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Washington Notes 1/25/2008
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/25/2008
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Game 20:? Arizona (13-6, 3-3) vs. Washington (12-7, 3-3)

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Date: ? Saturday, Jan. 26, 2008

Time: ? 1 p.m. MST

Location: ? Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.

Radio: ? Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)

TV: ?FSN (Barry Thompkins/Dan Belluomini)

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Game Data: ? Arizona (13-6, 3-3 Pac-10) closes a two-game home respite Saturday against Washington (12-7, 3-3 Pac-10) in McKale Center ... Looking at the league standings where seven teams are within two games of first place, this could prove to be a very meaningful game ... As is always the case ˇ? but never more so than this season ˇ? home wins are not to be missed and road wins are a coveted rarity.

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The Rankings: ? Arizona is unranked in both polls for the second consecutive.? For the season, the Wildcats have been ranked in either or both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coachesˇ? Top 25 polls in eight of 12 polling periods this season.

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Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . ?will begin his 25th season at Arizona and his 35th overall as a college head coach with a career record of 780-280 (.736) and 589-187 (.759) at Arizona upon his return from a leave of absence, which was announced on Nov. 4 ... He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002 ... Olson became the 16th coach in basketball history to tally 1,000 career victories (covering all levels) on Dec. 11, 2004 ... Olson recorded his 775th collegiate victory on Jan. 24, 2007, and became Arizonaˇ?s career victories leader (510) on Jan. 17, 2004 ... He has the most Pac-10 wins (327) of any coach in league history ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.764/327-101) and second-most league championships won (11) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only UCLAˇ?s John Wooden (.810/304-74/16 titles)?... During his 24-year tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have won one national championship (1997), played in the national championship game (2001), participated in four Final Fours (1988, 1994, 1997, 2001), won 11 Pac-10 Conference titles, four Pac-10 Tournament crowns (1988, ˇ®89, ˇ®90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for 23 consecutive seasons, which is the longest active and second-longest streak in NCAA history (North Carolina, 27) ... He also led Iowa to the 1980 Final Four ... Olson has been named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year seven times (1986, ˇ®88, ˇ®89, ˇ®93, ˇ®94, ˇ®98, 2003), the Big Ten Coach of the Year twice (1979 & ˇ®81) and directed the UA program to the nationˇ?s third-best winning percentage over the past 20 years (519-142/.785) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 52 NBA Draft picks, including 31 at Arizona ?C 25 alone since 1990 ... Heˇ?s led UA to 20 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 29 overall in his career, making him one of only three head coaches in NCAA history to record 29 or more 20-win seasons...?Under Olson, the Cats are 344-40 (.896) in McKale Center and have won 272 of its last 296 home games ... He is assisted by Kevin Oˇ?Neill, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon.

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Last Time out: ? Arizona placed four players in double figures, shot 55.0 percent from the field and earned a 76-64 win over sixth-ranked Washington State on Thursday.? Led by Jerryd Bayless (23) and Chase Budinger (22), who combined for 24 second-half points and 45 in the game, UA shot 61.1 percent (11-of-18) from the field in the second half and built as much as an 18-point lead in outscoring WSU, 42-33, in the period.? Arizona hit 20-of-23 free throws in the contest and held a 20-9 scoring advantage from the free throw line.

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Scouting Washington: ? The Huskies enter play Saturday with a 12-7 record (3-3 Pac-10) following Thursdayˇ?s 72-61 win at Arizona State.? Through 19 games, UW averages 74.1 points per game, shoots 46.0 percent (524-of-1,139), and posts a +7.7 rebound margin per game.? Opponents shoot 45.2 percent from the floor and are outscored by an average of 5.4 points per game.? Individually, two Huskies average in double figures, led by Jon Brockman, who averages 18.8 points? per game.? He also leads Washington with an 11.8 rebounds per game average.

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The Series: ? Todayˇ?s game marks the 62nd meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 40-21 series advantage.? Arizona has won four of the last seven in the series, including an 84-54 win in Tucson on Feb. 3, 2007, in the last get-together. All-time, Arizona is 22-6 in series games played in Tucson, 17-13 in Seattle, Wash., and 1-2 in neutral site games.? See page 102 of the UA media guide for more series information.

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Last Meeting: ??Arizona 84, Washington 54, Feb 3, 2007: ? Arizona put forth its best offensive effort in a month and rolled to a 30-point win over Washington.? Five Wildcats finished in double figures as the squad posted the most points since Jan. 4.? UA shot 57.4 percent from the field for the game and limited UW to just 38.3 percent shooting, including 3-of-20 from three-point range.? Arizona used a 25-8 run in the first half to break open a one-point game.? Jordan Hill led all players with 16 points, eight boards and five blocks.

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A Different Look on the Sidelines: ? Prior to the Nov. 4 exhibition game, it was announced that UA head coach Lute Olson would be taking a leave of absence due to a personal matter.? It was announced on Dec. 7 that Olson would not return this season.? During this period, assistant coach Kevin Oˇ?Neill will handle the head coaching responsibilities.? Oˇ?Neill, who was tabbed as Olsonˇ?s successor on Dec. 18, has 11 seasons of experience as an NCAA Division I head coach, where he compiled a 152-165 (.479) record while at Marquette, Tennessee and Northwestern. Oˇ?Neill spent the last seven seasons in NBA circles.? During Olsonˇ?s leave of absence all games will be credited to Oˇ?Neillˇ?s coaching record.

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Last Line of Defense: ? Against a patient and possession-focused team like No. 6 Washington State, Jordan Hillˇ?s six blocked shots made a huge impact. Not all those rebounds went Arizonaˇ?s way, but it kept Arizonaˇ?s defense a pressing affair. The sent-backs were a career high, eclipsing a pair of five-block efforts, including one this year at Houston. He blocked 26 in his 2006-07 freshman year and with 35 this year appears headed for a 50-block season.? Hillˇ?s six blocks vs. WSU Thursday equaled the Pac-10 single-game high this season.

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Hitting the Target: ? Good things have happened from three-point range in the past two games for Arizona, notably a more confident stroke at the right time by the principals, to knock down a combined 23-of-48 (.479). Against WSU it was a season-high 12 makes on 21 tries. That 57.1 percent success helped pushed UA to a season rate of .385. Obviously similar improvement would be huge; Arizona has shot better than 40 percent from three-point range only four times since was adopted in 1986-87:? 1987-88 (.483); 1988-89 (.401); 1994-95 (.413); and 2004-05 (.402).

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Cause and Effect : ? As noted throughout the year, getting to the free throw line is a key for an offense built around play calling, such as interim coach Kevin Oˇ?Neillˇ?s system. The Cats hit 20-of-23 against Washington State, clearly an advantage against WSUˇ?s 9-for-12 showing. UA had 38 points from the line in the last two games, coming at an 83 percent rate. Versus the Cougs, the free throws werenˇ?t so much from an edge in fouls called (17 against WSU, 15 against UA), but a result of the fact UA took it to the hole with good frequency.

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Individual Effort: ? Few players have done a better job of getting to the line ˇ? and converting ˇ? than UAˇ?s Jerryd Bayless.? The 6-foot-3 guard from Phoenix, Ariz., currently ranks second in the Pac-10 with a .857 (90-of-105) free throw percentage.? Over his last 10 appearances, Bayless has connected on 58-of-63 (.921) FT attempts.? Whatˇ?s worth noting about Baylessˇ? prowess from the stripe is that of his 15 misses this season, six came in the season opener on Nov. 13.? Heˇ?s shooting better than 90 percent (84-of-93) since then.

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Long Range Forecast: ? If more than half of its three-point shots go in, Arizona has won this year. Itˇ?s only happened four times, actually, so UA won nine other games not hitting at that rate. UA topped the .500 rate against Texas A&M, Fresno State, Oregon State and Washington State. Each was better than the opponentsˇ? shooting, and each came on UAˇ?s home floor. UA has won only two games shooting worse than the opponent ˇ? the season opener against Northern Arizona and Adams State.

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Look To the Boards: ? The rebounding tally will go a long way towards determining the outcome of this contest.? Entering the game Washington ranks third in the Pac-10 with a +7.7 rebound margin, while Arizona ranks ninth at +1.3.? Regarding Arizonaˇ?s rebounding efforts, the club is 6-2 this season when outrebounding the opposition.

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Do Your Job: ? Freshman guard Zane Johnson matched his season total with a pair of FG attempts against No. 6 Washington State ˇ? both three-pointers.? Heˇ?s taken four shots this year, all from beyond the arc. Thatˇ?s his job. His make against the Cougars was a back breaker, giving UA a 14-point lead at the 8:14 mark of the second half. Arizona never led by less than that margin until the final minute of play.

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Twenty-Twenty: ? Twenty points from a pair of Cats proved effective against the Cougs Thursday night, as it has previously. Jerryd Bayless (23) and Chase Budinger (22) gave UA its fourth game with two players scoring 20 or more, and made Arizona 4-0 in the two-pronged attack. Bayless and Budinger have been in on three each, with Jordan Hill in on two of the 20-20s.

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Guarding the Perimeter: ? Arizonaˇ?s defense on the perimeter helped hold WSU shooter Derrick Low to 1-for-6 from three-point range. He entered the game shooting .432 from beyond the arc. A .501 shooting team entering the game, the Cougs were held to .453, their third-worst shooting of the year and enough of a defensive effort to make a difference.

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Against the Norm...in a good way: ? Two teams have scored more than 75 points against Washington State this season, and both won ˇ? UCLA 81-74 (Jan. 12), and Arizona 76-64 on Thursday. The Cougars entered the game Thursday ranked fourth in the league in FG percentage defense at .379, so UA went out and shot .550. The Bruins did it by dropping in shots at a .577 rate. Those are the two best efforts against the Cougars from the floor this year.

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Getting Out early: ? Arizona matched its first-half scoring average with 34 points Thursday vs. the Cougars.? More importantly, UA held a three-point halftime lead.? This year, Arizona is 9-1 when leading at the break, 4-5 when tied or trailing.

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The Percentage Matters: ? ?Arizona shot 55.0 percent (22-of-40) from the field in Thursdayˇ?s win, combined with a defensive effort that saw the Cats limit Washington State to 45.3 percent shooting, including just .407 (11-of-27) in the second half.? When those figures align like that, i.e. UA outshoots the opposition, Arizona is 10-0 this year.

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Stepping Up: ? ?Over the last eight games, sophomore Nic Wise has played in 278 of 325 minutes (86 percent), trailing only Chase Budinger and Jawann McClellan.? The increased work load hasnˇ?t hindered Wiseˇ?s productivity, as heˇ?s averaging 12.0 points, 4.1 assists and 2.6 steals per game, while shooting .471 (33-of-70) from the floor.

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Shooting His Way Out: ? ?Senior guard Jawann McClellan connected on 4-of-7 shots Thursday en route to 14 points.? More importantly, he may be showing signs of emerging from a bit of a shooting slump.? Over his last two games, the 6-foot-4 Houston, Texas, native has made 7-of-13 (.538) attempts, which is much better than his .356 (16-of-45) shooting in the previous seven games.? On the year, McClellan is shooting .441 (56-of-127) from the floor.

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Scoring 80: ? Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 166-19 (.897) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points.? Arizona is 4-0 this season when topping the 80-point plateau.

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Early Signees: ? The Arizona coaching staff signed four student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period.? Brandon Jennings (G, 6-0, 170) from Lakewood, Calif., Oak Hill Academy; Brendon Lavender (G, 6-4, 180) from Mesa, Ariz., Mountain View High School; ?Emmanuel Negedu (F, 6-7, 230) from Bloomington, Ind., Brewster Academy; Jeff Withey (C, 6-11, 240) from San Diego, Calif., Horizon High School, will join the squad next fall.? According to rivals.com, this class was ranked as the seventh-best nationally.

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Up Next: ? The Wildcats hit the road for a pair of games in Southern California.? The road trip begins Thursday, Jan. 31, at USC.? Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PST and can be seen nationally on Fox Sports Net.

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