Scores

Final

Richmond 71

(5-5, 2-5 away)

(14) Arizona 84

(10-2, 8-1 home)

    8:30 PM ET, December 30, 2004

    McKale Center, Tucson, Arizona

    1 2 T
    RICH 26 4571
    #14ARIZ 42 4284

    Top Performers

    Richmond: J. Scott 16 Pts, 7 Reb, 3 Ast

    Arizona: C. Rodgers 20 Pts, 7 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl

    Arizona improves to 39-1 in its holiday tourney

    TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Chris Rodgers doesn't mind being in the background. He doesn't mind taking charge, either.

    The Arizona guard, usually brought in as the sixth man, tied career highs with 20 points and seven rebounds to help the 14th-ranked Wildcats outlast Richmond 84-71 in the championship game of the Fiesta Bowl Classic on Thursday night.

    "I'm always confident, and I will always bring intensity and energy and the complete game," he said.

    Richmond coach Jerry Wainwright wasn't surprised.

    "I really appreciate Chris Rodgers," Wainwright said. "I've followed him all along. I've watched tape on him. He is a big guard who really defends, and when he shoots the ball well he is a great player."

    Ivan Radenovic and Salim Stoudamire had 16 points each for the Wildcats, who improved to 39-1 in their holiday tournament. They beat Richmond 95-68 in the first round 10 years ago -- the only previous meeting between the teams.

    Eastern Washington defeated Butler 67-62 for the consolation title.

    Radenovic had nine rebounds -- one short of his career high -- in 24 minutes, leading Arizona (10-2) to a 40-36 edge on the glass. Channing Frye had 13 points and eight rebounds.

    "I thought Ivan came out in the first half and really sparked us, not only scoring but with the boards," coach Lute Olson said.

    Jamaal Scott had 16 points for Richmond (5-5), Courtney Nelson, the hero of the Spiders' win over Butler two nights earlier, had 14 in the second half, and Daon Merritt scored 11.

    The Spiders shot a season-high 64 percent against Butler in a one-point victory, but Arizona's athletic defenders proved too much this time, limiting Richmond to 25.9 percent (7-of-27) in the first half and 38.6 percent (22-of-57) for the game.

    "The difference between Arizona and the other top teams that we've played is that they are very big and strong and are very long," Scott said. "They had players that could come off the bench, and they just kept coming at us."

    Arizona shot only 44.3 percent (27-of-61), but made 13 3-pointers, had 14 steals and forced 24 turnovers.

    The Wildcats overcame a spate of cold shooting sooner than Richmond, finished the first half with a 16-point lead and made their first six shots in the second.

    The Spiders battled back briefly, helped by a five-point play with 17:57 left.

    Scott made a layup and was fouled by Radenovic, who also was assessed a technical. Jermaine Bucknor made two technical free throws and Scott's free throw cut Richmond's deficit to 50-35.

    But Rodgers made two 3-pointers in the next 2:05, and the Wildcats took a 64-40 lead when Stoudamire made two foul shots after a technical on Merritt.

    Their biggest lead was 71-46, on a 3-pointer by Jawann McClellan with 9 minutes to go, and the Spiders never got closer than the final margin.

    Both teams missed seven of their first nine shots, and Arizona didn't get the lead until Frye made a layup with 12:58 remaining in the first half. That made it 10-8 early in a 21-3 run -- tied for Arizona's third-best of the year.

    Rodgers finished with a 3-pointer, sending the Wildcats to a 27-11 lead with 7:08 to go.

    The Spiders answered with a 10-0 run, closing within six points on a free throw by Merritt with 4:57 left before Stoudamire broke the spell with a 3-pointer. In the final 4:05, Radenovic had six points, finishing with 14 at the half, and Arizona moved ahead 42-26 on a three-point play by Frye with 4.7 seconds left.

    "I felt good," said Radenovic, who missed most of two games with a hip pointer. "I'm getting my confidence back after being out earlier in the season. I've had time lately to work on my shot."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    RICH
    ARIZ
    Points 71 84
    FG Made-Attempted 22-57 (.386) 27-61 (.443)
    3P Made-Attempted 6-17 (.353) 13-25 (.520)
    FT Made-Attempted 21-29 (.724) 17-26 (.654)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 24 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 4 26

    2004-05 Season

    DATEGAMELINKS
    » Dec 30, 2004 @ARIZ 84, RICH 71Recap