November 14, 2007

Arizona escapes with win

It was a tale of two halves in Tuesday night's 76-69 win over NAU for the Arizona Wildcats. The Lumberjacks tested the Wildcats for the entire game up until the final buzzer.

Arizona got stops when it absolutely needed them down the stretch which proved to be the difference in the game. Senior guard Jawann McClellan made a crucial block with less than a minute remaining in the game while freshman sensation Jerryd Bayless played the lanes well as he got a steal to seal the game.

In the first half, Arizona made a 16-4 run that helped pushed the lead to 15 at one point. Ball movement was key in the first half as Bayless was able to find Chase Budinger for spot-up jump shots. Bayless was also able to get open for jumpers as he was to score 10 of his 18 in the first half.

Budinger played his defenders well as they were often a few inches shorter than him. He would either shoot right over the top of them or dribble and pull up for a mid-range jumper. Budinger must stay more aggressive on defense as the Lumberjacks beat him to the basket early for easy lay-ups.

The Lumberjacks hit many tough shots in the first half despite good team defense from the Wildcats. Arizona was able to double time NAU in some compromising situations that led to turnovers and fast break opportunities.

At the break, Arizona led 41-30 and looked to be in control. Something transpired in the locker room of NAU as the Lumberjacks played the second half as if they had nothing to lose.

NAU exposed perhaps the weakest part of the Arizona lineup in the second half as it pounded the Wildcats inside. The Lumberjacks took very few outside shots and on almost every possession looked to their big men to score.

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