Game 19: No. 12 Arizona (13-5, 6-1) vs. No. 20 Texas (15-4, 4-2)
Date: Saturday, Jan. 27, 2001
Time: 11 a.m. MST
Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls)
TV: ABC (Dave Strader/Jay Bilas)
Game Data: No. 12 Arizona (13-5, 6-1 Pac-10) steps out of league play for its final non-conference game of the season when the Cats host No. 20 Texas (15-4, 4-2 Big 12) ... UA's current five-game win streak is the squad's longest of the year ... In six series meetings, the average margin of victory by either team is 10.1 points ... This season, Pac-10 teams are 1-3 vs. Big 12 foes ... Loren Woods is 31 points shy of totaling 1,000 in his collegiate career ... Arizona is 2-3 this season against ranked teams, including 1-1 at McKale Center.
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 624-222 (.738) and 432-130 (.769)... He recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona last year and has the fourth most Pac-10 wins (241) 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 266-26 (.911) in McKale Center and have won 194 of its last 205 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention, Jay John and undergraduate assistant Josh Pastner. Olson is 4-0 vs. Texas.
Last Time Out: The guard combination of Gilbert Arenas and Jason Gardner poured in 45 of the Arizona's 86 points in leading the Wildcats to a hard-fought 87-75 win over Arizona State on Wednesday. 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 pts.) for UA and added eight boards and four assists.
Scouting Texas: The Longhorns enter play this morning with a 15-4 record (4-2 Big 12) and No. 20 national ranking. Texas had its three-game win streak stopped on Wednesday in a 75-68 loss at Oklahoma. As a team, UT shoots 40.9 percent from the floor, averages 71.3 points per game and holds a +0.7 rebound margin. Individually, three Texas players average in double figures, led by Darren Kelly at 17.8 ppg. Chris Owens averages 13.9 points and a team-leading 8.2 rebounds per game.
The Series: Today's game is the seventh meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 4-2 series advantage. The series dates back to Dec. 16, 1949, when UT defeated UA, 58-50, in San Antonio. Arizona has won the last four meetings, including last year's 88-81 win on Dec. 4 in Austin. Arizona is 2-0 in series games played in Tucson, 2-0 in Austin and 0-2 in neutral-site games.
Last Meeting: Fourth-ranked Arizona jumped out to a 6-0 start for the second year in a row after beating ninth-ranked Texas, 88-81, on Dec. 4 in Austin. Playing before a crowd 15,226, the Wildcats had all five starters score in double figures and were led by Richard Jefferson, who scored 19 points, all of which came in the second half. After only playing nine minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, he came out on fire in the second, hitting both of this three point attempts and 8-of-10 shots overall. He was big down the stretch, scoring eight consecutive points in the waning moments and helping stretch a one-point lead to a six-point advantage with 1:02 left in the game. Arizona's other sophomore starter, Michael Wright had his fifth double-double in six games with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Jason Gardner had his best game of his young career, going for a career-high 18 points (4-6 3PT), with five rebounds and five assists. Arizona's win was secured when five players combined to make 14-of-18 free throws over the final 1:09. Texas, which had fought back from a 10-point second-half deficit, pulled to within 83-81 with 11.9 seconds left before Luke Walton and Gilbert Arenas went 5-of-6 from the foul line in the final seconds.
A Win is a Win: It wasn't necessarily pretty, but Arizona was able to dispatch of intrastate rival Arizona State, 86-75 on Wednesday. Just how ugly was it? Arizona picked up the win despite totaling just 22 field goals, a season low, and shooting 39.3 percent from the field. It's the first time this season that UA has won a game in which it shot less than 40 percent from the floor. In case you were wondering, Arizona did win two games last season when shooting less than 40 percent: vs. Kentucky (63-51) in the Preseason NIT championship game and at then-No. 1 Stanford (68-65). To take it one step further...the last time UA won a game in which it was outshot from the field and held to less than 40 percent from the field came Feb. 19, 1998, in a 71-70 win at Oregon State.
Playing Outside: While its overall field goal percentage against Arizona State was low, the Wildcats did make the most of its three-point attempts. The team connected on 10-of-22 shots from behind the arc. The 45.5 three-point field goal percentage was Arizona's fourth-best effort of the season, while the 10 treys were one shy of a team high.
On the Glass: Arizona outrebounded its third straight opponent on Wednesday, posting a 40-36 advantage over Arizona State. The Wildcats are 10-2 this season when outrebounding the opposition and carry a +5.6 rebound advantage, a figure that ranks third among Pac-10 teams.
Foul Plagued: The Wildcats took advantage of an overly-aggressive Arizona State defense and parlayed 31 Sun Devil fouls into 44 free throw attempts. The Wildcats converted 32 of those attempts to claim a 32-9 scoring advantage from the line. It's the third time this season that a UA opponent has committed more than 30 fouls in a game and the third time the Cats have made at least 30 free throws.
From the Line: Due to Wednesday's successes from the stripe, Arizona has now made more free throws (356) than the opposition has attempted (351). UA has been successful on 74.0 percent of its free throw attempts and 24.2 percent of its offense comes from free throws.
Increased Productivity: In grabbing a game-high eight rebounds on Wednesday, Loren Woods continues to increase his productivity. Over the last six games, Woods is averaging 8.5 rebounds per game.
Rebounding: Sophomore Jason Gardner rebounded well from last Saturday's 1-for-11 shooting performance in the win over UCLA by hitting 6-of-8 field goal attempts (all from three-point range) vs. Arizona State. Gardner's six treys set a new career high, equaled a team high this year and was one shy of a school record (held by five players, most recently Jason Terry).
Unselfish Play: In addition to his points and rebounds, Loren Woods has been very unselfish in distributing the ball from the high post. In Wednesday's win, Woods led the team with four assists. It was the second time this season that Woods has led the team in assists (Illinois, 5). On the year, he is averaging 1.8 assists per game.
Topping 20: The guard combination of Gilbert Arenas and Jason Gardner combined for 45 of Arizona's 86 points. It was the first time in their career that both had scored at least 20 in the same game. It was Arenas' fifth 20-point game of the season (second consecutive) and 13th of his career, and the second this season and seventh of Gardner's career.
Claiming the lead: The fortunes have turned for Gilbert Arenas. On the heels of solid play since Pac-10 began, Arenas is now the team's leading scorer in league play at 18.4 ppg. Over the last five games, Arenas is averaging 20.6 points, while shooting 55.0 percent from the field (33-of-60).
On the Positive: Arizona has posted positive assist:turnover ratios in three of the last four games. Leading the way individually are sophomores Jason Gardner and Luke Walton. Gardner, who ranks second in the Pac-10, leads the team with a 2.14 ratio (77 assists/36 turnovers), while Walton checks in at 1.88 (60/32). Gardner and Walton are two of four Wildcat players with positive assist:turnover ratios.
Fire Away: It should come as no surprise that season highs should fall in a game that saw Arizona shoot 44 free throws. Richard Jefferson set new season high for his seven free throws made and 10 attempts, while Gilbert Arenas set a new season high with his seven free throws made.
Keying the run: It was just a small run, but the timing was key, as Arizona used an 8-0 run over the last 2:07 of the first half to stretch the UA lead to 10 points. Richard Jefferson played a key role in the run, scoring four points and assisting another basket
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of Wildcat success than the 80-point mark. This season, Arizona is 8-0 when scoring 80 points and 4-5 when it does not. Over the last three seasons, UA is 36-3 (.923) when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona has scored at least 80 points in its last five games.
Continuing his Climb: Michael Wright currently stands in 18th place on UA's career scoring list with 1,228 points. Just ahead of Wright in 17th place is Linc Richmond (1943-49) with 1,246 points.
Against the Big 12: Against the schools that make up the Big 12 Conference, Arizona has an all-time record of 56-62 (.475). Over that last four years, Arizona is 8-2 in its 10 games against Big 12 opposition.
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: The Wildcats return to the road after four straight home games to take on the Oregon schools. UA faces Oregon in Eugene on Thursday, Feb. 1. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. MST and will be televised by Fox Sports Net.