Game 18: No. 12 Arizona (12-5, 5-1) vs. Arizona State (8-9, 0-6)
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2001 Time: 8:30 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls)
TV: FSN (Barry Tompkins/Dan Belluomini)
Game Data: No. 12 Arizona (12-5, 5-1 Pac-10) looks for its fifth straight win as the squad hosts intrastate rival Arizona State (8-9, 0-6 Pac-10) in a battle for Grand Canyon State supremacy ... Arizona has held its last four opponents to an average of 59.0 points per game ... UA's current four-game win streak is the squad's longest of the year ... The Cats have won 10 consecutive meetings against the Sun Devils, dating back to 1996 ... Loren Woods is 41 points shy of totaling 1,000 in his collegiate career ... Arizona is 10-1 this season when outshooting the opposition.
The Rankings: UA jumped to No. 12 in the current Associated Press poll and to No. 13 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. Arizona opened the year as the nation's top-ranked team in the media and coaches polls. Incidentally, UA has been ranked in the AP top 25 for 102 consecutive weeks, the longest active streak in the nation. The Cats have been ranked in 229 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 623-222 (.737) and 431-130 (.768)... He recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona last year and has the fourth most Pac-10 wins (240) 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 265-26 (.911) in McKale Center and have won 193 of its last 204 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention, Jay John and undergraduate assistant Josh Pastner. Olson is 30-5 vs. Arizona State.
Last Time Out: It took a total team effort for Arizona to erase an eight-point halftime deficit and race to the 88-63 win over UCLA. Bolstered by a 22-4 run early in the second half, UA outscored UCLA, 55-22, after the break to claim its fourth straight win. Five different players scored in the decisive run, including 11 by Gilbert Arenas. He was one of five Wildcat players to finish in double figures and led all scorers with 22 points. UA held its fourth straight opponent to less than 37 percent from the field.
Scouting Arizona State: Arizona State enters play this evening with an 8-9 record (0-6 Pac-10), having lost its last six games. ASU's last win came on Dec. 30 vs. Charlotte (91-78). The Sun Devils shoot 43.1 percent from the floor an the year and average 73.2 points, but those marks fall to 39.4 percent and 68.8 points in Pac-10 play. Individually, four players average in double figures, led by Awvee Storey's 13.6 ppg average. He also leads the team with a 9.3 rebounds per game average.
The Series: Tonight's game is the 197th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 124-72 series advantage. Arizona has won the last 10 meetings, and 13 of 16 dating back to the 1993 campaign. Last season, UA prevailed 82-55 in Tempe and 89-82 in Tucson. Arizona is 70-25 in series games played in Tucson, 54-47 in Tempe and 0-0 in neutral-site games.
Last Meeting: Arizona beat Arizona State for the 10th time in a row, downing the Sun Devils 89-82. The Wildcats were led by a career-high 29 points from Gilbert Arenas and great all-around outing from Luke Walton, who scored a career-best 23 points to go with seven assists, four rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Michael Wright added his 11th double-double of the season with 16 points and 14 rebounds, while Jason Gardner had 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Arenas hounded ASU's Eddie House throughout the day and forced the Pac-10's leading scorer into a 3-of-15 shooting performance to net just seven points. The Wildcats came out hot and raced to a 23-4 lead with 9:30 left in the first half. The lead would hit 19 three more times and get to 21 once in the first half before ASU closed with a 9-0 run to trail 35-23 at intermission. Arizona would maintain a sizeable lead in the second stanza and went up 67-50 before the Sun Devils mounted their comeback, closing it to 73-70 with 3:28 to go in the game. On the next possession, Wright grabbed an offensive rebounds, put it up and in, and basically put the game away.
Heating Up: Arenas led Arizona to a pair of wins last week by averaging 20.0 points and 4.0 rebounds, while shooting 58.3 percent from the field. He opened the week with a team-high 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting Thursday vs. USC. He went 3-of-5 from behind the arc and added four boards and two assists. The sophomore poured in a game-high 22 points in Saturday's win over UCLA. Arenas, who went 7-of-12 from the floor and 4-of-7 from three-point range, scored 11 of his 22 points in a key 22-4 second-half run that helped UA erase an eight-point halftime deficit and eventually pull away for the 88-63 win. He has been UA's leading scorer in three of the last four games, all UA wins. Over the last four games, Arenas is averaging 20 points and 3.0 rebounds. He has connected on 27-of-46 (.587) of his field goal attempts, including 14-of-23 (.609) of his three-point attempts. He earned Pac-10 Player-of-the-Week honors for his efforts.
Defense Doesn't Rest: Arizona's current four-game win streak has coincided with a nice four-game defensive effort. Arizona has held each of its last three opponents to less than 37 percent shooting. In that span, UA has limited opponents to 32.6 percent shooting (90-of-276). Over the four-game streak, opponents are averaging 59.0 points, 8.6 points per game less than the season average.
Shut Down: The Arizona defense limited two of the Pac-10's leading scorers to a combined four points in two games this week. USC's Brian Scalabrine (ranked No. 8 heading into the week) and UCLA's Jason Kapono (No. 3) combined to score just four points against UA, 29.8 points below their season averages ( Scalabrine 15.6/Kapono 18.2). The duo combined to hit just 2-of-22 (.091) of their FG attempts and were 0-of-11 from three-point range. The Wildcat defense (mainly Loren Woods) held Scalabrine scoreless for the first time in his collegiate career. In addition to Woods' efforts, Richard Jefferson was also a key player, as he not only drew the defensive assignment on Kapono, but held USC's David Bluthenthal to just three second-half points in last Thursday's win.
At Opposite Ends: In the win on Saturday, UCLA hit 9-of-37 field goal attempts (.243) in the second half and totaled just 22 points. Both figures are UA opponent season lows. Conversely, Arizona used blistering second-half field goal shooting to record a FG percentage of 50 percent or better for the sixth time this season. UA shot 57.7 percent (15-of-26) in the second half Saturday to outscore UCLA, 55-22, and earn the 25-point win. The 55 second-half points were a Wildcat high for any half this year.
Off the Bench: Luke Walton put forth a stellar effort vs. UCLA, scoring 11 points (his third double-figure effort of the year) on 5-of-7 shooting, and adding four boards, three assists and three steals. Walton leads the Wildcats with 24 steals on the season and ranks second in assists despite averaging 21.9 minutes per game.
At the Point: Although Jason Gardner struggled from the floor vs. UCLA (1-of-11), he was able to contribute in other areas. The sophomore point guard totaled 11 assists, seven rebounds and five steals in two games last week. Incidentally, he committed just three turnovers (0 vs. USC) in 69 minutes of work. Arizona is 20-4 when Gardner collects at least five assists in a game. He still leads the team with 43 treys.
Adding Energy: Eugene Edgerson played a key part in the win over UCLA by scoring seven points (3-of-3 FG), grabbing four rebounds, and collecting two assists in 13 minutes. It was his best offensive effort since Dec. 2 vs. St. Mary's.
Running it Up: One thing has held true in each of Arizona's last four games...a big run has broken open a close game. Keyed by Gilbert Arenas, Arizona used a 22-4 run in the second half vs. UCLA to take control In its win over USC, the Cats scored 11 straight points in a 4:03 span of the first half as part of a 23-8 run over about 11 minutes. In the sweep of the Washington schools Jan. 11-13, Arizona posted similar runs to take control of both games. In the win over WSU, Arizona posted a 23-4 run over the last 7:44 of the first half, while UA used a 27-9 run over 10:00 of the first half at Washington.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of Wildcat success than the 80-point mark. This season, Arizona is 7-0 when scoring 80 points and 4-5 when it does not. Over the last three seasons, UA is 35-3 (.921) when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona has scored at least 80 points in its last four games.
Continuing his Climb: Michael Wright currently stands in 19th place on UA's career scoring list with 1,219 points. Just ahead of Wright in 18th place is Ed Nymeyer (1956-58) with 1,225 points.
Erasing a Deficit: Arizona overcame an eight-point deficit to win on Saturday. It was the largest halftime deficit the Cats have erased in earning a win this season.
On the Glass: Arizona posted a 44-34 rebound advantage over UCLA on Saturday, including a 27-17 mark in the second half. It's the 11th time this season that the Wildcats have posted a rebound advantage and the sixth of 10 rebounds or more.
Improved Accuracy: In addition to improved defense, Arizona's improved field goal percentage has helped the squad to a 5-1 Pac-10 start. The Wildcats are shooting 49.1 percent (168-of-342) from the floor in Pac-10 play, nearly two percent better than its season average. Three UA starters (Arenas, Wright, Woods) have bettered their shooting percentages in league play.
At the Line: The Wildcats continued a season-long trend Saturday, as the squad posted a +13 scoring advantage from the free throw line (21-8). On the year, Arizona enjoys a +6 advantage at the line (19.1 makes vs. 13.1) and has outscored the opposition by 10 or more at the line seven times this season.
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 Wooden's 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. Mary's 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
Up Next: Arizona steps out of conference to face Big 12 foe Texas on Saturday. That game will be televised nationally by ABC and tips off at McKale Center at 11 a.m. MST.