TUCSON, Ariz. (AP)—Racehorse basketball doesn’t work against Arizona. The 14th-ranked Wildcats can run and gun and still play stifling defense.
Salim Stoudamire had 15 of his 18 points in the second half, helping Arizona turn a close game into a 97-79 rout of Arizona State in their Pac-10 opener Sunday.
“They were up and down just like us,” Stoudamire said. “They wanted to push it, but they ran out of gas.”
Channing Frye had a season-high 21 points and Mustafa Shakur added 20, including a season-high four 3-pointers, for the Wildcats (11-2), who won their eighth straight.
“Between Mustafa and Salim, they were 8-of-10 from 3-point range,” Arizona coach Lute Olson said. “Neither of them are forcing any shots. They were outstanding in every phase of the game.
“One turnover apiece, and defensively, I thought they really kept the pressure on the ASU guards.”
Hassan Adams, Arizona’s third-leading scorer, had eight points on 3-for-14 shooting, but had 10 rebounds and seven assists.
Frye and Ivan Radenovic neutralized the Sun Devils’ Ike Diogu, an inside scorer who goes to the free throw line more than anyone in the college game.
Diogu had 23 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks, but went nearly 24 minutes without a field goal when the game was still in doubt as Arizona State had a nine-game winning streak snapped.
“Every time I got the ball, there were two or three defenders on me,” Diogu said. “When I would think I had an open shot, I would turn right into a defender.”
The Wildcats put it away with a 14-0 run started by Stoudamire’s 3-pointer with 8:39 to play. Stoudamire added a basket and two free throws, and Chris Rodgers capped it with a 3-pointer with 6:32 left, opening an 85-63 lead.
Kevin Kruger had 14 points and Serge Angounou added 12 for the Sun Devils (11-2). Jason Braxton and Steve Moore each had 10, giving Arizona State five starters in double figures.
The Wildcats have won 19 of the last 20 meetings, beating the Sun Devils by 19 and 25 points last season, and they usually dominate the first half.
This time, it was excruciatingly close for 20 minutes.
Stoudamire’s 3-pointer 2:06 into the second half put Arizona up 53-43—the first double-digit lead for either team.
The Sun Devils battled back within four points twice, the second time on a fast-break layup by Moore, cutting the deficit to 56-52 with 14:24 to play. But Frye had six of Arizona’s next 13 points, and the Wildcats took a 69-58 lead when Rodgers scored on a goaltending call on Diogu with 9:46 left.
Shakur helped Arizona stay close when the Sun Devils took a 27-18 lead with 10:56 left in the first half on Kruger’s third 3-pointer in 2 1/2 minutes.
Shakur, anxious to escape Olson’s doghouse, had 10 points during a 28-14 run that lasted the rest of the half. Arizona got a lead it never relinquished— 38-36—on Shakur’s 3-pointer with 3:50 to play.
“He was all over me trying to make me better,” Shakur said of recent practices. “It gets you when your coach is all over you, but I know he’s doing it to make me better. I need to suck it up and try harder.”
Diogu, a 90 percent free throw shooter who leads the nation in free throws (122) and attempts (140), was 6-of-11 from the line.
It was Diogu’s 72nd game in double digits, covering his entire college career.
“Very seldom do I see him get frustrated,” Arizona State coach Rob Evans said. “We are mature enough to handle this loss. It’s only the first (conference) game of 18.”