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Wojo shuts down 'Cats' Bibby in Maui title game

LAHAINA, Maui - One of the biggest attractions of Wednesday's finals of the Maui Invitational was the fascinating matchup at point guard.

Arizona's Mike Bibby made headlines last year as a freshman in guiding the Wildcats to an NCAA title and had continued to shine through this season's first three games. Opposite him was Duke's Steve Wojciechowski, Sports Illustrated's cover boy and the Blue Devils emotional leader.

In a game in which Duke dominated on the scoreboard almost as much as it did in intensity, nowhere was that represented more than in Wojciechowski's mastery of Bibby.

Bibby entered the game as the tournament's leading scorer and had played a near-perfect game the night before in Arizona's romp over No. 7 Kentucky, committing no turnovers on the night.

Wojciechowski turned the tables on the sophomore Wednesday as he held Bibby to eight points on 2-of-10 shooting and forced him into three turnovers.

"Mike's a really good player, and tonight Wojo took him out of his game," Arizona coach Lute Olson said.

On the flip side, Wojciechowski confidently commanded the Blue Devil offense en route to collecting the tournament's MVP award as he scored 13 points and collected a team-high five assists. It was a near-perfect night for Wojciechowski, short of an uncharacteristically poor night from the free throw line (4-for-9).

"Wojciechowski, if he could hit a free throw would have done all right," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said with a laugh. "He did all right in other ways. He blamed the misses on exhaustion, but Polish people don't miss free throws, so there must be some other nationality in his blood."

Wojciechowski did get some help stopping Bibby in the form of foul trouble. The Wildcat point guard picked up his second foul early in the second quarter in what would be a scoreless first half for Bibby. He picked up his third foul 26 seconds into the second half and went to the bench with his fourth with 3 minutes remaining the third quarter. Bibby finally fouled out with just over a minute remaining in the game having still played 27 minutes but having been limited by foul trouble most of the way.

"The foul trouble threw him off a little bit, but I thought what threw him off more than anything was the great defense that Wojo played on him," Olson said. "He didn't get a good look at the bucket. Whenever he drove, he was challenged, and they did a good job of helping when he did get by."

Wojciechowski also benefited from some solid help from his teammates. The senior played 38 minutes on the night and if he had spent the whole time having to hound Bibby alone, he may never have survived. Instead, Wojciechowski was able to count on the other four Blue Devils on the floor for help-side defense and he occasionally got a breather as Trajan Langdon or another teammate guarded Bibby for a trip down the floor.

"Any time I wasn't on him, my teammates picked him up and made sure he didn't get anything," Wojciechowski said. "It was a great team effort.... He's one of the top point guards in the country, and I was looking forward to facing him. Knowing that he can shoot the ball, the main thing was making sure he didn't get anything easy or any open looks."

On a night that many speculated would belong to Arizona and it's highly-touted backcourt, Wojciechowski stole the show.


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