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Budinger leads Arizona's second-half surge over Memphis

Dec 21, 2006 - 7:50 AM TUCSON, Arizona (Ticker) -- Freshman Chase Budinger and Arizona showed too much athletism for their first ranked opponent of the season.

Budinger scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half as ninth-ranked Arizona captured its ninth straight win with a 79-71 victory over No. 18 Memphis in the Fiesta Bowl Classic.

One of the top recruits in the nation, Budinger led a charge after intermission as the Wildcats (9-1) recovered from a 38-33 deficit for a comfortable lead for most of the second half.

"We weren't aggressive enough in the first half," Arizona coach Lute Olson said. "At halftime, we told all them all five guys have to crash the glass. The fast breaks were because we were controlling the defensive boards."

Missing both of his 3-pointers in the first half, the 6-7 Budinger hit his only shot from the arc inside the opening minute of the second half to ignite the charge. He added a steal moments later, leading to a fast-break dunk by Jawann McClellan.

Coming out of a timeout, the Tigers answered back with a layup by Chris Douglas-Roberts before Budinger sank two free throws to tie the score at 40-40 with 17:54 to play.

Douglas-Roberts, who finished with 10 points, added another layup, but Arizona responded with a 15-4 run, pulling ahead, 55-46, with 13:13 remaining.

"We came out and made big plays," Wildcats point guard Mustafa Shakur said. "We rebounded better and got some steals defensively."

Ivan Radenovic scored the first six points of the spurt for the Wildcats, completing a pair of three-point plays. The 6-10 senior finished with 18 points.

"I think the first time I got a pass from Mustafa's penetration," said Radenovic about the two three-point plays. "I tried to avoid charging, and he (the defender) leaned his hip into me and fouled me. On the second time, I penetrated and shot the ball kind of awkwardly. I was just trying to get the shot off."

Along with the stellar play by Budinger and Radenovic, the Wildcats turned the game around with defense, switching schemes to slow down the speedy Tigers.

"Early in the game, we played man-to-man defense and they were too quick," Olson said. "They had too many penetrations, so we switched to a 1-3-1 zone, which cut down on their driving."

Shakur, who paced Arizona with 23 points, had a fast-break dunk off a steal by McClellan to supply a 70-59 advantage with 5:54 left.

"Mustafa Shakur hurt us," Memphis coach John Calipari said. "He basically controlled the game tonight."

Overall, the Wildcats shot 54 percent (13-of-24) in the second half to pull even in the all-time series with the Tigers at 3-3. This was the first meeting since 1965.

Jeremy Hunt scored 18 points and Andre Allen added 15 for Memphis (8-3), which has lost both of its road games this season.

"If we want to win, especially in a place like this against a top-10 team, we have to make plays," Calipari said. "But we are not there yet."