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Finally, one on the road Cats hold off Beavers; win streak at 4

Citizen Staff Writer
The Bounce



CORVALLIS, Ore. – Finally, the Arizona men’s basketball team can say it has what it takes to win on the road.

It took dodging a last-second basket after a few untimely turnovers, but Arizona did something it hadn’t been able to do all season Thursday – win at a non-neutral site this season.

“It feels good,” UA’s Chase Budinger said after the Wildcats (15-8, 5-5 Pac-10) blew a 13-point lead but escaped with a 56-53 win over host Oregon State at Gill Coliseum.

UA has a four-game winning streak, equaling its season high. The Wildcats visit last-place Oregon on Saturday.

Budinger said UA knew it was an important weekend “because we’re on a winning streak and we just want to keep that thing going. We’ve been good so far and we’ve been practicing hard as a team. We’re getting better.”

Budinger finished with a game-high 17 points for UA, which is now at .500 in league play for the first time all season.

“We needed one (on the road) to get our confidence going and for the feeling that we could actually do it,” said UA’s Nic Wise, a key to the team’s success in the second half.

Wise finished with 14 points, including the basket that put UA up for good at 55-53 with 1:03 left.

UA’s win didn’t come without a struggle. OSU’s Roeland Schaftenaar missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer. The ball rolled around the rim for a second before falling out.

“We had a hand up and contested it,” Wise said. “Good thing he missed it.”

Or the game would have gone into overtime. And who knows what would have happened given UA’s luck this season.

The Wildcats have lost a number of close games. Thursday’s was not one of them.

“Oregon State did a heck of a job to fight back and make it close,” Budinger said. “They got a good look to (try) to get it into overtime, but we got lucky and it rimmed out.”

After UA lost to ASU to fall to 11-8 two weeks ago, Wildcats interim coach Russ Pennell thought his team was due for some good luck.

Arizona hasn’t lost since.

“That’s usually the ebb and flow of a basketball season,” Pennell said. “You’re going to have some breaks go against you, which we have. Shots will go against you, but then you have games like this one and the game like Houston when everything goes right.

“That’s why you have to keep competing hard. Sometimes you make your own breaks.”

And sometimes, you take better control of the ball.

UA trailed 23-21 at halftime after turning the ball over 11 times in the first 20 minutes.

But the Wildcats had just three turnovers in the second half.

“We were just careless with some of our turnovers,” Pennell said. “I wasn’t as concerned with Oregon State as I was with us. We just threw the ball away. . . .We did a better job.”

UA jumped to a 13-point lead at 45-32 in part because Budinger became more aggressive with the ball.

But OSU stayed close, inching back with a 3-pointer by Rickey Claitt and a basket by Seth Tarver with 6:47 left, making it 49-44.

Jordan Hill later scored to give UA a 53-46 lead, but OSU’s Tarver and Schaftenaar hit baskets to cut the lead to 53-50.

After a Budinger miss, Claitt hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 53 with 1:41 left.

Wise followed with a 10-footer in the lane over Claitt to give UA the lead with just over a minute left.

It appeared Wise pushed Claitt in his attempt to get to the basket.

“I jumped in front of him; I thought it was a charge,” Claitt said. “He didn’t have anywhere to go, except through me, but they didn’t make the call.”

Wise said there was no foul.

“Obviously not,” he said. “I kept going and made the shot. No whistle. You keep playing; we learn that in little league basketball.”

Pennell said he thought it was a good “no call.”

“I thought it was a great because the guy actually made contact before Nic leaned into him,” he said. “It was a playground basketball play. Some contact, but I thought no one gained an advantage.”

OSU coach Craig Robinson thought differently.

“I thought there was enough there to warrant a call,” he said.

Calvin Haynes missed a deep two-pointer from the right corner that would have tied it with 31 seconds left.

Budinger then hit one of two free throws to put UA up 56-53.

With 14.8 seconds left, OSU called a timeout to set up its final play.

OSU’s Schaftenaar missed a 3-pointer with five seconds left, but UA couldn’t control the ball and was called for traveling. Schaftenaar’s 3-pointer at the buzzer just missed.

Calvin Haynes led Oregon State with 12 points. The Beavers were held to 39.2 percent shooting, with UA continuing its strong recent play on defense.

> UA notes and box score, 4C

Continued from 1C


Arizona (15-8, 5-5) at Oregon (6-16, 0-10)

When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday

TV: ABC. Radio: 1290 AM, 107.5 FM


After Oregon State tied the game after trailing by 13, UA’s Nic Wise gave the Wildcats the lead for good with a shot with 1:03 remaining.


3 turnovers by UA in the second half after 11 in the first

7 rebounds by Jamelle Horne, who played 28 minutes off the bench

17 points by Chase Budinger, the game high

32 minutes played by UA’s bench (out of 200 total)

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