8:30 PM ET, December 22, 2003
McKale Center, Tucson, Arizona
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Arizona coach Lute Olson called his team impressive in a 15-0 second-half run that propelled the fifth-ranked Wildcats to an 83-71 victory over San Diego State on Monday night.Most of the rest of the game drew a thumbs-down review from the Hall of Fame coach."We played lights-out in some spurts and we played like the lights were out in some other times of the game," Olson said. "That's still the thing that's going to keep us from being a good team."Hassan Adams had 19 points and 11 rebounds and Chris Rodgers matched his career high with 17 points for Arizona.Channing Frye scored 15 points, and Andre Iguodala had 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Wildcats, who took a 22-point lead midway through the second half in an otherwise sloppy contest.Iguodala had nine rebounds in the first 10 minutes of the second half, several during the 15-0 run that put Arizona (6-1) up 63-41 with 10:59 to play. Salim Stoudamire scored six points in the outburst, while Frye and Iguodala each added four and Adams hit a 3-pointer."If you don't make a shot, they're going to be running right up your nose," San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said. "We did not do a good job of making some open shots, and then we did a very poor job with conversion defense -- or they did a great job with their running the floor."Although they finished with big numbers, sophomores Adams and Iguodala drew some severe criticism from their coach for not consistently banging the boards or playing intelligently on offense.Olson indicated the two could find themselves sitting more on the bench with the arrival of Serbian freshman Ivan Radenovic."They know what the problem is, so we're just going to have to sit them if they're not responding on every possession," Olson said.With their second-half performance, the two apparently got the message."Everybody has to go up for the rebounds," Adams said. "If the shots go up, we have to go rebound. That is what's going to win games for us. We have to hit the boards hard, and get it and go."Other than that surge, it was a sloppy, mistake-filled game that often had Olson off the bench and screaming at his players."We are quick down the floor. We just need to make better decisions once we get down there," Olson said. "We just need to be more fundamentally sound than we are."San Diego State (7-4) scored six straight points to cut it to 74-62 on Brandon Heath's layup with 2:12 to go. Adams hit a 3-pointer to make it 77-62. The Aztecs cut the lead to 10 in the final minute.Aerick Sanders matched his career best with his second straight 24-point game. Sanders, 11-for-11 in San Diego State's victory over Eastern Washington on Saturday, was 11-for-19 against Arizona. Heath added 15 points and Wesley Stokes had 13 points and nine assists for the Aztecs.Rodgers, Arizona's first and essentially only player off the bench, was 3-for-6 from 3-point range, but the rest of the Wildcats were 4-for-18. San Diego State was just 6-for-25 on 3-pointers.As has been the case most of the young season, the Wildcats struggled early, but they finished the first half with a 9-2 run to go up 41-31.Sanders, who scored 16 points in the first half on 8-for-12 shooting, hit a short baseline jumper to cut the lead to 32-29 with 2:50 left in the half.Rodgers followed with his second 3-pointer, then Frye blocked Sanders' shot, leading to Mustafa Shakur's fastbreak stuff to make it 37-29 with 1:55 left.Shakur scored on a driving 6-footer, then Rodgers finished the run with a 14-footer to give Arizona the 41-31 lead, its biggest of the half.The Wildcats' victory went against history for Arizona in what has been dubbed the "nightmare before Christmas" syndrome. The Wildcats improved to 7-14 in their final game before Christmas under Olson.Radenovic was in uniform on the bench and will be eligible to play Sunday in the Fiesta Bowl Classic opener against Liberty.Olson said that will give him a chance to enforce his go-to-the-boards policy."Ivan can guard inside or out," Olson said. "If somebody doesn't go to the glass, even if he's in there 10 seconds, we'll pull them out. That's just the way we're going to have to treat the situation. Ivan will make a tremendous difference for us."