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Updated: Saturday, December 28, 2002 10:44 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
Recap | Box Score | Today's Scoreboard
(4) Arizona 95, Davidson 69
DAVIDSON WILDCATS
Davidson Wildcats
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ARIZONA WILDCATS
Arizona Wildcats
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TUCSON (Ticker) -- Salim Stoudamire scored a season-high 23 points and freshman Hassan Adams added 18 as fourth-ranked Arizona bounced back from its first loss of the season to rout Davidson, 95-69, in the first round of the Fiesta Bowl Classic.

Another freshman, Chris Rodgers, contributed a season-best 14 points off the bench and Channing Frye had 12 and nine rebounds for Arizona (6-1), which lost its top ranking this week after losing at Louisiana State last Saturday, 66-65.

"We wanted to come out and show we are still a good team," Adams said. "That loss (to LSU) hurt us, but it also made us stronger. We're not really searching for chemistry. We are a good team, but we just need to play like a team."

"This game was a lot of fun. That's a reason why we won," Frye said. "Last game everybody was down and ready to go home. Now everybody has seen their family and is ready to keep playing hard."

The Wildcats played without starting forward Rick Anderson. The 6-9 senior, who is second in scoring with 11.8 points per game, had started all six previous games but was sidelined with the flu.

With one of his best players out, Arizona coach Lute Olson liked the way Rodgers stepped up.

"Chris Rodgers did a great job defensively," Olson said. "I've been saying he's our defensive guard. He's doing a better job of getting the ball ahead to the other guys on the court. That's always a big adjustment for these freshman coming right out of high school, where they've been used to being the big scorer."

"I feel a lot more comfortable," Rodgers said. "I just wanted to come out and give whatever my team needed to get the victory. I just want to play hard every day in practice and hopefully that will carry over to the games. Today was a good example of that."

Arizona, which improved to 34-1 all-time in the 18-year history of this event, takes on Boston University in Monday night's championship game. BU defeated Florida State, 84-69, in Saturday's first game.

Freshman Ian Johnson had 21 points and nine rebounds and Peter Anderer tallied 17 but Davidson (6-2) had a six-game winning streak stopped. Its only other loss this season came to then-No. 4 Duke, 95-80, on November 25.

Anderer made a trio of 3-pointers in the first four minutes as Davidson took a surprising 12-7 lead.

But Stoudamire's three-point play to put Arizona ahead, 20-19, with 10:13 left in the first half. His 3-point shot with 6:49 until intermission opened up a 31-25 lead.

Arizona still led by six at the break, despite 16 points by Johnson.

Stoudamire's five straight points opened up a 54-39 lead 2:21 into the second half and Davidson never got within single digits the rest of the contest.

"In the second half, we had too much quickness and too much depth," Olson said. "When shooters lose their legs, great shooters suddenly aren't great shooters anymore. You could see it early in the second half. Just look at the difference in their shooting percentage in the first half and the second half."

Davidson shot an amazing 56 percent (14-of-25) from the field in the first 20 minutes, and just 29 percent (12-of-41) in the second half for a 39-percent mark (26-of-66) for game.

"All you have to do is look at the stat sheet. We didn't shoot well," Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. "That really forced us out of our rhythm. We were forced to take difficult shots. We are a team that hits singles, not home runs. We played outside of our realm."

Arizona starting forward Luke Walton returned after missing two games with a sprained right ankle, but he did not score until nailing a 3-pointer for a 68-48 lead with 11:59 left. Walton finished with just six points and seven rebounds.

"The last two weeks have been really frustrating, but it was good to be back," Walton said. "We play differently because they respond to me out there. It really gives a little energy."

Arizona shot 46 percent (32-of-69) but converted 25-of-35 free-throw attempts and outrebounded Davidson, 50-34.


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