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Men's Basketball Game Notes vs. USC, 1/7/2006
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/10/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Game 14:  No. 21 Arizona (9-4, 2-1) vs. USC (11-3, 2-1)

 

Date:  Saturday, Jan. 7, 2006

Time:  Noon MST

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

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

TV:  FSNAZ (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)

ONLINE: Subscribers to All-Access, Arizona's premium multimedia service, can watch a delayed webcast of the McKale Center production of the game with Brian Jeffries and Ryan Hanson calling the action immediately following its conclusion (approximately 2 p.m.). Live audio is also available to subscribers.

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Game Data:
  Twenty-first-ranked Arizona (9-4, 2-1 Pac-10) returns to action Saturday against USC (11-3, 2-1 Pac-10) ... The Wildcats look to get back on the winning side of the ledger after Thursday’s six-point loss to UCLA snapped its seven-game win streak ... Over the last five seasons, Arizona is 23-7 (.767) in games immediately following losses and had only lost consecutive games six times ... UA opponents average 15.8 more points per game (76.8-61.0) in its four wins this season.

 

The Rankings:  Arizona jumped back into both the Associated Press Top 25 (No. 21) and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll (No. 23) after a two-week absence.  The Cats saw its string of 312 consecutive regular-season AP poll appearances end on Dec. 19.

 

Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 23rd season at Arizona and his 33rd overall as a college head coach with a career record of 750-260 (.742) and 558-168 (.769) 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 (307) of any coach in league history ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.777/307-88) 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 23-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 21 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 best winning percentage over the past 18 years (479-118/.802) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 49 NBA Draft picks, including 30 at Arizona ?- 21 alone since 1990 ... He’s led UA to 18 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 27 overall in his career, making him one of only four head coaches in NCAA history to record 27 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 327-34 (.906) in McKale Center and have won 255 of its last 273 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon ... Olson is 38-11 against USC.

 

Last Time Out:  Arron Afflalo scored a game-high 22 points and led a Bruin charge that kept the Wildcats at bay all evening in Thursday’s 85-79 UCLA win.  Afflalo scored 14 points in the second half, including several key buckets, that enabled UCLA to hold the lead for the game’s final 21 minutes.  UA’s Hassan Adams and Marcus Williams combined for 40 points, but UCLA extinguished a late charge by hitting all eight free throws in the final 1:23.

 

Scouting USC:  The Trojans carry an 11-3 record (2-1 Pac-10) into today’s game following Thursday’s 66-65 win at Arizona State.  As a team, USC shoots 45.2 percent from the field (364-of-805), including 33.0 percent (76-of-230) from three-point range, while averaging 69.8 points per game.  Opponents shoot at a 38.7 percent clip and are committing 18.4 turnovers per game.  Three Trojans average in double figures, led by Nick Young’s 16.7 ppg clip.

 

The Series:  Today’s game is the 86th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 52-33 series advantage.  UA has won 13 of the last 16 meetings in the series, which dates back to 1922, including the last get-together, 88-76, in Los Angeles on Feb. 10, 2005.  All-time, Arizona is 26-8 in series games played in Tucson, 23-25 in Los Angeles, and 3-0 in neutral-site games.  Please see page 103 in the UA media guide for more series information.

 

Last Meeting:  Arizona 88, USC 76, Feb. 10, 2005:  Salim Stoudamire scored 16 of his game-high 26 points in the first half as Arizona posted a 12-point win and gave Lute Olson his 300th career Pac-10 victory.  Stoudamire scored 11 consecutive points in the opening stanza to lead the Cats to a nine-point lead at the break, then UA opened the second with an 18-8 run that put the game out of reach.

 

Something’s Gotta Give:  A pair of interesting streaks will be put on the line today as Arizona enters the game having not lost consecutive conference games at home since 1983-84 ?- Olson’s first season in Tucson.  The last time that happened was Jan. 7-14, 1984, when the Cats lost to UCLA, Washington and Washington State.  Conversely, USC enters the contest having not won in Tucson since Jan. 17, 1985 (64-63) ?- a span of 20 games.

 

Is It Too Late for Brunch?:  Today’s noon start time marks Arizona’s fifth late morning/early-afternoon tip-off this season (11 a.m.-2 p.m. local start).  Arizona must like the early start time because the team is 3-1 in such contests to date this season and has six such start times on the remainder of the schedule.

 

A Rarity:  The Wildcats allowed UCLA to shoot better than 60 percent from the floor (31-of-51/.608) in Thursday’s loss, marking the highest opponent field goal percentage of the season.  Incidentally, UCLA was also the last UA opponent to shoot 60 percent from the field, when it connected on 66.0 percent (33-of-50) of its field goal attempts in a 107-83 UA win in Tucson on Feb. 14, 2004.

 

Numbers Don’t Lie:  Perhaps the defense wasn’t spectacular at either end of the court on Thursday (see above) as the Wildcats connected on a season-best .522 (31-of-59) field goal percentage.  It marked only the third time the Cats has shot better than 50 percent from the floor and was the team’s first loss when doing so.  Additionally, Arizona’s record fell to 3-4 this season when failing to shoot better than the opposition.

 

Coming Around:  After suffering through a slump that saw him shoot 25 percent (8-of-32) from the field and average 5.0 points per game over a five-game period from Dec. 10-29, junior Ivan Radenovic seems to be finding the range again.  In his last two games, the 6-foot-10 forward has connected on 55.6 percent (10-of-18) of his field goal attempts and is averaging 14.5 points per game.  In that same time frame, his rebounding has increased from 4.4 rebounds per game to 6.5.  On the season, Radenovic is averaging 9.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

 

Good Starts Are Helpful:  It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that a good start can lead to a victory.  In each of Arizona’s last two games, the Wildcats managed to dig itself a first-half hole ( 13 at Washington, 4 vs. UCLA) at the half.  Arizona is 6-0 this season when leading at the half and 3-4 when it trails.

 

Topping 20:  Through 13 games, Hassan Adams is the only Wildcat to score in double figures in each game.  Additionally, the 6-foot-4 senior has scored 20 or more points in nine of those 13 games and is averaging a Pac-10-leading 20.8 points per game. Entering the season, Adams had 16 career 20-point games.

 

Constant:  One thing that has remained constant for the Cats is the team’s ability to force turnovers.  UA entered the week ranked fourth nationally by forcing an average of 22.4 turnovers per game and managed to force UCLA into 23.  Nine times this season Arizona has forced opponents into 20 or more turnovers.

 

Five In:  Take a look at the 2005-06 Arizona season outlook on page 12 of the UA basketball media guide and you’ll see the word balance used to describe the Wildcat offensive attack.  To a certain extent, that has proven true as five players are averaging better than 9.0 points per game.  Thursday’s game, however, marked the first time this season that Arizona has had five players finish in double figures in the same game.  Hassan Adams led the way with 21, followed by Marcus Williams’ 19, Ivan Radenovic’s 17, Chris Rodgers’ 12 and Kirk Walters’ 10.

 

Off the Bench:  Three games ago, Lute Olson made a change in the starting lineup that moved center Kirk Walters to a reserve role.  The 6-foot-10 junior didn’t hang his head.  In fact, he increased his productivity.  In the three games since, Walters is averaging 7.3 points and 4.3 rebounds, while shooting 76.9 percent (10-of-13) from the field.  His point and rebound totals are 1.2 points and 1.3 rebounds better than his season averages entering the Washington State game on Dec. 29.

 

Prince of Thieves:  Senior Chris Rodgers collected a game-high five steals on Thursday, which marked the seventh time this season that the Portland, Ore., native has tallied three or more steals in a game.  Through 13 games, Rodgers is averaging 2.8 steals per game, a figure that ranks second in the Pac-10 Conference.  Only teammate Hassan Adams’ 3.0 spg average tops Rodgers’ pilfers rate.

 

Climbing Higher:  On the strength of 6-of-7 free throw shooting Thursday night, freshman Marcus Williams scored a season-high 19 points.  The 6-foot-7 freshman from Seattle has now scored 14 or more points in his last five straight games.  In those five games, Williams is shooting 64.7 percent (33-of-51) from the field.  He now ranks second on the club with an 11.2 ppg scoring average.

 

Move the Ball:  Led by Hassan Adams’ season-high six assists on Thursday, Arizona tallied 20 assists.  UA has had 20 or more assists in a game five times in 2005-06 and ranks second in the Pac-10 with an average of 16.1 assists per game.  Additionally, Arizona posted a positive assist:turnover ratio (20:18) vs. UCLA for the 10th time in 13 games this season.

 

Off Target:  It’s certainly no secret that Arizona has struggled with its long range shooting.  Through 13 games only one UA regular with more than 10 attempts is shooting better than 34 percent from three-point range, which has led the team to a cumulative 29.4 (67-of-228) three-point field goal percentage.  The last five games has seen the Cats shoot marginally better (30-of-88/.341) from behind the arc, but not well enough to pull the team’s percentage above 30 percent.  If one removed all of the three-point attempts from the statistics, UA’s field goal percentage would rise to 47.9 percent (295-of-616).  That’s a better percentage than UA shot last season (.478).

 

From the Line:  Thursday’s game saw Arizona shoot a season-best 83.3 percent (15-of-18) from the free throw line, including 11-of-12 (.917) in the second half.

 

Moving Up:  Hassan Adams is close to moving into the top 10 yet another career statistical category, as he is seven attempts shy of 10th place on the UA career FG attempts list.  Entering the game, Adams has 1,243 career field goal attempts.

 

Scoring 80:  Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 146-18 (.890) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points.  Arizona is 4-0 this season when scoring 80 or more points.

 

Always On the Run:  Throughout the season, Arizona has shown the ability to post large scoring runs with some regularity:

29-1 run over 10:43 vs. Virginia, Nov. 27 (UVa went 0-of-12 with seven turnovers during the run)

33-15 run over 10:26 vs. Sam Houston State, Dec. 19 (UA 13-of-20 in run)

21-6 run over 7:12 vs. Michigan State, Nov. 23 (no MSU field goals in last 5:44 of regulation)

20-4 run over 9:10 vs. Kansas, Nov. 21 (KU hits 3-of-first-12 FG attempts with nine TO)

21-5 run over 7:57 at Houston, Dec. 3 (two UH FGs in last eight minutes of first half)

21-9 run over 12:23 vs. Connecticut, Nov. 22 (UA hits 7-of-11 FG in run)

26-13 run over 13:04 vs. Saint Mary’s, Dec. 10 (nine SMC turnovers during run)

38-27 run over 13:52 at Washington, Dec. 31 (UA makes 10-of-first-14 FG to ignite 2nd half run)

 

Early Signees:  Coach Olson and his staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period.  Chase Budinger (F, 6-7, 190) from Carlsbad, Calif., LaCosta High School; Jordan Hill (F, 6-8, 210) from Atlanta, Ga., The Patterson (N.C.) School;  and Nic Wise (G, 5-10, 180) from Kingwood, Texas., Kingwood High School, will join the squad next fall.

 

Up Next:  Following today’s contest, Arizona heads to Oregon to take on Oregon State.  The game, scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 10, will tip-off at 7 p.m. PST and can be seen on FSN Arizona.

 

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