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Hairston scores 29 as Oregon topples Arizona

Jan 5, 2008 - 10:52 PM TUCSON, Arizona (Ticker) -- Malik Hairston made sure that Oregon did not leave the state of Arizona empty-handed.

Hairston scored 17 of his career high-tying 29 points in the first half as the Ducks built a big lead before holding on for an 84-74 victory over No. 21 Arizona in the Pac-10 Conference on Saturday.

After being ranked 16th in the nation on December 9, Oregon (10-3, 1-1 Pac-10) had lost three of its previous five games. Included in that was a disappointing start to conference play, falling 62-54 at Arizona State on Thursday.

"Hopefully this is the win that can kick-start us into playing how we are accustomed to playing," Oregon coach Ernie Kent said. "We looked like the Oregon of old today even though this is a different team with different personnel."

While the point total against the Sun Devils was a season low, the Ducks were able to find their range rather quickly against the Wildcats. They put together a big run in the first half behind Hairston en route to going ahead by as many as 19 points.

Arizona (10-4, 1-1) did attempt to rally after the break, closing within 58-52 with 12:35 remaining on the strength of a 9-4 surge.

Maarty Leunen, freshman Kamyron Brown and Hairston all had layups over the next 90 seconds as Oregon rebuilt the lead to 10 points. Hairston, who finished 11-of-17 from the field, also hit a 3-pointer to make it 69-57 with 10:02 to play.

Budinger came back with a shot from the arc, and later hit a jumper to cut the deficit to 73-68 with 5:58 to go. Yet, Brown knocked on a 3-pointer moments later and Tajuan Porter's jumper with 3:43 left gave the Ducks another 10-point lead.

"We got it back to a workable number at five (point deficit)," Arizona coach Kevin O'Neill said. "Then, they came down and hit a three."

Hairston finished 11-of-17 from the field with three 3-pointers and grabbed six rebounds.

Bryce Taylor had 15 points and Leunen added 13 and 11 rebounds for Oregon, which shot 56 percent (33-of-59), including 10-of-22 on 3-pointers.

"If you get into a shot-making contest with them, you're going to lose," O'Neill said. "They're a good team that hasn't played too well thus far."

Chase Budinger scored 30 points and collected seven boards for Arizona, which lost for just the second time in its last nine games.

"I just tried to carry over from the Oregon State game and stay aggressive," Budinger said. "We played poorly as a team, and even though individually I had a good game, the team played poorly."

Nic Wise scored 16 points and handed out seven assists and Jordan Hill added 12 points and seven rebounds despite being limited by foul issues for the Wildcats, who were topped the glass by a 35-28 margin.

After needing a late push to top Oregon State on Thursday, the Wildcats fell behind big midway through the first half due to the play of Hairston.

The senior guard scored 11 points during a 22-6 run that turned a 19-19 tie into a 41-25 advantage the Ducks with 5:43 remaining.

"I was able to get my first couple of shots to fall, kept staying aggressive and was able to help my ballclub on the offensive end," Hairston said.

Hairston added a layup with 3:43 left to extend the lead to 46-27 for Oregon, which was facing its first ranked opponent of the season.

Despite the huge deficit, Arizona chipped away prior to halftime, going on a 10-2 run to make it 48-37 at the break. Budinger had five points in that span.

The Wildcats accomplished the burst despite the absence of Hill inside. The sophomore was kept on the sideline by O'Neill after three early fouls.

"Coach O'Neill did the smart thing and did not put me back in," Hill said. "They were stupid fouls I got."