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Wildcats Fall To Defending National Champion

CHICAGO (AP) - Khalid El-Amin and Albert Mouring, the elder of the game's starting backcourts, led No. 6 Connecticut to a 78-69 victory over No. 2 Arizona on Tuesday night in the Great Eight.

Gilbert Arenas, one of the Wildcats' freshman guards, had 18 points, while Loren Woods added 16 and Michael Wright had 14. Wright had 10 rebounds and Woods had nine in the lose. The juniors, two years older than Arizona's starting tandem of freshman guards, didn't have very impressive shooting games but came up big enough to lead U Conn to the Win.

El-Amin finished with 23 points on 9-of-24 shooting, but was 4-for-8 from 3-point range, mostly against Arizona's 2-3 zone and helped keep the Huskies in front for the game's final 30 minutes.

"We needed a loss to show where we're really at," Arenas said.

Arizona coach Lute Olson said Gardner may have taken the matchup with El-Amin too personally.

"I think a couple of times Jason took it as a personal challenge after Khalid hit a shot, and you can't do that. You can't lose sight of the team objective," Olson said. "He looked forward to playing Khalid and it helped him."

Mouring, who has struggled this season as he tries to replace Big East player of the year Richard Hamilton as the shooting guard, finished with nine points, but five came at the start of an 11-0 run that gave the Huskies a 73-61 lead with 1:11 to play.

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