justin adler, blog, buenos aires, bahia blanca, university of arizona, brooklyn, basketball, travel, paul mcpherson

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Arizona vs. Illinois 12/2/06

P-H-Onyx - Arizona versus Illinois for the first time since the most infamous day in UA history, which need not be talked about any further. The game was the back-half of a double header of Gonzaga vs. Texas and Illinois vs. Arizona. After Texas got worked in a game that was never really close, it was time for the main event. U.S. Airways center appeared to be almost 50/50 Wildcats fans against Illini fans, which is a testament to the amount of people from the Midwest living in Phoenix. Then I looked to the upper deck, which was a sea of Wildcat red, a testament to poor college kids who couldn't afford the high-dollar tickets. It's unfortunate that UA does not offer Seat Sneaking 101, because if it did I would get an A+, especially after my seat changing performance of the game, which upgraded my friend and I to five rows off the court, from our abysmal upper deck row 14 tickets. Everyone was amped for the game, especially the young, drunk Wildcat Alumni behind me who had the best exchange of the night.
UA alum to Illini fan: "Hey, what's you guys' record?"
Illini fan: "7-1"
UA alum: "Really? because I heard you guys were pretty terrible."
It would help the comedic value of the conversation if I could transcribe drunken slur better.
  • The Wildcats come out for warm-ups and are greeted with chants of "U of A," David Bagga comes out and looks the most fired up out of everybody, then again maybe he just knows this is going to be the only time he touches the court.
  • Marcus Williams warms up sans the iPod.
  • Fendi Onobon pulling the braids out and rocking the half-fro. Gangsta. Knowing Fendi will be lucky if he touches the court during the game. Not so gangsta.
  • The Illini come out wearing orange velour! warm-ups. This would have been fashionably gangsta circa 2001, now it just looks retarded.
  • Yes, I realized I just used "gangsta" three times in a few sentences, which was about as necessary as Mustafa Shakur's three behind-the-back passes throughout the game.
  • The Cats begin the game looking horrible, like final four minutes of an Elite-8 game in which you're up 15 horrible. They allow Illinois to get inside effortlessly.
  • Illinois' Warren Carter is working the Cats pretty hard inside making Radenovic seem invisible.
  • Carter also bears a resemblence to Mr. Eko from Lost, not that I'm going through Lost withdrawals or anything.
  • 11: 24 the Cats are down 11-25 after a horrible start, Chase Budinger who normally has a healthy 8 and 4 by now has been on the bench for the better part of the begining of the game after being replaced by Daniel Dillon at he 17-minute mark.
  • Despite being down 14 to the damn Illini on our own home turf (more of less), I am still in a good mood only because Phoenix Suns cheerleaders come out to Justin Timberlake medley.
  • It wasn't until the final five minutes of the first half that UA came alive and brought what was a 16 point deficit to a more respectable 36-41 halftime score.
  • 17:00 Shakur breaks the press by himself going coast-to-coast and getting fouled on a lay-up attempt. He would go 1-2 from the line.
  • It makes me happy that while the entire campus is studying hard for finals, Marcus Williams will be in the McKale Center shooting free throws. The life of an NBA-bound sophomore must be great.
  • 16:07 Juwann McClellen gets two strong offensive boards and follows the second with a putback, which he's fouled on. He celebrates with an Antione Walker-esque shimmy, which was the play of the game. Between the full-time hustle, the shimmy, the full-out, crazy spasm against New Mexico State, and the rumor that he gave his McDonalds All-American jersey to Paul Wall, Juwann is becoming my favorite player on the team.
  • 14:40 Bret Brielmaier checks in for Marcus Williams after a Williams series that went: 0-2 from the free-throw line, turnover, foul.
  • 12:51 the Cats get their first lead off a Shakur and-1.
  • 12:17 Time-out Illinois after Shakur burns his defender multiple times for a couple of quick drives to the lane for lay-ups.
  • The Wildcats seem to have things going there way as they're playing high-tempo basketball and honoring the suns by getting shots off in seven seconds or less.
  • 6:50 Illinois keeps it close with some outside 3's, Juwann McClellen fires back hitting a 3 of his own , then talking shit to his defender the whole way down the court. Arizona is still leading 64-61.
  • 4:55 Radenovic finds Williams under the basket with a quick pass. Williams misses the first gimme, then gets his own board, and misses again but this time he's fouled. Williams then promptly goes into a fit of insanity, before connecting on both from the line, 69-66, cats.
  • 3:34 Mr. Eko has a nasty two-handed dunk from the lower block.
  • 3:20 Williams strokes a three from the top of the key to make 74-70.
  • 1:11 Budinger hits a lay-up while being intentionally fouled, he receives chest bumps from Shakur and McClellen, while Onobon and Bagga go crazy from the bench. He then hits both his free throws and puts the Wildcats up eight 80-72.
  • The Illini keep it interesting, but the Wildcats win 84-72.
  • Arizona only used a seven man rotation, using only Brielmaier and Dillon off the bench, everyone else gets a nice DNP next to their name in the box score.
  • The biggest disappointment of the game by far was not UA coming out flat and being down 16 at one point, but the fact that Wilbur nor Wilma never interacted with the Phoenix Suns Gorilla.
  • I couldn't quite read it but somebody across the arena had a Chase Budinger sign with the logo from Chase banks. I'm not really sure where that sign was going, but I have a good feeling it was "Money in the bank." In which case it may be the lamest sign in basketball history.
Nic Wise Moment of the Game: Nic Wise is the most humble and giving man ever. Nic Wise saw Shakur struggling throughout the first 10 minutes of the game, knew that if Shakur kept playing this way it would hurt the Wildcats in the game and have possible repurcussions on the rest of Shakur's basketball career. Wise was able to recognize all of this in only his freshman year and make the executive decision to give Shakur his own headband (Nic Wise super powers included). If you don't believe me check the numbers.
Shakur before the headband: 1 point, 1 assist, 1 turnover
Shakur with Wise's headband: 15 points, 7 assists, 4 boards, 2 turnovers

Take away those 14 points from the headband and the we lose by 2. Nic Wise single-handedly won the game without leaving the bench. Skills.

Sneaker Watch: Marcus Williams, Mustafa Shakur, Jordan Hill Zoom Lebron IV...Juwann McClellen black/white Zoom Kobe 1...Every player on Illinois Nike Air Zoom Huarache Elite TB

G'd Up Fans: Yellow replica Salim Stoudamire Hawks jersey with fitted to match...Authentic Wilbur 01 jersey...3 dudes all with UA belt buckles (lame, but nice effort)...Replica Steve Kerr UA jersey...Two dudes wearing authentic Andre Iguodala jerseys (one white, one blue)...The most G'd up fan by a landslide: the dude rocking the signed authentic Fendi Onobon jersey