Wildcats win despite 6-minute scoreless drought

ANAHEIM, Calif. (ESPN.com news services) -- Lute Olson could afford to smile after Arizona (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) held on to beat Mississippi State (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP).

The 70-year-old Hall of Fame coach mostly wore a scowl in the late going thanks to several mistakes and bad decisions by the Wildcats.

Channing Frye had 18 points and 16 rebounds as Arizona beat the Bulldogs 68-64 on Sunday despite being held scoreless for more than six minutes down the stretch.

"I thought we defended reasonably well the whole game," Olson said. "Far too many turnovers. It seemed like we were in control, and all of a sudden, we made some bad decisions with the ball.

"To Mississippi State's credit, they kept hanging in. We couldn't get rid of them. I guess we kept the crowd entertained," he said.

The win left Olson one short of 1,000 for his career when combining all his coaching levels. Research from Arizona's athletic department has shown that Olson was incorrectly credited with a win in the late 1960s, when he was coaching high school), which means he needs six wins this season to reach the mark. The earliest that could happen is Dec. 11 against Utah.

Olson's coaching career spans 45 years at the high school, junior college and collegiate levels. In information provided by the NBA, NCAA, National Junior College Athletic Association and the National Federation of State High School Associations, only 10 coaches in history have reached 1,000 career wins on any level.

The game at Anaheim Arena was part of the 11th John Wooden Classic, honoring the former Bruins coach who won 10 NCAA championships in a 12-year span before retiring in 1975.

As usual, the 94-year-old Wooden attended the doubleheader.

Frye's basket with just under 6½ minutes remaining gave the Wildcats a 65-56 lead. But the Bulldogs got baskets by Marcus Campbell and Ontario Harper and four points from Gary Ervin to draw within one with 1:46 left.

Arizona's Hassan Adams blocked a shot by Shane Power with 30 seconds to play, and freshman Jawann McClellan made a foul shot nine seconds later to give the Wildcats a two-point lead.

McClellan missed his second free-throw attempt, giving Mississippi State a chance to tie or go ahead. But Ervin threw a bad pass with 5.6 seconds to play, and Frye made two free throws to complete the scoring.

The teams combined for 39 turnovers -- 20 by Mississippi State.

Ervin's was the biggest.

"We had the ball where we wanted it and just didn't deliver the pass," Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. "But that one play doesn't decide the ballgame."

Adams had 12 points and nine rebounds and Salim Stoudamire scored 12 points for Arizona (5-2). Isaiah Fox added 10 points and Mustafa Shakur had eight points and nine assists.

Winsome Frazier led Mississippi State (6-2) with 18 points despite sitting out the last 6:45 of the first half after being accidentally hit above the left eye by Fox's elbow.

"I just know he had a big old gash," Stansbury said. "He said he could play."

Campbell had 10 points and 11 rebounds and Ervin scored 10 points.

Lawrence Roberts, who leads Mississippi State in scoring and rebounding, was held to seven points and seven rebounds. He has 41 career double-doubles.

"Lawrence is not at his best," Stansbury said. "You stand Frye behind him, and it's hard to go over the top. And they double-teamed him, too. I don't know who's more athletic than Arizona at so many positions."

Fox and Frye handled most of the defensive duties on Roberts.

"Early in the game, we were just trying to be physical with him," Fox said. "I think we took him out of his rhythm. It was a real tough matchup."

Roberts had no excuses, saying the Wildcats came out aggressive and simply did a good job against him.

Roberts had only one point before making a follow shot two minutes into the second half, cutting Arizona's lead to 51-42.

Two baskets by Shakur extended Arizona's lead to 50-36 before the Bulldogs, aided by several turnovers by the Wildcats, went on an 18-9 run to draw within five points with 9½ minutes left.

It was 61-56 when Frye blocked a shot by Ervin, setting up an Arizona fast break that Adams capped with a soaring dunk off an alley-oop pass from Shakur. The Bulldogs then turned the ball over and Frye made a jumper to put the Wildcats ahead by nine.

That turned out to be Arizona's last field goal.

"We found a way to hang around," Stansbury said. "The last two minutes, we really took it to them, and they became a little hesitant."

Arizona's Ivan Radenovic, a starter averaging 8.0 points and 4.7 rebounds, didn't play because of a hip pointer. Fox replaced him in the starting lineup.

The Wooden Classic was moved to Sunday from its traditional Saturday spot to avoid conflicting with the football game between No. 1 USC and UCLA at the Rose Bowl.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


ESPN Fan Shop Powered By

  • adidas Men's Mississippi State Bulldogs Maroon Long Sleeve Shooter ShirtPrice: $47.97 Shop

  • Nike Men's Arizona Wildcats Navy ELITE Basketball KO Performance Pullover HoodieShop