC's Daniel Hackett laid one in to regain the edge.

After that, it was all Arizona.


Both teams came out shooting, only Arizona had some outside influence to give it a nice early lead in the first half, but USC stayed patient and hung tough with a big rebounding edge to close with its own run for a near wash of a half.

Arizona jumped to a 7-0 lead in the opening moments before USC worked it inside for a couple of layups to make it 9-2 three minutes into the game. Nic Wise led the way with a three-pointer and another jumper.

The Trojans used a fastbreak and a dunk by Daniel Hackett to trim the lead to four, 10-6, before Wise drained a 25-footer, and then UA got a steal and another three from Chase Budinger to make it 16-6 in the blink of an eye.

After the Trojans first miss (4-for-5), Zan Johnson hit a three off the bench, and added another one 20 seconds later, and Arizona led 24-8. USC coach Tim Floyd called time out at 13:37

UA turned it over for the first time after USC patiently worked for a DeMar DeRozan jumper, and USC came back with another from DeRozan to make it 24-12.

UA's Johnson missed the first UA try at 12:22 and DeRozan was fouled going to the basket. He made one free throw and UA led, 24-13. UA's Jordan Hill fell to the floor getting the rebound and left the game at 12:08 with an apparent ankle injury.

Budinger stopped the 6-0 USC run with another trey, but USC kept hanging close with a put-back from DeRozan, who had 14 points at that juncture.

Hill returned at the 10:58 mark, to a aroused reaction from the crowd, and a moment or two later Kyle Fogg hit his first three-pointer to put UA's lead to 15 points, 30-15, with 10 minutes left in the half.

Wise stepped around a charging Trojan 30 seconds later and hit UA's eighth three to that point, but USC answered with its first from beyond the arc, by Dwight Lewis. UA led, 33-18.

USC hit another three, by Hackett, and the lead was back to 12. Taj Gibson blocked a HIll leaner, and a minute later Lewis made a free throw to make it 33-22, at the 7:24 mark.

UA had turnovers by Budinger and Wise and USC's Gibson had a tip-in to cut the lead to single digits, 33-24. Fogg answered for UA. The teams traded turnovers and SC got a three from Hackett to again put in under 10, 35-27. But Budinger kept UA's hot shooting going with a jumper for a 37-27 edge.

Wise made a pair of three throws and UA had a chance for another bucket after a USC miscue, but Fendi Onobun turned it over and USC got a Hacket trey to trim the lead to nine, 39-30. With just over two minutes left, Hill was fouled driving to the bucket and made both free throws to push it back to an 11-point lead.

But USC kept working the ball inside, and Leonard Washington made a layup, and then after a Wildcat missed three by Brendan Lavender, Hill fouled Gibson and he converted the front end of a one-and-one to cut the lead to eight points, the smallest UA margin since the 15:23 mark. Moments later Budinger knocked the second missed free throw out of bounds and Washington dunked on USC's in-bounds play to make it a 41-35 UA lead.

USC completed a 23-8 run in the last nine miutes of the half with a free throw by Hackett and a pair from DeRozan to make it Arizona 41, USC 38 at the break. The Cats shot 59 percent, but USC matched them at 56 percent and enjoyed a 15-9 edge on the boards -- there weren't that many available.

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