Sunday, January 26, 2003

No. 1 Arizona 91, No. 6 Kansas 74


Stoudamire sparks Arizona's comeback

By STEVE RIVERA
The (Tucson, Ariz.) Citizen

LAWRENCE, Kan. - From the doghouse to the penthouse in a matter of 40 minutes - that's where Arizona sophomore guard Salim Stoudamire went from Wednesday's night performance to Saturday afternoon's heroics against Kansas.

Whether it was a big drive to the basket or a three-point bomb from the perimeter, Stoudamire kept Arizona in a game that had an NCAA Tournament feel at famed Allen Fieldhouse.

Stoudamire finished with a career-high 32 points, hitting 12 of 18 shots, including 6 of 9 from the three-point line in Arizona's 91-74 win over Kansas in front of 16,300 fans.

"I played with no conscience and looked for my shots," said Stoudamire, who last year against Kansas went 2 for 19 from the floor. "You kind of feel like you can't miss; that's how I felt."

As Arizona senior Rick Anderson said, "I have never seen a performance like that in my life. I can't believe it."

For a time, Arizona needed every drop in the basket from Stoudamire as the Wildcats were down 52-39 at halftime and looked nothing like the No. 1 team in the nation.

"The No. 1 team was not on the floor in the first half, I guarantee you," Arizona coach Lute Olson said. "Or Kansas was the No. 1 team."

But when Stoudamire hit a three-pointer with 14:10 left in the game, UA grabbed its first lead since the opening two minutes at 54-53.

Stoudamire said he was motivated after being benched for the final 15-plus minutes of Wednesday's second half in UA's 71-63 win over rival Arizona State. Earlier this week, Olson said he benched Stoudamire because of a couple of bad defensive plays. Stoudamire said it was also because he was sulking on the sidelines.

"Coach got on me for having an attitude and displaying a negative attitude; it affects the team," said Stoudamire. "I had to come in and be positive."

He added he's learned his lesson and won't sulk or pout any longer.

"He shot the ball well. And he played hard," said Olson, of Stoudamire's performance. "I benched him on Wednesday (and) it was probably the best thing that happened to him. I'm not interested in excuses. I'm interested in performance. I think we got the point across."

It was the first nonconference loss for Kansas here since Iowa defeated the Jayhawks 85-81, going back 23 games to 1998. It was the worst loss since 1989 when Missouri beat Kansas, 91-66. And the result snapped a 25-game home court win streak.

Arizona is now 15-1 overall, Kansas is 13-5.

Jason Gardner contributed 23 points for UA. Anderson had 15 and Luke Walton added 11. KU's Keith Langford had a team-high 27 points, 22 coming in the first half.

It took a sizzling second half - Stoudamire was a major part of that, scoring 20 second half points - for Arizona to defeat Kansas.

Down 52-39 at halftime, Arizona outscored KU 15-1 in the second half's first six minutes.

Ninety seconds later, Arizona had a 62-57 lead and never trailed again.

"Today (we found out) that there is something special on this team with that run," said Anderson. "Playing in this place is the hardest place I've every played in. It's the loudest and most difficult. That run not only boosted all our confidence but got our fans going and our coaches. Everybody."

Arizona eventually outscored Kansas 30-9 in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

"It was a total breakdown and it is hard to say," said Kansas coach Roy Williams, "but the second half had to be my worst nightmare and at the same time it has to be the worst coaching job I have ever done in my entire life."

It was clearly one of Arizona's all-time best runs, in part because it came against a quality Kansas team.

"This is right up there at the top," said Walton, referring to his team's comeback. "It's right there with UCLA (a 27-2 run last year). Playing against teams of this caliber and being on the road against Kansas is unbelievable."

Olson attributed his team's success to three things: good shooting, improved rebounding and taking care of the ball.

Arizona shot 53.3 percent in the second half, including 53.8 from the three-point line.

But it was Arizona's defense that made life miserable for Kansass.

In the first four minutes of the second half, the Jayhawks were 0 for 4 from the field and had five turnovers. Five minutes later, Kansas was 4 for 13 from the field and had nine turnovers.

Arizona stayed with its 1-3-1 zone defense, limiting Kansas to 29 percent from the floor.

ARIZONA (15-1)-Walton 2-5 6-6 11, Anderson 7-10 0-0 15, Frye 1-2 0-0 2, Stoudamire 12-18 2-2 32, Gardner 6-15 10-12 23, Fox 0-2 1-2 1, Adams 1-3 1-2 3, Iguodala 1-2 2-2 4, Latimore 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-57 22-26 91.

KU (13-5)-Collison 7-12 0-1 15, Graves 4-7 1-6 9, Langford 11-19 2-2 27, Hinrich 6-17 1-2 15, Miles 1-6 0-0 2, Hawkins 1-2 0-0 3, Lee 1-2 0-0 3, Nash 0-0 0-0 0, Niang 0-0 0-1 0. Totals 31-65 4-12 74.

Halftime-Kansas 52-39. 3-Point goals-Arizona 9-22 (Stoudamire 6-9, Walton 1-2, Anderson 1-4, Gardner 1-6, Iguodala 0-1), Kansas 8-24 (Langford 3-5, Hinrich 2-10, Lee 1-1, Collison 1-2, Hawkins 1-2, Miles 0-4). Rebounds-Arizona 38 (Frye 8), Kansas 28 (Collison 9). Assists-Arizona 16 (Walton 7), Kansas 19 (Miles 6). Fouls-Arizona 16, Kansas 21. A-16,300.




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