NEW YORK (AP) -- Lute Olson paced in front of his bench all
night, obviously frustrated with his team.
In the end, though, his Madison Square Garden streak remained
Olson's winning streak at the arena stretched to 11 games
Wednesday night when Arizona (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) squeezed past Michigan 61-60 in
overtime in the semifinals of the Preseason NIT. The run began for
the Hall of Fame coach when he was coaching Long Beach State and
beat LIU on Dec. 15, 1973.
"A long time ago," Olson said.
There have been 17 consecutive 20-win seasons at Arizona and a
national championship in 1997 as well as three Preseason NIT titles
but all that is history. His current Wildcats came in off a loss at
Virginia and a tumble in the rankings. They
did little Wednesday night to improve their image.
"If you defend well, you still have a chance to win," Olson
said. It was certainly not a pretty game to watch. There was some
serious defense played on both ends."
Arizona shot just 31.4 percent for the game, not exactly
impressive. Olson knows there's work to be done, starting with his
"We need to shoot the ball better," he said.
Dion Harris' basket with 51 seconds left in regulation tied the
score at 55 for Michigan, and the game stretched into overtime when
both teams missed late opportunities because of sloppy
In the extra period, Chris Hunter gave Michigan the lead, but
Arizona battled back, tying it on a pair of free throws by Channing
Frye and then moving ahead on a foul shot by Mustafa Shakur and a
basket by Jawann McClellan.
Michigan got into it again on free throws by Harris, Daniel
Horton and Hunter. The Wolverines had the ball and a chance to win,
but Horton's shot missed, and Arizona (3-1) survived.
"We're disappointed," Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. "We
battled very hard, and we played a scrappy, tough game against a
scrappy, tough team. I'm sure it wasn't a very pretty game at
The victory sent the Wildcats into Friday night's championship
game against No. 1 Wake Forest, which defeated Providence 79-67 in
Wednesday night's opener. Michigan plays Providence in the
Olson coached Arizona to Preseason NIT titles in 1990, `95 and
`99. Now he gets a shot for a fourth against the top-ranked team in
Michigan seemed prepared to break open the game against Arizona,
running off 10 straight points midway through the first half,
capitalizing on mistakes by the Wildcats to take a 21-11 lead. But
Ivan Radenovic and McClellan brought Arizona back, and by halftime
Michigan's lead was down to 27-25.
Michigan managed just four offensive rebounds in the first half
while Arizona had 15 and a 27-18 overall edge on the boards. That
helped the Wildcats overcome some poor shooting in the first 20
minutes, when they made just 23.7 percent of their shots, compared
to 42.3 for the Wolverines.
Shakur led Arizona with 13 points, and Radenovic had 12 and 10
rebounds. Horton scored 10 of his 13 points in the first half for
Michigan, while Harris led the Wolverines with 16.