TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Arizona guard Jawann McClellan was the
Wildcats' sixth man in practice last week.
McClellan said coach Lute Olson was trying to send him a
message. He wanted McClellan, a junior guard, to work harder on
"I took the challenge," said McClellan, who scored a
career-high 22 points to help lead Arizona (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today; No. 15 AP) to a 102-87
victory over New Mexico State on Sunday.
McClellan hit 7 of 7 3-pointers, but missed the only two shots
he attempted from inside the arc. McClellan said he was proudest of
his seven rebounds and two blocked shots, which showed that he
wasn't waiting on the perimeter for a teammate to feed him.
"[Scoring] was not the key to my game," he said. "The
offensive and defensive rebounds were. I'm not worried about
It was another impressive offensive outburst for Arizona (2-1),
which has scored more than 100 points each of the last two games
after a season-opening loss at Virginia. The Wildcats defeated
Northern Arizona 101-79 Wednesday night.
But no one was hotter than McClellan, who missed most of last
season due to academic ineligibility and a wrist injury. He came
out firing against the Aggies, knocking down three 3-pointers to
spark a 25-0 run that gave Arizona a 32-8 lead midway through the
"That happens a lot," New Mexico State coach Reggie Theus
said. "They do this to a lot of teams. I told our guys it is
difficult to simulate how fast they are and how quick they jump on
teams. By the time you look up, you are down 16, 20 points."
The Aggies went nearly eight minutes without a point, missing
eight straight shots. But they responded with a 21-8 run to pull
within 47-33 at halftime.
Arizona led by as many as 21 in the second half. Once again New
Mexico State rallied, closing to within 87-82 on a 3-pointer by Ted
Knauber with 4 minutes to go. Arizona scored the next five points
to pull away.
The Aggies' rallies came against the Wildcats' first string.
Olson gave his bench players a total of 13 minutes.
"Coach told us they how they like to play, and that they like
to get up and then let their opponent back in," said Fred Peete,
who led New Mexico State with 18 points. "Once they got up, we
just had to battle back and gather ourselves."
Martin Iti added 16 points on 8-for-8 shooting for the Aggies
(1-2), who had six players in double figures.
One of the day's louder ovations came following the introduction
of Arizona football coach Mike Stoops, whose team has won three
straight games and could be bowl-bound for the first time since
But make no mistake: Arizona is a basketball school. And these
Wildcats are shouldering a heavy burden, with several players
having vowed to end the school's five-year Final Four drought.
Going into the season, Olson said he was more concerned with his
team's defense than its offense. Those concerns were realized when
the Wildcats couldn't put the Aggies away.
New Mexico State shot 48.6 percent from the floor and 48.1
percent from 3-point range, and at times Arizona seemed content to
"We've just got to stop people and put them away," Radenovic
said. "This team, offensively, has confidence. When it comes to
defense, we still have big holes. But we're working on it every