Wildcat basketball

A slow start in the first half had the Arizona Wildcats' basketball team facing a double-digit deficit against Gonzaga on Satruday.

Elias Harris scored 12 of Gonzaga's first 19 points, and the Bulldogs were rolling past the Wildcats.

In the second half, the Wildcats attempted a comeback, even pulling to within six, but couldn't overcome the first-half struggles.

Kyle Fogg led Arizona (9-5) with 14 points.

Arizona has lost to Gonzaga for the fourth time in seven years.

The Wildcats bounced back Tuesday night, defeating Oakland 85-73, with Solomon Hill leading the charge with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

The Wildcats will host Bryant University Thursday night in Tucson. Tip off is 5 p.m.

Wildcat football

Offensive lineman Fabbians Ebbele, who started all 12 games at right tackle for Arizona this past season, was named a Freshman All-American by Sporting News last week.

A native of Chicago, Ill., Ebbele is one of eight Pac-12 players recognized on the 26-man team. Ebbele was joined by fellow Pac-12 linemen Hroniss Grasu (Oregon) and Marcus Martin (USC) as three of the five offensive linemen on the list. The eight Pac-12 players led all conferences.

Ebbele turned in a stellar first season for the Wildcats, who entered the season with one of the youngest offensive lines in college football. The unit helped produce the most prolific passing attack in school history as senior Nick Foles shattered nearly all single season and career passing marks. The offensive line yielded just 23 sacks on 577 passing plays, while the offense scored the second-most points, 369, in the last 13 seasons.

Ebbele and classmate Mickey Baucus bookended the line as starters at the tackle spots in all 12 contests. Junior center Kyle Quinn, who was the only lineman with a start in his career entering the season, started all 12 games.

The Wildcats mixed and matched at guard, often battling injuries in the first half of the year. Juniors Trace Biskin and Shane Zink started 10 and three games, respectively, while sophomore Chris Putton earned a start in nine contests. Redshirt freshman Carter Lees started two games.

In 2012, Arizona will return its entire two-deep on the offensive line, which includes 71 career starts, and its offensive line coach, Robert Anae, who was re-hired by Rich Rodriguez earlier this month.

UA in the news:

Scraps from sweet sorghum harvested for biofuel production is enriching the diets of elephants, monkeys, parrots and other animals in Tucson' Reid Park Zoo.

Researchers from the UA's department of agricultural and biosystems engineering, who are growing sweet sorghum for the production of environmentally friendly biofuel, have found a new way of disposing of the leftovers without throwing them away.

After harvesting, the plant's 10-foot stalks are ground up to extract its sugary juice and process it into ethanol, which can be used as biofuel. The crushed stalks, along with any unused parts such as leaves and the seed-containing heads, end up in a waste pile.

"A while ago, the keepers at Reid Park Zoo approached us about corn stalks to feed to their animals," said Carl Schmalzel, a senior research specialist in the department of plant sciences in the UA's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, who grows and helps harvest all sorts of crops used in the department's various research projects.

"That made me think of the sweet sorghum stalks, because they're more palatable than the corn stalks. So I asked them if they were interested in those, too."

Since he already had a trailer loaded up with several hundred pounds of sweet sorghum material, Schmalzel took it to the zoo.

"We were delighted," said Leslie Waters, area supervisor at Reid Park Zoo. "Not only was it already cut up and loaded, but Carl was kind enough to deliver it, too. We don't have the resources to always be able to take advantage of outside opportunities such as a downed tree, so this made us very happy."

Also called the sugarcane of the desert or sorgo, sweet sorghum is a tall grass especially adapted to the desert climate and environment. It grows fast and yields up to twice as much ethanol as corn - up to 500-600 gallons per acre, UA researchers estimate.

"Since we're growing the sorghum for research purposes, we have several plots with different varieties and different levels of maturity," Schmalzel explained. "Before we grind up the stalks in the mill, we strip the leaves and cut the heads off."

"Once we determined the sorghum was free of pesticides and safe to feed to our animals, we decided to try it," Waters said. "The elephants love it, but we also feed it to our monkeys and the parrots."

Because the plants are harvested a good month past flowering, their heads are loaded with seeds.

"Those are a big hit with the birds in our aviary," Waters said.

Waters pointed out that because the zoo animals have to follow a certain diet catering to their individual needs, the sorghum doesn't replace their regular feed.

"It's more of a treat for them," she said. "We look at it as something extra to munch on. It enriches their daily routine."

For example, Shaba and Connie, the two elephants, get about an armful each three times a week. The last load that Schmalzel dropped off about three weeks ago was the second and is expected to last the zoo a few more weeks.

"We are really appreciative of this effort," Waters said. "This way, our animals get treated to something different, and we are making good use of something that otherwise would just be thrown out. We know we can trust the UA, and the fact that they were kind enough to even deliver the sorghum to us is a great present for the animals."

And while Shaba and Connie are munching away, Schmalzel has already started loading the trailer again.

(Editor's Note: Story provided by Daniel Stolte, University Communications)



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