SAN DIEGO (AP)—Chase Budinger’s homecoming didn’t live up to the hype.
With the star freshman scoring only five points, Marcus Williams had 21 points and a career-high 16 rebounds to lead the No. 14 Arizona Wildcats to their seventh straight win, 69-48 over San Diego State on Saturday night in the second game of the San Diego Slam at Cox Arena.
“It was one of those nights I just couldn’t find the basket,” said Budinger, who came in leading the Wildcats with a 19.4-point average but made only two of nine shots. His previous low was 14 points against Samford on Nov. 22.
“Nights like that are going to happen,” Budinger said. “So it’s kind of a bummer that it happened on the night I came home.”
Budinger, from nearby Encinitas, scored more points—11—in the McDonald’s All-American game at Cox Arena in March, when he helped the West beat the East 112-94.
Arizona (7-1) won its fifth straight against San Diego State (8-2) and leads the series 18-5. SDSU, which had a horrible night shooting, has lost nine straight to Top 25 teams.
No. 22 Oklahoma State beat Ball State 75-56 in the opener of the doubleheader.
Like Oklahoma State, Arizona won a game in the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, then won on the West Coast.
On Tuesday night, Williams had only five points and three rebounds in a 72-65 win over Louisville.
“I took it upon myself to play better and to the best of my ability after Tuesday’s game,” he said. “I wanted to calm the team and be aggressive first off on defense.”
Williams hit a 3-point shot to open a 13-2 run late in the first half that gave Arizona a 35-20 lead. The Wildcats twice led by 18 points in the second half before SDSU’s Brandon Heath made a 3-pointer with 6:45 left to close the gap to 52-43.
Williams made two of Arizona’s next three baskets and the Wildcats got the lead back up to double digits.
Budinger made a layup for the game’s first points, then didn’t score again until making a 3-point shot 34 seconds left before halftime, when Arizona led 38-22.
Budinger didn’t score in the second half. He had only one rebound, well off his average of 6.9.
Mustafa Shakur scored 14 points for the Wildcats and Ivan Radenovic and Jawann McClellan had 10 apiece.
Aztecs senior guard Brandon Heath had 14 points to move into second place on the school’s career scoring list with 1,746. Michael Cage is the leader with 1,846 points from 1981-84.
SDSU came in as the nation’s fourth-best team in 3-point shooting, then made only five of 25 from behind the arc. Overall the Aztecs shot just 32.8 percent.
“I’m really pleased how we played defense and made it difficult to get good looks,” Arizona coach Lute Olson said. “Offensively, once we started moving, getting everyone going, we were able to break down the defense and drive to the basket. We felt we could get more pressure on their shooters because of our size and length.”
It was SDSU’s second straight loss following an 8-0 start.
“I’m disappointed with the loss, but far from disappointed with this team,” SDSU coach Steve Fisher said. “We didn’t shoot well—it was part us and part them. They turned what looked like good shots into contested shots.”