The fur will be flying, as Arizona takes on top-seeded Villanova
=== The fur will be flying, as Arizona takes on top-seeded Villanova ===
(Sports Network) – A cat fight ensues on the floor of the Wachovia
Center in Philadelphia this afternoon, as the Villanova Wildcats and the
Wildcats of Arizona match up in the second round of the 68th annual NCAA
Tournament. The top seed in the Minneapolis Region, Villanova looked a
bit passive in the early going against Monmouth in the first round on
Friday, but the squad finally put all the pieces together to pick up the
58-45 decision. With the victory, the Wildcats from the Main Line moved
their all-time record in the event to 40-26, with the nation’s third-ranked
team this week having won the title back in 1985.
As for the Wildcats from the desert, they are in the tournament for the
22nd straight year, the longest run of any school currently, and they
too have a crown to wear, the one they earned in 1997. Arizona was thought
to be on the proverbial bubble leading up to the postseason, but the
eighth seed blew the doors off a lumbering Wisconsin group on Friday with a
resounding 94-75 decision. The victory boosted the team’s all-time mark in
the tourney to 41-23.
Arizona currently holds a 2-1 edge in the all-time series over ‘Nova thanks
to a 72-64 decision in the most recent meeting back in 1991. The winner of
this game will face off against either Montana or Boston College in the Sweet
16 later this week.
Back in the lineup after being suspended for the Pac-10 Tournament, Hassan
Adams ripped into the Badgers for a game-high 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting
from the floor in Arizona’s win on Friday. Adams added three assists and a
couple of rebounds in just 23 minutes of action for the Wildcats, while
Mustafa Shakur put on a show of his own with 17 points, nine assists and five
boards, making 3-of-5 tries from behind the three-point line. Ivan Radenovic
contributed 18 points and seven rebounds, while both Bret Brielmaier and
Marcus Williams posted 10 points and combined to clear another 15 rebounds to
keep the Arizona scoring machine running at full capacity.
Although the Wildcats allowed Wisconsin to shoot 10-of-20 from three-point
range, the team did limit the Badgers to 43.1 percent from the floor
overall and won the battle on the boards, 36-27. While turning the ball
over just nine times, Arizona shot a stellar 59.3 percent from the field
and was efficient at the charity stripe as well, converting 19-of-23 chances.
With the score 10-6 in favor of the Wildcats well into the opening frame, it
was clear that both Villanova and Monmouth were having a case of the jitters
from the opening jump. With the teams having scored a total of 16 points at
one particular juncture, they had already combined for 17 turnovers, but then
the ‘Cats seized the moment and went on a bit of a scoring spree. Of their
nine baskets in the first half, four came from behind the three-point line and
all but one of those from Allan Ray who posted 11 points in the period. Add
that to the nine points that Randy Foye tallied and the duo outscored the
Hawks by themselves through 20 minutes.
Ray eventually turned in 19 points on 5-of-12 shooting from behind the three-
point line and Foye another 17 points, although he shot just 1-of-8 out on the
perimeter. Will Sheridan provided some muscle on the inside with a game-
high 10 rebounds, followed by Foye who cleared nine boards, recorded five
steals and handed out four assists in the somewhat lackluster performance.
Villanova finished the day shooting 30.8 percent from the field and 7-of-25
beyond the arc.