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Men's Basketball Hosts Marathon Basketball in Final Exhibition Contest
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 11/16/2000
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Date: Friday, Nov. 17, 2000

Time: 7:30 p.m. MST

Location: Lute Olson Court at McKale Center (15,545), Tucson, Ariz.

Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls)

TV: FSNA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)

Game Data: The top-ranked Arizona Wildcats cap the exhibition portion of the schedule tonight against Marathon, a collection of former college players ... Expect some solid competition from the Marathon squad, as four of its last six games have been decided by 10 points or less ... On the other hand, Arizona has won its last seven exhibition games by an average of 26.2 points (95.9-69.7), dating back to the 1997-98 campaign ... Following tonight's contest, the Wildcats depart bright and early for the Maui Invitational at 6:15 a.m.

The Rankings: UA carries the nation's No. 1 ranking into the contest, as the Cats are on top of the current Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today Preseason Top 25 Coaches' Poll, which was released Nov. 2. Arizona is also the top-ranked team in six other preseason basketball polls (Sports Illustrated, ESPN.com, Street & Smith's, Lindy's, CBS/Sportsline, Athlon Sports).

Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . begins his 18th season at Arizona and his 28th overall as a head coach with a career record of 614-219 (.737) and 422-127 (.769)... He recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona last year and has the fourth most Pac-10 wins in history, trailing UCLA's John Wooden (304, 1949-75), Oregon State's Slats Gill (276, 1929-64) and Washington's 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 17-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 nation's 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 259-26 (.909) in McKale Center and have won 187 of their last 198 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention, Jay John and undergraduate assistant Josh Pastner.

Last Time Out: Six Arizona players scored in double figures to lead the squad to a 104-66 win over EA Sports/California All-Stars on Nov. 5. After a sluggish start, a three-point field goal by Gilbert Arenas with 14:13 to go in the first half gave UA a lead it would not relinquish. The Cats shot 54.5 percent from the floor in the first half and led by 11 at the break. All told, UA outrebounded EA Sports, 51-41, forced 17 turnovers and held the team to just 27.0 percent shooting. Luke Walton led all scorers with 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor.

Scouting Marathon Basketball: On its current tour of the U.S., Marathon Basketball has lost six straight games against some quality opposition. Marathon dropped an 82-73 decision at Ohio State on Monday after losing games at Indiana State (79-59), Indiana (79-75), Connecticut (100-87), New Mexico State (100-93) and Pittsburgh (86-85). Individually, David Harrison has scored in double figures in each of those games and is averaging 21.5 ppg in that span.

Preseason Picks: The season's final two preseason basketball polls were released recently and both have the Wildcats on top. Arizona topped the Nov. 6 Associated Press preseason poll with 1,753 points and 37 first-place votes. UA remained in the top slot in the Nov. 13 edition as well. The Nov. 20 edition of Sports Illustrated also listed Arizona as the nation's preseason No. 1 team.

Call Them Favorites: In the league's annual poll of media members, the Arizona Wildcats were a unanimous choice to finish first in the 2000-01 men's basketball race (see poll at left). Arizona received all 29 first place votes and 290 points overall to finish ahead of runner-up Stanford. In the last 11 years, the preseason winner of the poll has won or shared the actual league title nine times. UA has been the preseason favorite six other times.

Double-Doubles: In research done by Stats, Inc., Arizona junior Michael Wright ranks in the top 10 nationally in career double-doubles among active college players. Wright's 25 double-doubles rank seventh. Here is the top 10: 1. Kennedy Okafor, UMBC, 33; 2. Troy Murphy, Notre Dame, 32; 3. Isaac Spencer, Murray State, 28; 3. Kaspars Kambala, UNLV, 28; 5. Ricardo Greer, Pittsburgh, 27; 5. Jeryl Sasser, SMU, 27; 7. Michael Wright, Arizona, 25; 8. Mike Kouser, Drexel, 23; 9. Darren Fenn, Canisus, 22; 9. George Evans, George Mason, 22.

Filling Up The Stat Sheet: In scoring a team-high 16 points vs. EA Sports, Luke Walton put up a pretty good stat line in just 21 minutes of action. The sophomore forward hit 7-of-8 shot from the floor, including both three-point attempts, went 4-for-4 from the line, grabbed a team-high eight rebounds, added three assists and a steal.

Good Off The Bench: A continued bright spot in the preseason has been the play of senior Lamont Frazier. He tallied six points, four assists and no turnovers in 15 minutes of action vs. EA Sports. In two preseason contests, Frazier has 11 assists and just one TO in 45 minutes.

Deadeye: The Wildcats hit 18-of-33 shots (.545) in the first half vs. EA Sports en route to posting a 53.4 FG percentage for the game. In games where UA shot 50 percent or better from the floor last year, the Cats were 9-1.

Clamping Down: On the other hand, UA limited EA Sports to just a 27.0 FG percentage of its own, including 19.5 percent (8-of-41) in the second half. Last season, UA held the opposition to less than 40 percent from the floor 17 times.

Nice Effort: Counting the Pepsi Red/Blue Game, sophomore Gilbert Arenas has been very good from very long range. Arenas has connected on 7-of-11 (.636) of his attempts from behind the arc in the preseason. He also added three assists, two steals and no turnovers vs. EA Sports.

Balanced Attack: In the 38-point win over EA Sports, the Arizona starters displayed the kind of balance coaches dream about. All five players finished in double figures and the quintet of Michael Wright, Richard Jefferson, Loren Woods, Gilbert Arenas and Jason Gardner combined to hit 20-of-41 shots from the field, four treys, 12-of-15 from the line, grab 20 rebounds and pass out 16 assists.

From the Line: One stat that might have been overlooked in the EA Sports win was Arizona's second-half effort from the free throw line. The Cats connected on 14-of-17 (.824) charity attempts in the second half. UA hit 11-of-its-last-12 attempts in the game.

On the Glass: Though he saw just four minutes of action against EA Sports, freshman forward Michael Schwertley certainly made up for lost time by collecting four boards in that span, including three offensive. In fact, he was the team's leading offensive rebounder in the game.

1999-2000 In Review: Arizona concluded the 1999-2000 basketball season with an overall record of 27-7 and was crowned co-champions of the Pacific-10 Conference after recording a 15-3 league mark. It was the program's ninth Pac-10 title and 13th consecutive season with 20 or more wins. The Wildcats made their 16th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament (second longest streak in NCAA history) where they were the No. 1 seed in the West Region before losing to eventual Final Four participant, Wisconsin, in the second round. Individually, three players were named to the All-Pac-10 Conference first team Michael Wright, Loren Woods and Jason Gardner, who was named the National Freshman of the Year by two outlets. Gilbert Arenas joined Gardner on the All-Pac-10 Freshman Team, and Woods was named the Pac-10's Newcomer of the Year.

Who's Returning in 2000-01: The Arizona roster is once again loaded this season... The only player lost from 1999-00 is Josh Pastner (and he's on the bench as an undergraduate assistant)... In all, Arizona returns 99.3% of its scoring from this past season players who accounted for 2,582 of the team's 2,599 points and 99.7% of the rebounding from this past year 891 of the 894 boards... The 2000-01 roster includes players who have combined to play in 582 games in their collegiate careers and start 265 times. Loren Woods, Michael Wright, Richard Jefferson, Gilbert Arenas and Jason Gardner lead a group of 10 letterwinners returning for the 2000-01 campaign. Each were named to the Wooden Award Preseason Watch list. The Cats added three incoming freshmen, Travis Hanour (6-6, 200,G, Laguna Beach, Calif.), Jason Ranne (6-4, 200, G, Tulsa, Okla.) and Andrew Zahn (6-8, 245, F, Redondo Beach, Calif.).

NBA Update: With the NBA season underway, here is a list of former Wildcats currently on active rosters in the National Basketball Association: Mike Bibby (Vancouver), Jud Buechler (Detroit), Michael Dickerson (Vancouver), Sean Elliott (San Antonio), Steve Kerr (San Antonio), Chris Mills (Golden State), Sean Rooks (Los Angeles Clippers), Damon Stoudamire (Portland) and Jason Terry (Atlanta).

Wildcats on TV in 2000-01: Once again, the University of Arizona men's basketball program will receive extensive television coverage, as 29 games are scheduled to be televised live in 2000-01. Twenty-nine of the Wildcats' 31 games are scheduled to be televised, including its preseason scrimmage and two exhibition tilts. The schedule features 14 national appearances with seven games offered nationally on Fox Sports Net, four games slated for CBS-TV, two on ESPN and one on ABC-TV. Fox Sports Net Arizona will also produce 16 games to be shown in the Arizona market, including three appearances on Tucson's KWBA-TV 58.

Up Next: Arizona opens the 2000-01 campaign on Monday, Nov. 20 at the Maui Invitational against Chaminade. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 a.m. HST (Noon MST) and will be broadcast on ESPN. In addition to Arizona and Chaminade, the Maui Classic field includes Connecticut, Dayton, Illinois, Louisville, Maryland and UNLV.

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