Sam Houston 51

(6-3, 2-3 away)

Arizona 87

(6-3, 4-1 home)

    8:30 PM ET, December 19, 2005

    McKale Center, Tucson, Arizona

    1 2 T
    SHSU 22 2951
    ARIZ 45 4287

    Top Performers

    Sam Houston St: R. Bright 8 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

    Arizona: C. Rodgers 19 Pts, 1 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl

    Unranked Wildcats jump to early leady, rout Sam Houston

    TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- The Arizona Wildcats were unranked and unstoppable against overmatched Sam Houston State on Monday night.

    Out of the regular-season national rankings for the first time in 18 years, the Wildcats took a big lead early and led by as many as 42 points in an 87-51 rout of the Bearkats in the first round of the Fiesta Bowl Classic.

    Chris Rodgers hit a career-high five 3-pointers -- in eight attempts -- and scored 19 points for the Wildcats (6-3), while freshman Marcus Williams added 18, the most in his young career, on 8-for-9 shooting. Point guard Mustafa Shakur had seven assists without a turnover.

    "A lot of the East Coast teams get all the rankings," Rodgers said. "It's good to be out in a way. It keeps you more motivated to prove yourself every day."

    No Sam Houston player reached double figures. Ryan Bright led the Bearkats (6-3) with eight points.

    Arizona plays Western Kentucky in the title game on Wednesday night and Sam Houston State meets Central Florida for third place. Western Kentucky beat UCF 73-68 in Monday's first game.

    Earlier Monday, the Wildcats dropped out of the regular-season rankings for the first time since the start of the 1987-88 season, a span of 312 consecutive polls. They found the failure perplexing because Arizona, then ranked No. 24, won at Utah 73-43 in its only game last week and has a four-game winning streak.

    "Right now I think our guys know how good they can be," Arizona coach Lute Olson said. "It's not the ranking at the beginning that counts, but certainly with the game at Utah and this one, I don't think you should be dropping spots."

    The Wildcats, who lost to No. 2 Connecticut and No. 10 Michigan State at the Maui Invitational and at Houston, took out their frustration on the outmatched Bearkats, who committed 29 turnovers, resulting in 33 Arizona points.

    "Everybody's confidence is coming around," Arizona's Hassan Adams said. "This is going to be a good season for us. Everybody is on the same page. Nobody cares about anything else but winning basketball games."

    The Wildcats' quick, tight pressing defense baffled Sam Houston from the start. The Bearkats committed five consecutive turnovers as Arizona took a 15-3 lead on Adams' 15-footer with 16:42 left in the half.

    The lead reached 22-5 on Rogers' second 3-pointer 12:34 from the break.

    "They are by far the best team we've played," Bearkats coach Bob Marlin said. "They had a lot of trouble shooting early in the season, but they shot well at Utah and they obviously continued to do that tonight."

    Olson said the team has developed "great chemistry" and is learning how to play together on offense.

    "I think we've started to get the point across about shot selection," he said. "If we share the ball, we're going to get open shots."

    Williams scored nine consecutive Arizona points, then Mohamed Tangara's inside basket put the Wildcats ahead 33-13. At that point, the Bearkats had more turnovers (14) than points.

    Adams' stuff after Sam Houston State's 18th turnover gave Arizona a 45-22 lead, its biggest of the half.

    Rogers scored 13 points, including 3-for-5 on 3-pointers, and William gams was 5-of-6 from the field for 12 points in the first half.

    Arizona made 11-of-22 3-pointers. Their previous high for the season was six 3s.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 51 87
    FG Made-Attempted 21-59 (.356) 34-65 (.523)
    3P Made-Attempted 2-16 (.125) 11-22 (.500)
    FT Made-Attempted 7-12 (.583) 8-11 (.727)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 12 (0/0) 16 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 42

    2005-06 Season

    » Dec 19, 2005 @ARIZ 87, SHSU 51Recap