Game 26: No. 8 Arizona (18-7, 10-3) at Arizona State (11-13, 3-10)
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2001
Time: 8:30 p.m. MST
Location: Ned Wulk Court at Wells Fargo Arena (14,198), Tempe, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSN (Barry Tompkins/Dan Belluomini)
Game Data: No. 8 Arizona (18-7, 10-3 Pac-10) ends a three-game road swing at intrastate rival Arizona State (11-13, 3-10 Pac-10) ... Three of Arizonas last five games are on the road ... The Wildcats are 3-3 in true road games this season, 3-2 in league play ... In conference play, Arizona leads the Pac-10 in scoring defense (64.9), field goal percentage defense (.381), assists (17.15) and steals (7.92) ... Over the last 10 games, UA has a +18.9 scoring margin ... Saturdays 105-61 win at USC was the teams first 100-point road game since Jan. 10, 1998, at Washington (110-91).
The Rankings: UA remained No. 8 in both the current Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. Arizona opened the year as the nations top-ranked team in the media and coaches polls. Incidentally, UA has been ranked in the AP top 25 for 106 consecutive weeks, the longest active streak in the nation. The Cats have been ranked in 233 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 18th season at Arizona and his 28th overall as a head coach with a career record of 629-224 (.737) and 437-132 (.768)... He recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona last year and has the fourth most Pac-10 wins (245) in history, trailing UCLAs John Wooden (304, 1949-75), Oregon States Slats Gill (276, 1929-64) and Washingtons Hec Edmundson (266, 1921-47)... He has the second-best conference winning percentage in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74) ... During his 18-year tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have won one national championship (1997), gone to three Final Fours (1988, 1994, 1997), won nine Pac-10 Conference titles and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 16 years in a row, which is the second-longest streak in NCAA history (North Carolina, 26)... He also led Iowa to the 1980 Final Four... Olson has been named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year six times (1986, 88, 89, 93, 94, 98), the Big 10 Coach of the Year twice (1979 & 81) and directed the UA program to the nations best winning percentage over the past 13 years... In his collegiate career, he has produced 35 NBA Draft picks, including 20 at Arizona 15 alone on the 1990s... He has led Arizona to 13 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 22 overall in his career, making him one of only six head coaches in NCAA history to record 22 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 269-26 (.912) in McKale Center and have won 197 of its last 208 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention, Jay John and undergraduate assistant Josh Pastner. Olson is 31-5 vs. Arizona State.
Last Time Out: Arizona blitzed No. 23 USC 105-61 to post its third 100-point game of the season and hand the Trojans its worst home loss in school history. UA shot 53.6 percent from the floor, including a blistering 14-of-19 (73.7) from three-point range. Gilbert Arenas led all scorers with 27 points and hit 8-of-9 FGs, including all five three-point attempts, while Michael Wright chipped in with 23. UA led by 23 at the half and scored a season-high 59 points in the second half to post the 44-point winning margin.
Scouting Arizona State: The Sun Devils return home with an 11-13 record (3-10 Pac-10) after Saturdays 73-68 loss at UCLA. ASU has lost three of its last four games, but does carry an 8-6 record at home. Arizona State averages 73.9 points per game, posts a +7.1 rebound margin and limits opponents to 41.5 percent shooting. Individually, Alton Mason leads the team with a 13.0 ppg average, 15.2 in league play, while Awvee Storey leads the Pac-10 with a 9.5 rebound average.
The Series: Tonights game is the 198th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 125-72 series advantage. Arizona has won the last 11 meetings and 14 of 17 dating back to 1993, including an 86-75 win in Tucson on Jan. 24. Arizona is 71-25 in series games played in Tucson, 54-47 in Tempe and 0-0 in neutral-site games.
Last Meeting: The guard combination of Gilbert Arenas and Jason Gardner poured in 45 of the Arizonas 86 points in leading the Wildcats to a hard-fought 86-75 win in Tucson on Jan. 24. Arenas finished with a game-high 23 points, while Gardner hit 6-of-8 shots, all from three-point range, to finish with 22. Arizona turned 31 ASU fouls into 44 free throws and held a 32-9 advantage from the line. Loren Woods also finished in double figures (10 points) for the Cats and added eight boards and four assists.
Nice Weekend: Arenas earned Pac-10 Player-of-the-Week honors after averaging 28.5 points and shot 63.0 percent (17-of-27) from the field in two games last week. He opened the week with a career-high 30 points vs. UCLA on 9-of-18 shooting, including 4-of-7 from three-point range. He scored 25 of his 30 points in the second half as UA erased a 13-point second-half deficit. He added four rebounds, two assists, and equaled a season high with three steals. Arenas followed that up with an efficient 27-point effort on Saturday at USC. He connected on 8-of-9 shots from the floor, including 5-of-5 from behind the arc and 6-of-6 from the line. He also added five assists. His 57-point weekend was the highest for a UA player in Pac-10 play since Jan. 7-9, 1999, when Jason Terry totaled 57 against Washington State and Washington.
The Century Mark: Arizona blitzed USC on Saturday, 105-61, marking its third 100-point game of the season. The 44-point win equaled the largest winning margin in the 75-game series (UA, 92-48, 1988) and was USCs worst home loss ever. It was Arizonas fourth win this year by more than 30 points.
On Target: In shooting 53.6 percent from the field in Saturdays win, Arizona shot a blistering 14-of-19 (73.7) from three-point range. At one point the Cats were 14-of-16 (87.5) from behind the arc before the UA reserves missed the last three attempts. The 14 treys and 73.7 percentage are both Pac-10 highs this season. The trey total was also one shy of a school record.
Warming Up: After shooting a season-low 24.1 percent in the first half at UCLA on Thursday, the UA shooting warmed up in southern California. Over the last three halves of basketball, Arizona shot a combined 53-of-105 (50.5) from the field, including 17-of-27 (63.0) from three-point range. At one point of the second half at USC, the Wildcats hit 14-of-15 FGs, including nine three-pointers.
From the Line: It was also a good shooting weekend from the line, as Arizona combined to hit 44-of-53 (83.0) free throws. UA hit 17-of-20 charity attempts on Saturday at USC, including 12-of-12 in the second half.
On the Boards: Arizona outrebounded USC, 48-31, on Saturday to mark the fifth time the squad has outrebounded an opponent by 15 or more this season. On the year, Arizona has a +5.9 rebound margin and has outrebounded 17 of 25 opponents.
Making the Extra Pass: Ball movement and a willingness to make the extra pass have benefitted UA lately, as the team has 103 assists in the last five games. The Cats have tallied at least 20 assists in four of the last five games, including 23 on Saturday. Incidentally, UAs +8 assist:turnover margin Saturday was the second highest total of the season.
Clamping Down: Once again, it was a solid defensive effort that helped UA to a victory. Arizona held USC to 29.9 percent shooting (20-of-67). The Wildcats also limited USC to 17.6 percent shooting in the first half, including just six field goals. The 17.6 percent shooting was a UA opponent low this season. Its the fourth time that Arizona has held an opponent to less than 30 percent shooting this year.
Five Alive: Just how good was the Arizona shooting on Saturday? The five starters combined to hit 28-of-44 (63.6) FG attempts and 14-of-16 (87.5) three-point attempts.
Topping 30: Gilbert Arenas career-high 30 points on Thursday made him the first UA player to score 30 in a game since Jason Terry poured in 32 vs. Oregon on Feb. 20, 1999. He was the third Pac-10 player to post a 30-point game in league play this year.
Getting Defensive: Credit Michael Wright with a good defensive effort on Saturday, as he held USCs Sam Clancy to just three points and two boards. Clancy entered the game as the Pac-10s third-leading scorer (18.2 ppg) and its seventh-leading rebounder (7.0 rpg).
Assisting the Cause: Luke Walton set a season high with seven assists in Saturdays win. Combined with just one turnover, Walton raised his assist:turnover ratio to 2.00 on the season, a figure that ranks fourth in the Pac-10.
Rebounding: After going 0-for-8 in Thursdays loss at UCLA, Jason Gardner bounced back with a strong shooting day on Saturday. He hit 6-of-8 field goals at USC, including 6-of-7 from three-point range. He finished with 18 points.
Mr. Perfect: In going 5-of-5 from three-point range on Saturday, Gilbert Arenas is the only player in the Pac-10 this season to have attempted at least five treys in a game and made them all. He has actually accomplished the feat on two occasions.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of Wildcat success than the 80-point mark. This season, Arizona is 12-0 when scoring 80 points and 6-7 when it does not. Over the last three seasons, UA is 40-3 (.930) when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona has scored at least 80 points in eight of its last 12 games.
Continuing his Climb: Michael Wright currently stands in 16th place on UA's career scoring list with 1,343 points. Just ahead of Wright in 15th place is Ernie McCray (1958-60) with 1,349 points.
All-Around Game: In addition to his game-high 27 points Saturday, Gilbert Arenas collected five assists (one turnover) at USC. Over his last three games, Arenas is averaging 22.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
Not All Bad: Maybe those 11a.m. tip-offs arent so bad after all. In its last three 11 a.m. tips, Arizona has averaged 91.0 points, limited the opposition to an average of 58.7 points and won by a 32.3 margin.
Olson Honors: UA head coach Lute Olson will be given the John R. Wooden Award Legends of Coaching award. The award was adopted by the Wooden Award Committee in 1999, and recognizes the lifetime achievement of coaches who exemplify Coach Woodens high standards of coaching success and personal achievement. Olson will be honored at the 25th annual John R. Wooden Awards program.
Farewell, Bobbi: A special memorial fund has been established in Bobbi Olson's name at the Arizona Cancer Center, where she had undergone treatment since her illness was diagnosed in June 1998. Contributions can be made payable to the Arizona Cancer Center/UAF and mailed to Arizona Cancer Center Development, P.O. Box 245013, Tucson, AZ 85724-5013.
Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed five players to National Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period: Wil Bynum (5-10, 170, G, Chicago, Ill./Crane Tech Prep), Channing Frye (6-10, 230, C, Phoenix, Ariz./St. Marys H.S.), Isaiah Fox (6-9, 255, C, Santa Monica, Calif./Crossroads H.S.), Dennis Latimore (6-8, 230, F, Halsted, Kan./Halsted H.S.) and Salim Stoudamire (6-2, 175, G, Lake Oswego, Ore./Lake Oswego H.S.). It was ranked as the ninth-best recruiting class in the nation by Clark Francis Hoop Scoop magazine.
TV/Radio Information: The Lute Olson television show airs every Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. on KTTU-TV, channel 18. Additionally, the Lute Olson radio show is broadcast live every Tuesday on Newsradio 790 KNST at 6 p.m. All Arizona basketball games are broadcast live on the Wildcat Radio Network, which consists of 13 affiliates in Arizona, Nevada and Mexico. KNST Newsradio 790 in Tucson serves as the flagship, while network participants include: KOY (Phoenix), KTAN (Sierra Vista), KVNA (Flagstaff), KDAP (Douglas), KWRQ (Safford), KZUA (Holbrook/Show Low), KJAA (Globe), KNOT (Prescott), KBLU (Yuma), KINO (Winslow), KRLV (Las Vegas, Nev.) and XENY (Nogales, Sonora). All UA games are live on the internet at broadcast.com.
Up Next: The Wildcats return to McKale Center for its final two home games of the season. Arizona hosts Oregon State on Thursday, March 1, and Oregon on Saturday, March 3. Both games can be seen on Fox Sports Net Arizona.