for this game

Bayless keeps up scoring for surging Arizona

Dec 17, 2007 - 1:25 AM TUCSON, Arizona (Ticker) -- Jerryd Bayless continued to lead the way for streaking Arizona.

Bayless had 13 of his 21 points in the first half as the No. 22 Wildcats rolled to their fourth straight win, 69-50 over Fresno State on Sunday.

Despite the fact that Arizona coach Lute Olson will not return for the rest of the season as he faces a divorce from his second wife, the freshman guard has begun to blossom into an impact scorer.

Bayless credited interim coach Kevin O'Neill for the smooth transition in dealing with the unexpected situation.

"It was tough in the beginning, trying to figure out who was the coach, but now we know to follow KO (O'Neill)," he said.

Going 8-of-14 from the field with four 3-pointers, Bayless reached 20 points for the fourth straight game. He has put up 88 points over that span, shooting 52 percent (29-of-56).

Arizona (7-2) has followed along behind the freshman, capturing key wins against Texas A&M and at Illinois during the span.

The Wildcats were trailing, 17-15, in this one before Bayless looked for his shot, scoring 11 of their next 20 points to lift Arizona to a 35-19 lead at the halftime.

"I thought in the first half, we really ran our stuff (offensive sets) well," O'Neill said. "We got the ball to our second and third options out of set plays. I was very happy with how we moved the ball."

Bayless had three 3-pointers and an alley-oop dunk during the decisive burst.

"I started making some shots," Bayless said. "I made my first one, and my teammates kept getting the ball to me. I thought I got the shots in the rhythm of our offense, and KO called more plays for me."

The Wildcats continued to open up the contest behind Bayless, who scored seven straight points for his team to make it 50-26 with 12:30 remaining.

The guard also recorded the play of the game when he passed between his legs in transition to set up a dunk by freshman Jamelle Horne.

"I was just playing basketball and having fun," Bayless said. "I did that in high school almost every game. At this level, you have to make sure it gets done."

Chase Budinger, who finished with 16 points, knocked down one of his three 3-pointers to extend the cushion to 59-32 with 10:08 to play.

Sophomore forward Jordan Hill also continued to improve by leaps and bounds, finishing with 15 points and nine rebounds.

After a disappointing outing in which he had just five points and five boards in a 76-72 loss at Kansas on November 25, Hill is averaging 15 points and 7.8 rebounds over the last four games.

"Jordan (Hill) is getting much more confident," O'Neill said. "I told him during the week that he had good practices every single day. He's doing a good job in practice and carried it into the games."

Kevin Bell scored 12 points and Hector Hernandez added 11 for the Bulldogs (5-5), who have lost four of their five road games this season.

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    FRESNO ST 19 31 50
    ARIZONA (22) 35 34 69 FINAL

    Dec 16 4:47 PM

    FRESNO ST 19

    Dec 16 3:46 PM