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Stout Arizona Makes Sure That Butler Doesn't Do It

March 19, 2001|From Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Arizona's answer for Butler's disciplined style of play was defense. All over the floor, all the time. On the inside and at the perimeter.

"Defensively we're a talented team. People look at our scores and talk about our offense, 80 and 90 points, but we hold teams to low shooting percentages," Arizona center Loren Woods said.

"We knew we had to bury this team after they hung around for 20 or 25 minutes."

And in the second half, the Wildcats' talent was too much for the tenacious Bulldogs.

Arizona got balanced scoring, strong rebounding and the tough defense it needed and pulled away for a 73-52 victory in the Midwest Regional.

The second-seeded Wildcats (25-7) won for the 17th time in 19 games and advanced to San Antonio for their fourth trip to the regional semifinals in the last six years.

"We have a shot if we keep our mind on our business and play the way we're capable of playing. We have a shot against anybody," Arizona Coach Lute Olson said.

Arizona shut off Butler's perimeter game that had been so effective in the Bulldogs' first-round rout of Wake Forest.

Butler had a seven-point lead late in the first half but Arizona erased that with an 11-2 spurt to close the half and then took over with 15-0 second-half run.

Butler's three-point shooters couldn't get the shots they wanted and the Bulldogs went scoreless for nearly seven minutes during the second-half Arizona run.

After making eight of 15 from the three-point line in the victory over Wake Forest, the Bulldogs managed only six of 26, including two of 16 in the second half.

"That's definitely one of the best college basketball teams I've seen in a long time," Butler Coach Thad Matta said. "They just took away every thing we wanted to do."

Gilbert Arenas scored 15 points, Michael Wright had 14 and Jason Gardner and the 7-foot-1 Woods 12 each for Arizona.

Getting a big lift off the bench from Luke Walton, who had 10 rebounds, the Wildcats dominated the boards, 39-20. They also had a big advantage at the foul line, making 17 of 18 to Butler's four of five.

LaVall Jordan led 10th-seeded Butler (24-8) with 17 points, but had only five in the second half.

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