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Greatest Games: Chase Budinger

September 21st, 2013 News No Comments

Martin Hayvush

Our Greatest Games series is a look back at some of the most memorable single game performances by some of the best players in Arizona basketball history. Make sure to check PGU for the next installment.

Chase Budinger was one of Lute Olson’s highest rated recruits, Olson even once called the 6’7 forward from Encinitas, CA the best high school player he’d recruited. The program was in a transitional phase for most of his time at Arizona, but Budinger made his name as one of the most impactful freshmen in school history and averaged 17 points per game over three years before moving on to the NBA.

November 15, 2006, Arizona 101, NAU 79
32 points, 7 rebounds, 11-15 FG, 5-6 3PM

After scoring a more than respectable 17 points in his freshman debut, Budinger showed what he really could do with a 32 point explosion in just his second career game. Budinger scored 23 first half points on 9-12 shooting, and also made his first six shots of the game.

Prior to the game, Olson inspired Budinger with some lofty praise.

“I talked to Chase in the locker room before the game,” Olson said. “I said, ‘You’re our Sean Elliott. You can’t worry about whether you’re outscoring the sophomores, juniors or seniors. You have to be a key guy for us.”

“They’re so similar in that they can both score but they’re great passers,” Olson added. “They have great body control.”

Budinger also had 7 rebounds, and was 5-6 from both the free throw and three point line.

February 10, 2007, Arizona 77, Oregon 74
30 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 12-21 FG, 4-8 3PM

Budinger seemed to have a knack for going off against Oregon, and he exposed the Ducks defense numerous times throughout his career. Maybe the best Duck-hunt came in a 77-74 win at #13 ranked Oregon, behind 30 points and 10 rebounds from Budinger.

Budinger had 13 in the first half, and managed to keep the game close almost single-handedly. At one point Budinger scored 8 straight Arizona points to bring the Cats to a 23-21 lead.

After trailing by 10 points at halftime, Arizona rallied in the second half and took the game on a late jumper by Ivan Radenovic and two Budinger free throws. He converted 12 of 21 shots and 4 of 8 three point attempts.

November 25, 2008, Arizona 69, Santa Clara 66
22 points, 5 rebounds, 10-15 FG

Played in Athens, Georgia as part of the NIT Season Tip-Off, Arizona narrowly won a game against a surprisingly talented Santa Clara team in interim head coach Russ Pennell’s first few games at the helm.

Arizona jumped out to a 12-0 lead, but made mistakes all game long and actually trailed for the entire second half up to the 2:09 mark.

Budinger was one of the few bright spots in the game, hitting 10 of 15 of his shots and leading the team with 22 points.

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