A couple days ago I questioned our beloved Wildcats fire, whether they had any motivation to keep playing through the tough times that the program is going through. The Coleman/Budinger incident was obviously the catalyst for what the Cats needed. Last night was an example of that.
The Washington Huskies came to town ranked 23rd in the AP poll and leaving me a little anxious to see how our boys would look coming off our improbable win.
They were seemingly up for the challenge. That game was sloppy, the Cats made a lot of mental errors and turned the ball over frequently. If you caught the game then you got to see the four dozen or so close ups of Lute in disgust during the course of the game. Thanks Lute, this is your train wreck.
That being said, there were a number of notable moments that made this game entertaining and almost made me optimistic for the remainder of the season.
Nic Wise had a career night. To be honest, I trust him more than anyone on the court with the ball (mainly because Hill needs someone to feed him). Last night he proved why he is a corner stone for the squad. With a career high 29 points and 8 assists he looked great, but more importantly was his free throw shooting. Wise went 14-14 from the line including 8 late in the game while the Huskies were beginning to narrow the lead.
Free throws may be the single biggest thing you could take away from this game. Arizona made 41 of their 51 free throws. It is one thing to get to the line it is another to actually capitalize and going 80.4% isn’t too shabby. Especially when considering that Washington had nothing to write home about, converting 13 of 20 (65.0%) from the line.
As exciting as free throw stats are, the fire that I questioned seemed to be there. Especially in the waning minutes of the game when Washington’s Neanderthal Brockman (6’7 255) went up for a block attempt on Horne, subsequently throwing him to the ground and earning himself a flagrant foul. There was a little bit of talk between teams, and Budinger once again stepped up and got in the midst of the Washington huddle. It is nice to see these guys protecting their teammates, since there seems to be a reoccurring theme of technicals and hard fouls heading Arizona’s way.
Needless to say it was a big win for the Cat’s and they will be looking to come up big again against a Washington State on Saturday. The Cougars are coming off an upset of Arizona State and sorry to say we are hoping to repay them with a loss of their own