Game 14: No. 7 Arizona (12-1, 3-0) at Washington State (13-2, 2-1)
Date: Saturday, Jan. 6, 2007
Time: 7 p.m. PST
Location: Friel Court (11,566), Pullman, Wash.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSNAZ (Cara Capuano/Bob Elliott)
Game Data: No. 7 Arizona (12-1, 3-0 Pac-10) plays the back end of the State of Washington road swing Saturday night in Pullman against Washington State (13-2, 2-1 Pac-10) ... It marks just the third time in the last seven seasons that Arizona will close this road swing in Pullman ... In the last four meetings in Pullman, Arizona’s average margin of victory is 6.3 points per game ... WSU is a spotless 7-0 at home this season ... In 15 games this season, Washington State has scored more than 80 points only once, while Arizona has scored less than 80 points just three times in 13 games.
The Rankings: Following a pair of victories last week Arizona held at No. 7 in both the Associated Press Top 25 poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. The Wildcats have been ranked in each poll to date this season.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 24th season at Arizona and his 34th overall as a college head coach with a career record of 773-270 (.741) and 581-178 (.765) at Arizona ... 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 750th collegiate victory on Dec. 31, 2005, and became Arizona’s career victories leader (510) on Jan. 17, 2004 ... He has the most Pac-10 wins (319) of any coach in league history ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.772/319-94) and second-most league championships won (11) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only UCLA’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, ?'89, ?'90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for 22 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, ?'88, ?'89, ?'93, ?'94, ?'98, 2003), the Big Ten Coach of the Year twice (1979 & ?'81) and directed the UA program to the nation’s second-best winning percentage over the past 19 years (499-131/.792) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 49 NBA Draft picks, including 30 at Arizona ?- 21 alone since 1990 ... He’s led UA to 19 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 28 overall in his career, making him one of only three head coaches in NCAA history to record 28 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 341-35 (.907) in McKale Center and have won 269 of its last 288 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon ... Olson is 43-3 against Washington State.
Last Time Out: Arizona shot a blistering 76.2 percent (16-of-21) from the floor in the second half to outlast Washington, 96-87, on Thursday. Four Wildcats scored more than 20 points as the squad erased a 14-point first-half deficit and won its 12th straight game. UA held Washington to just one field goal in the last 4:27 and outscored the Huskies 9-3 in that span. Chase Budinger scored 23 points, while Marcus Williams and Jawann McClellan chipped in with 22, and Mustafa Shakur added 21 points and 11 assists.
Scouting Washington state: The Cougars (13-2, 2-1 Pac-10) enter tonight’s game riding a two-game win streak after Thursday’s 75-55 home win over Arizona State. As a team, Washington State averages 67.0 points per game, shoots 46.9 percent (366-of-781) from the field and posts a +5.2 per game turnover margin. Defensively, WSU allows just 57.1 points per game and a .414 field goal percentage. Two Cougars average in double figures, led by Derrick Lowe’s 15.1 points per game figure. Robbie Cowgill leads the club with a 5.1 rebounds per game mark.
The Series: Tonight’s game is the 60th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 48-11 series advantage. Arizona has won 41 of the last 42 meetings in the series, which dates back to Dec. 22, 1959, including the last meeting, 66-61, on March 2, 2006 in Tucson. All-time, Arizona is 23-6 in series games played in Tucson, 20-5 in Pullman, Wash., and 5-0 in neutral-site games. Please see page 102 in the UA media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Arizona 66, Washington State 61, March 2, 2006: Arizona made just enough plays down the stretch and benefited from three late Washington State turnovers to earn the five-point win. A 24-9 WSU run midway through the second half trimmed a 15-point UA lead to two, but Arizona hit 5-of-6 free throws and got a key bucket from Marcus Williams in the final three minutes to seal it. Williams led all scorers with 17 points, including 11 in the second half, and pulled down a game-high six rebounds.
Streaking: UA’s current 12-game win streak equals the longest streak of the last nine seasons. The last Arizona team to win 13 or more straight games was the 1997-98 club that posted won a school-record 19 consecutive games during that season. Incidentally, all of the wins in this year’s streak have been by seven points or more, and during the streak Arizona has outscored the opposition by an average of 15.4 points per game.
Quality Opponents: Arizona earned its second win of the season over a nationally ranked opponent Thursday at No. 24 Washington. When looking at the UA schedule to date, it’s no surprise that it’s been rated as the nation’s toughest to date by some. To date, Arizona’s 13 opponents have a combined record of 126-57 (.689). UA’s non-conference opponents have a record of 98-44 (.690).
Knock ?'Em Down: Arizona shot a season-best 65.3 percent from the field (32-of-49) in Thursday’s win at Washington, which marked the team’s third consecutive game of shooting better than 60 percent from the field. It was also the eighth time this season that the Cats had shot better than 50 percent in 13 starts in 2006-07. On the season, Arizona is shooting 52.7 percent (396-of-752) from the field. Incidentally, the last time Arizona shot better than Thursday’s .653 figure was March 24, 2005, when the Cats shot 66.0 percent (31-of-47) in a 79-78 NCAA regional semifinal win over Oklahoma State.
Strong to the Finish: In claiming Thursday’s nine-point win, Arizona needed to shoot 76.2 percent (16-of-21) from the floor in the second half. Over the last 16 minutes of game, Arizona made 14 of its last 17 field goal attempts (.824) and connected on a total of 21-of-23 (.913) free throw attempts in the game.
Where’s the “D”: In a game where the teams combined to shoot 58.6 percent (68-of-116), one could assume that the defense was lacking. But there was a time Thursday where it looked more like a pick-up game than something as organized as an NCAA Division I basketball game. During one stretch of the second half, Arizona and Washington combined to make 20-of-24 (.833) field goal attempts. In that span, there were two ties and four lead changes.
Just Like Home: During Pac-10 play, Arizona’s field goal percentage is something like a Tucson winter weather forecast ?- something in the 60s. Through three league games, the Wildcats are shooting a robust 62.2 percent (97-of-156) from the field, and have shot better than 60 percent from the floor in all three games. Arizona’s starting lineup has combined to shoot 65.6 percent (86-of-131) from the field in Pac-10 play. Almost as impressively, UA is shooting nearly as good from behind the arc in conference play, posting a 56.0 (28-of-50) percentage.
Double-Doubles: Mustafa Shakur collected his second double-double of the season (fourth career) with 21 points and 11 assists Thursday at Washington. It was UA’s eighth double-double as a team. Shakur’s effort included 5-of-6 shooting from the floor, highlighted by key back-to-back-treys late in the second half that enabled the Cats to maintain a five-point lead, and 9-of-9 shooting from the line. Thursday’s performance was Shakur’s third 20-point game of the season.
More on Mustafa: The 6-foot-3 senior point guard from Philadelphia enters Saturday’s game just three assists shy of moving into fifth place on Arizona’s career assist list. Currently, Shakur has 558 assists, and trails Reggie Geary (1992-96) for fifth place by two. Shakur, who is averaging a career best 7.9 assists per game, has passed out at least five assists in each game this season.
Determining Factor: Look no further than the free throw line for an indication of success, as the Wildcats have made 113 more free throws than opponents have attempted this season. But here is something a little more interesting. Over the last 11 games, UA has outscored the opposition by a 208-53 margin from the stripe ?- or an average of 18.9-4.8 points per game. In that span, opponents have attempted at least 10 free throws only three times, while Arizona has attempted 20 or more charity tosses nine times. In case you were wondering, here is the team foul tally in those nine games: Opponents 223, Arizona 123.
Pressing Forward: Statistically, no one has enjoyed the move to conference play more than sophomore Marcus Williams. Through three games, the 6-foot-7 forward is averaging 22.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. He has also connected on 77.8 percent (28-of-36) of his field goal attempts. Thursday at Washington, Williams connected on 10-of-14 field goal attempts, en route to 22 points. Of those 10 field goals, seven were lay-ups. For good measure, Williams also passed out a season-high four assists vs. the Huskies.
Stabilizing Force: Junior Jawann McClellan proved his mettle in Thursday’s win by equaling career bests of 22 points and four assists in 39 minutes. The 6-foot-4 guard from Houston, Texas, connected on 7-of-10 field goals, including 6-of-9 from three-point range. On the year, McClellan is averaging 13.3 points and 4.5 boards per game. In Pac-10 play, he is shooting 70.6 percent (12-of-17) from three-point range.
With a Flourish: Freshman Chase Budinger answered the call in his first conference road game by posting a team-high 23 points, two assists and a season-best four steals at Washington. The 6-foot-7 forward did not commit a turnover in 38 minutes (also a season high), while the 23 points was his best offensive output since he tallied 32 points vs. Northern Arizona on Nov. 15. Oddly enough, Budinger, an 85 percent free throw shooter, went 6-of-8 from the line. They were UA’s only misses from the stripe in 23 attempts.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 159-19 (.893) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona is 9-1 this season when scoring 80 or more points, a feat that has happened in 10 of 13 games this year.
Always On the Run: Early this season, Arizona has shown the ability to post large scoring runs with some regularity. Here are the ones of note to date:
25-0 run over 7:45 vs. New Mexico State, Nov. 19 (UA went 11-of-16 during run: NMSU 0-of-10)
34-11 run over 9:00 vs. Northern Arizona, Nov. 15 (UA went 12-of-16 during run: NAU 3-of-16)
31-9 run over 7:54 vs. California, Dec. 28 (UA went 11-of-13 during the run; Cal 4-of-14)
28-9 run over 11:22 vs. Samford, Nov. 22 (SU went 3-of-16 with four turnovers during run)
20-2 run over 5:59 vs. Louisville, Dec. 5 (UL went 1-of-10; UA 7-of-8 during the run)
21-4 run over 8:08 vs. Illinois, Dec. 2, 2006 (UA 8-of-12 FGs during run)
24-8 run over 9:17 at San Diego State, Dec. 9, 2006 (SDSU 4-of-18 FG with five TO during run)
18-3 run over 4:15 at Virginia, Nov. 12 (UA went 6-of-8 during run: UVa 1-of-8)
23-8 run over 7:11 vs. UNLV, Nov. 28 (UNLV 3-of-7 with six turnovers during run)
15-0 run over 2:28 at Washington, Jan. 4 (McClellan 3-of-3 from three-point range, UA 6-of-6 FTs)
Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed five student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period. Jerryd Bayless (G, 6-3, 193) from Phoenix, Ariz., St. Mary’s High School; Jamelle Horne (F, 6-7, 205) from San Diego, Calif., San Diego High School; Alex Jacobson (C, 7-1, 223) from Santa Ana, Calif., Mater Dei High School; Zane Johnson (F, 6-6, 200) from Phoenix, Ariz., Thunderbird High School; and Laval Lucas-Perry (G, 6-1, 191) from Grand Blanc, Mich., Powers Catholic High School, will join the squad next fall.
Up Next: Once tonight’s game is in the books, Arizona heads back to Tucson to host Oregon State. The game is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 11 and will tip-off at 6:30 p.m. MST. The match-up will be televised by FSN Arizona.