Arizona Wildcats Battle Cal Bears in Thriller, Claim First Place in Pac-10

Rick PowellContributor IJanuary 31, 2010

The Arizona Wildcats and California Golden Bears treated the Tucson crowd to an absolute gem of a shootout Sunday afternoon at McKale Center.

The young Wildcat squad battled a grizzled crew of veterans from Cal in a game that saw sixteen ties and seventeen lead changes. In the end, the ‘Cats found themselves on top, winning 76-72 and claiming first place in the Pac-10 conference.

Nic Wise led his Wildcat squad to victory, tying a career high of 30 points in the process. Theo Robertson accomplished his career high for the Golden Bears and had a chance to tie with 14 seconds remaining in the second half. Robertson had a good look at the lane, but dribbled the ball off his foot out of bounds, allowing Nic Wise to seal the game at the free throw line.

Derrick Williams had a double-double for the ‘Cats, putting up 15 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Williams’ production was somewhat limited by Max Zhang, a 7’3” center, but Williams commanded the extra attention in the post, freeing up Kyle Fogg and Kevin Parrom for several clutch three-pointers down the stretch.

The biggest story of this Sunday afternoon thriller is the fact that the callow Arizona Wildcat team, featuring seven freshman and six sophomores now find themselves leading the way in the Pac-10.

With six more home games at their disposable this season the ‘Cats find themselves in an excellent position to make some noise in college basketball before the start of the Pac-10 tournament.

Many people believe that the NCAA will only take one or two teams from a depleted Pac-10 conference this year and the Wildcats are quietly building their resume, adding this exciting victory and look to claim one of those spots and continue their streak of 25 straight NCAA Tournament appearances.