TUCSON, Ariz. (AP)—No. 7 Arizona started poorly against California and finished worse. It was almost unstoppable the rest of the game.
Marcus Williams scored 21 points and Ivan Radenovic added 17 to help the seventh-ranked Wildcats beat California 94-85 Thursday night for its 10th straight victory.
Arizona (10-1, 1-0 Pac-10) is unbeaten since losing its opener at Virginia on Nov. 12, the school’s longest win streak since 2003. But the Wildcats weren’t smiling when they walked off the court after the reserves let Cal cut a 26-point lead to nine in the final 5 minutes. Arizona also got off to a rough start, committing seven turnovers in the first 8 minutes to fall behind 18-13.
“Now, this looks like it was a close game, when in actuality we won by 30,” point guard Mustafa Shakur said. “We have to finish the game. We did a terrible job at that.”
But Arizona did a good job in plenty of other areas.
The Wildcats hit 60.3 percent from the floor and was threatening the school single-game record of 71.4 percent, set in 1984, until the subs began firing bricks. Williams made all eight of his shots from the floor and Radenovic hit 6-of-7.
Arizona also outrebounded Cal 39-30 and had 24 assists on 35 baskets, a sign that the Wildcats were moving the ball well.
Williams showed no sign of the sore wrists that have bothered him recently.
“I thought we played a good game,” Williams said. “We were trying to make a statement to the Pac-10 that Arizona’s back.”
The Golden Bears are convinced.
“They have a lot of talent around the bucket and are real athletic,” said Cal freshman Ryan Anderson, who led the Golden Bears (8-5, 0-1) with 16 points. “They had guys driving to the bucket and getting easy points. We needed to stop that. Then they have five shooters out there.”
The Golden Bears have lost four of six. Cal is adjusting to life without junior center DeVon Hardin, who broke his left foot Dec. 19 and is expected to miss eight to 12 weeks. The 6-foot-11 Hardin leads active Pac-10 players with 95 career blocks.
Leading 51-33 at halftime, the Wildcats put the game away with a 23-12 run to open the second half.
“We had some lapses defensively, but certainly Arizona shot the ball well, make no mistake about that,” Cal coach Ben Braun said. “It is a pick-your-poison type of affair.”
For Arizona, the only downside was a terrible final 5 minutes. With a game against Stanford on Saturday afternoon, Olson wanted to rest his regulars. He began substituting liberally midway through the second half.
But after Cal finished the game on a 23-6 run, Olson said the reserves would be required to attend a film session at McKale Center on Friday morning.
“They get to watch the horror show just by themselves and (with) one coach and see if they can keep their stomach like we couldn’t on the bench,” Olson said.
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