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UA to face slow pace against Wash. St.

Citizen Staff Writer



One of the first things junior Chase Budinger did after Arizona’s win over Washington on Thursday was let his teammates know the game was history.

It was already time to look ahead to an early Saturday game against Washington State at McKale Center.

“We have to put this game behind us,” Budinger said of his postgame discussion. “We turn around on Saturday and we play another good team. Each game is going to be tough.”

The UA program has been here before. Four years ago – behind seniors Channing Frye, Salim Stoudamire and Isaiah Fox – UA beat then No. 10 Washington 91-82 on a Thursday night.

In a noon game on Saturday, UA was shocked by unranked Washington State 70-63. It was the first time in 18 years Arizona had lost to the Cougars.

UA wasn’t the first team to have a letdown after an emotional win.

“We addressed that (on Thursday night) and will hit on it again (on Friday),” said UA interim coach Russ Pennell.

“The interesting thing is that our players know right where we are. You have goals and aspirations. You’re at home and you’re running out of home games. You’ve just beaten a big-time opponent and you don’t want to hand it all back in one game. I’d be very surprised if we were not ready to play.”

A priority will be to adjust to the different styles.

UW likes to run and gun; WSU likes to slow it down and keep the game in the 60s – or even 50s.

“I don’t think we can keep up trying to score 100 points, that’s for sure,” WSU coach Tony Bennett said Friday.

UA beat Washington 106-97 on Thursday, while WSU upset No. 14 Arizona State 65-55 in Tempe.

The Cougars are averaging 58 points per game (last in the Pac-10), while allowing 52 (first in the country).

Bennett said that WSU’s grind-it-out-style didn’t matter last season because “(UA) had their way with us,” in beating the Cougars twice

“It’s always a battle of trying to get to (each team’s style) first,” Bennett said. “(But) I’ve seen them play well in the half court.”

Pennell said his team has faced about every scenario possible this year.

“We don’t want to get caught up in what our opponents are doing, but try to do what we do well,” he said. “Get our guys the balls in the right spot. Get our guys in transition. We’d love that, but if we can’t, we still have to get good shots.”

Pennell said he doesn’t believe the myth that UA plays better against opponents that like to get the ball up and down the court.

He did, however, list games where UA lost – Southern California and Arizona State – where the style was not fast.

“Do the guys like playing that style?” Pennell asked of the up-tempo style. “Absolutely.”

But these days, teams in the Pac-10 are no longer running at every chance.

Pennell said the change in play has a lot to do with the coaches in the league, saying that UCLA’s Ben Howland, USC’s Tim Floyd and ASU’s Herb Sendek stress defense.

Those coaches have come from other conferences, where the philosophies are to put a strong defense on the court.

Pennell thinks his team is capable of winning no matter what the style of play.

“It takes two to tango,” he said. “You gotta have the perfect storm. It so happened that Houston and Washington liked to run and we were able to keep up in both games.”


Washington State (12-8, 4-4) at Arizona (13-8, 3-5)

When: 11 a.m. Saturday


Radio: 1290 AM, 107.5 FM

Line: UA by 4.5

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