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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / POSTSEASON TOURNAMENTS : Approaching the Zone : Arizona's Hot-Shooting Reeves Says He Merely Is Warming Up

March 26, 1994|LONNIE WHITE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

It would be understandable if Khalid Reeves of Arizona had a big smile at tipoff of today's NCAA West Regional final against Missouri at the Sports Arena.

In three tournament games, Reeves has been on a scoring spree, averaging 30 points. He had a game-high 29 in the Wildcats' 82-70 victory over Louisville on Thursday night.

And Reeves believes his best tournament games are yet to come.

"I really don't think that I've been in a zone (the last three games)," said Reeves, a senior guard from New York City. "I've been in a zone before, and I haven't been in one so far. When I'm in a zone, I make at least 85% of my shots and we (Arizona) have a big lead and are playing well."

Reeves began the tournament by making 11 of 25 shots for 32 points in Arizona's 81-55 first-round rout of Loyola of Maryland. He then followed with a 10-for-20 effort and 30 points in the Wildcats' 71-58 victory over Virginia.

Two great games for most, but not for Reeves, who critically points to his three-for-13 shooting from behind the three-point line.

"The first indication for me to tell whether I'm going to have a good game is if I shoot my first three-pointer and it goes swoosh, " said Reeves, who led Arizona in scoring with a 24.2-point regular-season average. "If that first one goes down like that, I know at least three more will follow."

Which is what happened against Louisville. Reeves made his first three-pointer, then went on to make five of 10. He and backcourt mate Damon Stoudamire combined for 40 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.

"It's obvious that Arizona has a great, talented team with an outstanding backcourt," Missouri Coach Norm Stewart said during Friday's news conference. "I just hope that we do as well in stopping them like we did against Syracuse. Maybe we'll keep them in the 60-point range."

Missouri will have its defensive stopper, Lamont Frazier, on Reeves.

Against Syracuse, Frazier was able to slow guard Lawrence Moten at key points during the overtime, finishing with 17 points and seven rebounds.

"There are a couple of ways we can approach guarding him," Frazier said. "It'll be the coaches' decision on whether I guard him everywhere he goes or if we try to concentrate and play a team defense on him."

Reeves has scored 12 or more points in all 33 games for Arizona this season and the bigger the nonconference opponent, the better he has played. In the Wildcats' early-season games against Michigan, Notre Dame and Kentucky, Reeves averaged 34.3 points and five rebounds.

Arizona Coach Lute Olson has watched Reeves' game improve every season since he averaged nine points as a freshman reserve in 1990-91.

"In Khalid's first year, details weren't as important to him as they've become now," Olson said. "I think that the reason why he has had such a great year this season is that he has become detail conscious. In past years, he just kind of floated in and out."

Reeves, who had thought about transferring after his freshman season, blames much of his early trouble on a lack of communication with Olson. Instead of being a focal point for the team as a point guard, Reeves struggled to fit in as a shooter.

"It was just a confusion with what my role was," Reeves said. "I didn't know what Olson or what the team expected of me. Our roles weren't defined then. I wanted to do what I'm doing now, but our team was not structured in that way then."

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