TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Hassan Adams came to Arizona's rescue
Adams scored 23 points, including Arizona's first and last in
overtime, and the Wildcats beat Western Kentucky 86-81 on Wednesday
night to win the Fiesta Bowl Classic.
"In overtime you want to make sure every possession is like the
last one," Adams said. "Every possession we want to get a good
shot. We got a lot of open looks, we grinded it out and we came
away with a win."
Anthony Winchester of Western Kentucky forced the overtime when
he tied the game at 75 with a baseline jumper with 15 seconds left
Winchester, who had 22 points and eight rebounds, made a
3-pointer to get the Hilltoppers within 81-78 with 1:48 remaining,
but Adams, who had seven rebounds, made a reverse layup 41 seconds
later for a five-point lead.
Courtney Lee's three-point play with 55 seconds to go cut the
deficit to 83-81. On the Wildcats' next possession, Chris Rodgers
missed a shot and Butch Jointer rebounded for the Hilltoppers, but
fell wrenching the ball away and was called for traveling.
Mustafa Shakur of Arizona then made two free throws and Rodgers
"It always hurt to lose, but to lose a game like this hurts
even more," Winchester said. "There were a lot of tough calls
throughout the game. That does tend to happen when you go on the
Rodgers finished with 19 points, Marcus Williams had 14 and
Shakur scored 11 for Arizona (7-3), which won its fifth straight.
Lee, last season's Sun Belt Conference freshman of the year, had
21 points, a season-high 14 rebounds and four steals for Western
"We played a whole game through 45 minutes," Hilltgoppers
coach Darrin Horn said. "The difference in fouls (23-15) is a
little troubling, but there is nothing you can do about that."
It was a difficult game for the Wildcats, anxious to shine in
their holiday tournament the week after being dropped from the
regular-season rankings for the first time in 18 years. They routed
Sam Houston State by 36 points on Monday night and hoped for
something similar in the championship game to impress voters who
ignored their winning streak.
Instead, they came within a whisker of losing for only the
second time in the 21-year-old tournament.
Western Kentucky's biggest lead came was 46-36 with 16:53 left
when Lee hit a 12-foot turnaround after losing the ball and getting
That's when Arizona's running game kicked in.
The Wildcats caught up -- and then some -- with a 15-2 run sparked
He made three baskets, including a dunk, and passed off the seat
of his pants in the Hilltoppers' end to Shakur for a spectacular
three-point play. Shakur went left, forcing contact with Orlando
Mendez-Valdez before coming back with a left-handed layup that
preceded the foul.
That gave the Wildcats their second lead of the game and first
since the opening minutes, 49-48 with 13:16 left.
Adams followed 25 seconds later with a basket to make it 51-48.
Arizona took a 72-62 lead on a 3-pointer by Rodgers with 4:06 to
go, but Western Kentucky outscored the Wildcats 13-3 the rest of
"We had to come out and win," Williams said. "We didn't have
a choice. We had to pick the tempo up. Losing is not accepted
Arizona coach Lute Olson feels Williams, a freshman who went
8-of-9 from the floor against Sam Houston and 6-for-8 this game, is
close to cracking the starting lineup.
"I thought our MVP was Marcus Williams," Olson said. "He
missed three shots in two games. He has earned the opportunity."