NEW YORK (AP)—Lute Olson and Hassan Adams made Arizona’s latest win sound so simple.
“Defensively, I think we created more problems for them than they created for us,” Olson said after his ninth-ranked Wildcats beat No. 6 Texas 91-83 Tuesday night in the Jimmy V Classic.
Adams had a career-high 30 points so you would think he would be able to shed some light on his best offensive game.
“I just went out there and played my game. The shots came to me and I took them in rhythm,” he said. “I was feeling it today and I was ready to play.”
Andre Iguodala had a triple-double with 13 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in the win that kept Arizona unbeaten in nine games in Madison Square Garden under Olson.
The Wildcats (3-1) won the Preseason NIT in 1990, `95 and `99 under Olson at the Garden and also won the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic there in 2001.
“Our guys came out just right, they weren’t too tense and that’s the way they handle a big game against a big team in a building like Madison Square Garden,” Olson said.
Providence beat No. 14 Illinois 70-51 in the opening game of the doubleheader.
The Wildcats, whose last two games were one-point decisions—a loss to now-No. 1 Florida and a win over Saint Louis,—took command with a 20-3 run early in the second half that gave them a 61-43 lead with 12:50 to play.
Their biggest lead was 79-60 on a 3-pointer by Adams with 6:03 to play and it seemed as if it would be a matter of watching the clock run out.
But the Longhorns (4-1) were relentless on the offensive glass the rest of the way and held the Wildcats to just one field goal—a four-point play by Salim Stoudamire with 4:02 left. They got as close as 86-80 on a 3-pointer by Kenny Taylor with 31 seconds left, but Arizona went 5-for-6 from the free-throw line to close it.
“We should have performed better,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. “I thought our perimeter shot selection was awful. We can be an outstanding team.”
Adams, a 6-foot-4 sophomore forward, had 22 points against Western Kentucky last season for his previous best.
The Wildcats entered with six players averaging between 14.0 and 9.7 points, and despite Adams’ big game the scoring was still balanced.
“We had a chance to break it open all game,” Iguodala said. “Once we clamped down on defense it opened things up and we got on the boards hard and we kept running and tired them down.
“Our chemistry is coming together and I’m having a good time with it.”
Stoudamire had all 17 of his points in the second half for Arizona, while Channing Frye had 15 and Mustafa Shakur 10.
“Salim’s a shooter and it’s just a matter of him not fighting himself,” Olson said. “It was good that he never showed frustration.”
Stoudamire said he wasn’t worried about everybody starting to score.
“Our guys can score or they wouldn’t be at Arizona,” he said. “Our guys are always going to step up, it’s a matter of being positive.”
Freshman P.J. Tucker had 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Longhorns, who shot 36 percent for the game (32-for-89) and outrebounded Arizona 53-48, including 25-11 on the offensive end.
Texas’ worst shooting period of a poor shooting game was when the Longhorns went 1-for-13 from the field during the 20-3 run. Stoudamire had half of Arizona’s points in the run.
Adams had 10 rebounds for the Wildcats, who shot 47.8 percent (32-for-67) and Frye had five of their 10 blocks.
“Adams had a great game and if he’s that good they’re going to be pretty good,” Barnes said. “He got in a confidence zone and that’s our fault.”
Royal Ivey had eight points, 11 assists and five steals for the Longhorns, who dropped to 2-8 all-time against Arizona.