In a flash, Arizona dispatches Ill. State Wildcats warm for Terps with 2nd-half clinic, 82-49

West at Sacramento, Calif.

March 15, 1998|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- In a flash, the Illinois State Redbirds were sent flying south yesterday.

One steal led to another, one basket to another and Illinois State had suddenly hit the wall in its quest to surprise defending national champion Arizona at Arco Arena.

Arizona's easy, 82-49 victory -- its second straight laugher of the tournament -- set up the expected confrontation with Maryland next week in the West Regional semifinals in Anaheim, Calif.

Once the top-seeded Wildcats turned up their defense and shifted into a gear Illinois State couldn't find, the match with Maryland was assured.

"It's hard for any team to stay with us if we come out with a lot of intensity," said Arizona All-American Mike Bibby, who contributed 19 points and seven assists.

"Maryland is going to be big inside," added guard Miles Simon (19 points, six assists). "That's going to be a battle from the start. We have to be ready to play."

Not that the Wildcats weren't prepared yesterday. But they dawdled along at Illinois State's pace for a half and actually found themselves in a 32-32 tie after Dan Muller hit two early second-half baskets for the Redbirds.

Then, the sky fell in on ninth seed Illinois State, which was playing two guards short because of injuries and coming off an overtime win in which four starters played at least 40 minutes.

Arizona (29-4) was all over the place to pour in 15 straight points and continued the run to 27-2 to put it away with a 59-34 advantage.

"Their defense had us going faster than we wanted to go," said Redbirds coach Kevin Stallings.

"Their athleticism took over and there was nothing we could do to regain any kind of control of the game. They were just too good for us."

Jason Terry came off the Wildcats' bench to culminate the streak with two straight three-pointers and Arizona went on to shoot nearly 60 percent in the second half.

L "They had trouble even getting it up the court," said Simon.

With its primary ball-handler, Jamar Smiley, almost unusable because of a back condition, Illinois State (25-6) had to play a half-court game.

That worked in the first half when -- despite shooting only 32 percent -- the Redbirds stayed within three points.

"As soon as we got it into a full-court game, we were too quick for them to handle," said Arizona coach Lute Olson. "And the more active our defense is, the better we shoot.

"Plus, it was obvious their guard depth was almost nil. We felt we could wear them down."

The Redbirds committed six turnovers during the 15-0 run and two more when it was extended to 27-2. Arizona turned all but one of them into points.

"Very few teams in the country have the 'spurtability' Arizona has," said Stallings. "In three minutes they ended the game."

Maryland now has a load on its hands to reach the Elite Eight. Arizona, 4-0 in the tourney in Sacramento, outscored its two opponents by 181-109.

"Each game is a one-game season," said Olson. "We've earned another one-game season."

In spectacular fashion.


NCAA highlights


Shammond Williams, N.C. 32

Todd MacCulloch, Wash. 31

Andre Miller, Utah 28

Mateen Cleaves, Michigan St. 27

Vince Carter, N.C. 24

DeMarco Johnson, N.C.-Char. 23

Andrae Patterson, Indiana 23


Todd MacCulloch, Wash. 18

Jarrod Gee, Illinois 13

Antawn Jamison, N.C. 12

Kenyon Martin, Cincinnati 11

Bobby Brannen, Cincinnati 9

Mateen Cleaves, Michigan St. 9

Rodney Elliott, Maryland 9

Marcus Goree, West Virginia 9

Alex Jensen, Utah 9


Sean Colson, N.C.-Char. 10

Khalid El-Amin, UConn 8

Mike Bibby, Arizona 7

Kareem Reid, Arkansas 7

Terrell Stokes, Maryland 7

Donald Watts, Washington 7

Biggest upset

This was far from the first time that a 10th seed has beaten a second seed (see below), but West Virginia's 75-74 victory over Cincinnati was improbable enough. A last-second three-pointer, tipped by a defender and banked in it was enough to have the guy who shot it, Jarrod West, talking about divine intervention.

Second and eight

Since 1994, six teams have scored second-round upsets of teams seeded eight places higher (seedings in parentheses):

Yr, Winner .............. Loser

'94, (12) Tulsa 82 ...... (4) Okla. St. 80

'94, (10) Md. 95 ........ (2) Mass. 87

(9) BC 75 .......... (1) N.C. 72

(12) Ark. 65 ....... (4) Marqu'te 56

(10) Prov. 98 ...... (2) Duke 87

(10) W.Va. 75 ...... (2) Cincy 74

Conference scoreboard

The Pacific-10 remained perfect after three days of games. Records for conferences that received three or more bids:

Pac-10 6-0

Conf. USA 3-2

ACC 6-1

Big 12 2-2

Big Ten 6-2

SEC 2-4

Big East 5-2

Midw. Coll. 1-2

WAC 3-2

Atlantic 10 1-4

Boise redux

Three years ago, at the same basket in Boise, Idaho, where yesterday Jarrod West's shot beat Cincinnati, Tyus Edney drove the length of the court in the final 4.1 seconds for a layup that gave UCLA a one-point win over Missouri en route to the Bruins' national championship.

He said it

"I shot it as high as I could, and God let it fall in."

West Virginia's Jarrod West on his banked three-pointer that beat Cincinnati

Pub Date: 3/15/98

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