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SI FOR KIDS
Arizona barely keeps its ASU dominance intact
Posted: Thursday February 11, 1999 01:48 AM
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Michael Wright is just a baby by Pac-10 Standards.
A baby bull, that is.
The 6-foot-7, 235-pound freshman scored 22 points, the most in his young college life, as No. 10 Arizona escaped with an 86-80 victory over Arizona State on Wednesday night.
"I can rebound and score," Wright said. "I can do it all."
He won't get any argument from Arizona State's Mike Batiste, who tried but often failed to stop Wright's powerful inside game.
"He's going to be a nice competitor in the Pac-10 for his entire career," Batiste said. "You guys out there better watch that guy." The Wildcats (17-4, 9-3 Pac-10) won their 27th straight home game and their eighth in a row over the Sun Devils, but both of the victories over ASU this season were uncomfortably close.
Jason Terry added 21 points for Arizona, including two free throws that put the Wildcats up 84-79 with 22 seconds to play. Terry and A.J. Bramlett finished their college careers 8-0 against Arizona State.
Bobby Lazor scored 22 of his 26 points in the second half for Arizona State (13-11, 5-7), while Eddie House added 24.
Arizona State never trailed by more than seven points and cut the lead to one twice in the final 1:09, the last time at 80-79 on Lazor's two free throws with 48 seconds remaining.
"I honestly felt that Arizona State played harder for 40 minutes than we did," Arizona coach Lute Olson said. "That's a great credit to them and their coaching staff for having them that ready to play."
Bramlett, who made the game-winning basket in Arizona's 74-73 victory at Arizona State on Jan. 14, scored inside to put the Wildcats up 82-79 with 36 seconds left.
The Sun Devils couldn't score and Arizona got possession on a jump ball. Terry was fouled and made two free throws to make it 84-79. Lazor made one of two free throws to cut the lead to 84-80, then Ruben Douglas punctuated the victory with a breakaway stuff.
"We played smart, hard and did everything we could," Arizona State coach Rob Evans said. "We had 20 offensive rebounds and our defense was solid. We just need to finish plays inside and we didn't do that towards the end of the game."
The 6-foot-7, 235-pound Wright, who also had nine rebounds and his first assist in a Pac-10 game, made his first eight shots, all from point-blank range, but missed two of four free throws over the final 2:10 to help Arizona State stay close.
The Sun Devils, with a tight man-to-man defense, had eight steals in the first half - 10 in the game - and led 38-35 at halftime.
But, with Wright scoring seven consecutive Wildcats points, Arizona outscored Arizona State 16-7 to start the second half, taking a 51-45 lead on Terry's 3-pointer with 15:14 to play.
The Wildcats twice stretched the lead to seven, the last time at 62-55 on Eugene Edgerson's inside basket with 11:18 to go. But the Sun Devils stayed close and finally caught the Wildcats at 71 on Mike Batiste's tip-in with 4:53 to play.
The game was tied twice more before Bramlett's inside basket gave Arizona the lead for good, 76-74 with 2:43 to go.
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