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Arizona Wins Debut Without Coach Olson

Lute Olson has only missed eight games in his 25-year career as coach of Arizona.

The Wildcats missed his presence on the bench in their 76-69 season-opening win over Northern Arizona on Tuesday night.

Olson has been on a personal leave of absence since Nov. 4 and was replaced by assistant Kevin O'Neill in the Wildcats' season opener.

``It is hard not having coach (Olson) on the bench, but we have been preparing normally without him,'' Arizona's Jawann McClellan said. ``Coach can't teach toughness. He can't give you toughness and give you heart. We have to go out there and do that ourselves. I don't care who is coaching the team. We need to play that way.''

Olson missed six games after the death of his wife Bobbi during the 2000-2001 season. He also missed one against LaSalle due to a back injury in 1994. Arizona improved to 5-3 without him.

In other games involving ranked teams on Tuesday, it was: No. 2 UCLA 76, Cal State-San Bernardino 41; No. 9 Washington State 86, Boise State 74; No. 12 Michigan State 86, Chicago State 53; No. 14 Gonzaga 80, Idaho 43; and No. 15 Texas A&M 67, Oral Roberts 53.

With O'Neill in charge, Arizona started two freshmen and a pair of sophomores, who struggled to put Northern Arizona away until the final seconds.

Although the victory wasn't pretty, O'Neill wasn't complaining.

``I am from the school where a win is a win,'' he said. ``It beats the alternative. (But) they physically dominated our inside players in the second half.''

Chase Budinger scored 25 points and freshman guard Jerryd Bayless added 18 for the Wildcats (1-0). McClellan, the lone senior in the starting lineup, scored 15, including a pair of free throws to seal the victory with 11 seconds left.

Nate Geiser and Kyle Landy each scored 17 points for Northern Arizona (1-1).

The Wildcats took a 74-69 lead on a pair of free throws by Budinger with 44 seconds left after two free throws by NAU's Ryan McCurdy. The Lumberjacks, who trailed most of the game, closed the gap with a 13-0 run late in the second half, pulling to 66-63 with 5 minutes remaining following Zach Filzen's three-point play.

Arizona went through a stretch where it made just 4 of 22 field-goal attempts in the second half to allow the Lumberjacks to close the gap.

Arizona had led by 16 after two free throws by Budinger Nic Wise's 3-pointer before Geiser hit back-to-back 3s with 7:13 remaining to keep the Lumberjacks within striking distance

The Wildcats had limited NAU with only one field goal for over 8 minutes in the first half to take a 41-30 edge into halftime. But Arizona couldn't pull away because the Lumberjacks shot 50 percent from the field after intermission.

``We battled back,'' Geiser said. ``I think they kind of rested a little bit in the second half. They got caught on their heels. Before you knew it we were back in the ball game and they had to wake up and play some basketball. They prevailed and hit some shots.''

No. 2 UCLA 76, Cal State-San Bernardino 41

At Los Angeles, Kevin Love scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half, just missing a double-double, UCLA rolled past Division II Cal State-San Bernardino in the second round of the CBE Classic.

As winners of the Los Angeles regional, the Bruins (3-0) advanced to play Maryland (2-0) in the semifinals Nov. 19 in Kansas City.

Love had had nine rebounds for the second straight game after notching a double-double last week in his college debut. Josh Shipp added 16 points, including four of UCLA's nine 3-pointers. Russell Westbrook had 14 points in his third start for point guard Darren Collison, who has a sprained left knee.

No. 9 Washington State 86, Boise State 74

At Boise, Idaho, Derrick Low scored 26 points and Kyle Weaver had 19.

The two combined to shoot 10-of-12 in the first 8 1/2 minutes of the second half, when Washington State (2-0) quickly erased a six-point halftime deficit. The Cougars outscored the Broncos 33-10 during that stretch and coasted the rest of the way.

Washington State also got 18 points from Daven Harmeling, who scored the Cougars' final eight points in the first half that helped cut a 12-point Boise State (1-1) lead in half before the break.

No. 12 Michigan State 86, Chicago State 53

At East Lansing, Mich., Raymar Morgan had a career-high 25 points and 15 rebounds in a first-round game of the CBE Classic. All-American Drew Neitzel added 12 points for Michigan State.

David Holston scored 18 points and had four 3-pointers for Chicago State, which led 18-17 before the Spartans took control with a 28-8 surge to finish the half.

No. 14 Gonzaga 80, Idaho 43

At Spokane, Wash., Freshman Austin Daye scored 18 points, Jeremy Pargo added 14 points and Matt Bouldin 12 to help No. 14 Gonzaga (2-0) overcome 18 turnovers in a sloppy game.

Idaho (1-1) used defensive pressure to stay close in the first half, but they shot just 30 percent and had 10 shots blocked. They also committed 29 fouls, and the score would have been worse if Gonzaga had not made just 22 of 36 free throws.

The Vandals were just 4-for-18 from the foul line, and were held to just one basket during a 12-minute stretch of the second half that decided the game.

No. 15 Texas A&M 67, Oral Roberts 53

At College Station, Texas, Josh Carter scored 15 points and Chinemelu Elonu keyed a second-half spurt in a preseason NIT game.

The Aggies (2-0) came out sloppy in the second half and when they committed their fourth turnover before the 16-minute mark. Texas A&M's 20-point halftime lead was cut to nine before the Aggies scored eight straight points to hold off the Golden Eagles.

Adam Liberty scored 13 points and Robert Jarvis added 12 for Oral Roberts (1-1).
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