TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- For a team looking ahead to opening the
Pac-10 schedule against its archrival, No. 14 Arizona stayed
remarkably focused on Eastern Washington.
"We want to be ready for Arizona State after we play the
Richmond game," Channing Frye said after the Wildcats beat the
Eagles 79-45 Tuesday night in the Fiesta Bowl Classic. "We are
definitely stepping it up into the next (conference) season."
Arizona plays Richmond, a 69-68 victor over Butler, for the
tournament championship Thursday night. The Wildcats are 38-1 in
their holiday tournament, losing only to Mississippi State in 2000
while coach Lute Olson was at the bedside of his cancer-stricken
Frye had 16 points and Hassan Adams scored 13. Both had four
steals, contributing to Eastern's 24 turnovers.
"It was good, solid defense by everybody, even when we got
(into) the bench," Olson said.
The Wildcats (9-2) won their sixth straight and handed the
Eagles their worst loss of the season -- one point worse than the
33-point defeat at No. 13 Washington on Dec. 5.
"They both are great teams," Butorac said. "It shows why they
are the best in the Pac-10."
Eastern Washington (2-9), a preseason favorite to repeat as Big
Sky Conference champion, has lost seven straight during a difficult
stretch which began against the Huskies and included consecutive
games against Gonzaga and Arizona.
A week earlier, Arizona beat Manhattan 105-75 in its best
performance of the year, shooting 52 percent to silence some early
season critics. They kept up the sharp shooting against the Eagles,
hitting 61.5 percent in the first half and 53.8 percent for the
Frye was 7-of-11 from the floor, including 6-of-8 in the first
half when he scored 12.
"It was great to have an all-around game," Adams said. "It
started defensively. That was big, because we are keeping the
defensive intensity up."
The Wildcats led by 16 points at halftime and squeezed any
suspense out of the game with an 18-6 run that featured seven
straight points by Adams. Salim Stoudamire had four points during a
9-0 finish to the run, capping it with a spectacular reverse layup.
The 6-minute surge opened a 62-34 lead with 8:56 left, and both
coaches sent reserves in to finish the game minutes later.
"They came out flying and were able to get into the passing
lanes," Eagles coach Mike Burns said. "We were expecting it, but
we just couldn't do anything about it."
Arizona made 13 of its first 19 shots and forced the Eagles into
13 turnovers by the 7:33 mark of the first half.
Frye made a layup for a 14-4 lead and a jump hook with 12:07 to
go, increasing the lead to 16-7.
After a 3-pointer by Butorac, Arizona went on a 13-4 run capped
by Daniel Dillon's 3-pointer for a 29-14 lead with 7:33 remaining.
Jawann McClellan, another freshman, gave Arizona its biggest
lead of the first half at 39-23 when he made a free throw with 1.9
seconds left after getting an offensive rebound.<
^Richmond 69, Butler 68=
Courtney Nelson drove the length of court to score on a layup
with three seconds left, lifting Richmond to a 69-68 win over
Butler in the first round of the Fiesta Bowl Classic.
The final basket, only Nelson's second of the game, ended a
tight contest in which no more than six points separated the teams.
The lead changed hands four times in the final 54 seconds -- on
two free throws by Butler's Bruce Horan and Jamie Smalligan, a
3-pointer by Richmond's Jermaine Bucknor and Nelson's slash across