ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) -- Lawrence Roberts was the featured big man in this contest. Channing Frye stole the show.
Frye had 18 points and 16 rebounds as No. 20 Arizona held on for a 68-64 victory over No. 21 Mississippi State in the John R. Wooden Classic.
Roberts, the reigning Southeastern Conference Player of the Year who leads all active NCAA players with 41 double-doubles, scored just seven points on 3-of-10 shooting and was held to one point and two shots in the first half.
"I think by taking him (Lawrence Roberts) away and making him make passes, it kind of took his aggressiveness early and that kind of helped us out," Frye said. "I think Isaiah (Fox) did a great job on him."
"We felt the key thing for us in this ballgame was to be able to try and take Lawrence Roberts out of the game as much as possible because he is such a critical guy to them," Arizona coach Lute Olson added.
With the Wildcats clinging to a 65-64 lead, Bulldogs' point guard Gary Ervin had his layup attempt blocked with 32 seconds left. Arizona's Jawaan McClellan hit one of two free throws with 21.5 seconds left to push the lead to two.
The Bulldogs called time, ran a play to get Roberts the ball on the box but Frye's defense forced a poor entry pass by Ervin that went out of bounds. Frye then closed the deal with two free throws.
Frye, the game's MVP, shot 6-of-12 from the floor and converted all but one of his seven free throws. Salim Stoudamire and Hassan Adams added 12 points for Arizona (5-2).
Arizona held Mississippi State to 35.4 percent (23-of-65) and forced 20 turnovers, but the Wildcats shot just 39.4 percent (26-of-66) and turned the ball over 19 times in the sloppily played game. The schools combined to shoot just 6-of-32 from the arc.
"I thought we defended reasonably well," Olson said. "Far too many turnovers. It seemed like we were in pretty good control of the game and all of the sudden we made some really bad decisions with the ball.
"To Mississippi's credit, they kept hanging in and hanging in. It seemed like it was always 9,10 and 11. We just couldn't get rid of them."
Behind 10 points and 10 rebounds by Frye, Arizona took a 39-30 lead at the half. Two baskets by Mustafa Shakur pushed the lead to 50-36 with 14:37 before Mississippi State started chipping away. A basket by Shane Power, two free throws and a fastbreak layup by Gary Ervin sparked an 18-6 run that cut the lead to 65-64 with 1:44 left.
"We could have folded but we didn't do it," Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. "We found a way to hang around and I found that the last two minutes of the game our team took it to them. I thought they became a little bit hesitant and our team became the aggressor. I just told my team you can't wait until the 10-minute mark to become that way. One possession doesn't win or lose the basketball game."
Winsome Frazier gave Mississippi State (5-2) a 9-4 lead with three 3-pointers just over one minute into the game, but eight points by Frye sparked a 27-9 run over the next 11 minutes to give Arizona a 31-18 lead with 7:52 left in the half.
Frazier, led the Bulldogs with 18 points but missed his last six 3-point attempts. Ervin and Marcus Campbell added 10 apiece.