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Cats Take on Unbeaten No. 7 Huskies in Seattle
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 12/30/2005
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Game 12: Arizona (8-3, 1-0) at No. 7 Washington (11-0, 1-0)

Date: Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005

Time: 11 a.m. PST

Location: Bank of America Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion (10,000), Seattle, Wash.

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

TV: FSN (Steve Physioc/Marques Johnson)

Game Data: Arizona (8-3, 1-0 Pac-10) closes out the calendar year 2005 Saturday at No. 7 Washington (11-0, 1-0 Pac-10) in Seattle ... It’s the first of two scheduled morning tip-offs for Arizona during the Pac-10 season ... After winning four consecutive games at Bank of America Arena/Hec Edmundson Pavilion (2000-03), UA has dropped its last two in the facility.

The Rankings: Arizona received votes in both the Associated Press Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. It’s the second straight week that the Cats have been unranked since the start of the 1987-88 season. Prior to last week, UA had been ranked in 312 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.

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 749-259 (.743) and 557-167 (.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 700th collegiate victory on Jan. 3, 2004, and became Arizona’s career victories leader (510) on Jan. 17, 2004 ... He has the most Pac-10 wins (306) of any coach in league history ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.779/306-87) 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 327-33 (.908) in McKale Center and have won 255 of its last 272 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon ... Olson is 31-16 against Washington.

Last Time Out: Hassan Adams scored a game-high 25 points Thursday to lead Arizona to a 70-52 win over Washington State in Spokane. During one 2:45 stretch of the second half Adams scored 10 straight points as the Wildcats pushed the lead to 17 points. UA limited WSU to a season-low 33.3 field goal percentage, including 28.6 percent in the second half, and posted a 47-27 rebound advantage. Marcus Williams added 15 points, while Kirk Walters added nine points and seven rebounds.

Scouting Washington: The unbeaten Huskies carry an 11-0 record (1-0 Pac-10) into this afternoon’s game following Thursday’s 91-67 win over Arizona State. UW is outscoring the opposition by 24.5 points per game and has won 10 of 11 games by at least 10 points. As a team, the Huskies shoot 50.1 percent from the field (375-of-749), including 35.9 percent (66-of-184) from three-point range, while averaging 91.5 points per game. Opponents shoot at a 41.5 percent clip and are being outrebounded by 7.4 rebounds per game. Four Huskies average in double figures, led by Brandon Roy’s 17.7 ppg figure.

The Series: Tonight’s game is the 58th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 37-20 series advantage. UA has won nine of the last 14 meetings in the series, which dates back to Dec. 29, 1964, but UW claimed the last two. All-time, Arizona is 21-5 in series games played in Tucson, 15-13 in Seattle, Wash., and 1-2 in neutral-site games. Please see page 104 in the UA media guide for more series information.

Last Meeting: Washington 81, Arizona 72, March 12, 2005: In a tie game with 3:34 to go, Washington made every play necessary to win on both ends of the court and outscored Arizona 11-2 the rest of the way to claim the Pac-10 Tournament title. UW’s offensive balance and a 41-26 rebound advantage spelled doom for the Wildcats and offset a career day by Salim Stoudamire in which he scored 37 points and earned tournament Most-Outstanding-Player honors.

Elite Company: A win today would give Arizona head coach Lute Olson his 750th coaching victory on the NCAA Division I level, which would make him the 15th coach in NCAA history (covering all levels) to win 750 games. In 33 years as a head coach, Olson has a career record of 749-259 (.743).

It won’t Be Easy: Getting a win on Saturday won’t be easy against nationally-ranked Washington, as the Wildcats are 0-2 against ranked teams this season. UA lost to No. 3 Connecticut and No. 12 Michigan State at the EA Sports Maui Invitational. While Arizona is 99-67 (.596) against ranked opponents under Lute Olson, the squad is just 6-9 (.400) vs. such foes since the start of the 2003-04 season.

Quite a Run: Senior guard Hassan Adams has enjoyed a nice run of late, as the Los Angeles native is averaging 23.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 3.2 steals over his last five games. In that span, the 6-foot-4 Adams has made 50-of-89 (.562) of his field goal attempts. He currently leads the Pac-10 in scoring (19.8 ppg) and steals (2.82 spg). The effort has helped the Wildcats average 77.8 points per game in the last five games, a figure this is four points higher than its season scoring average (73.8 ppg).

It’s Consistent, Too: Hassan Adams’ current scoring run hasn’t appeared out of nowhere. Adams is the only UA player to have finished in double figures in all 11 games to date and he leads all Pac-10 players with seven 20-point games in 2005-06. He has 81 double-figure scoring games, and 23 20-point games in his 110-game career.

Finding the Right Combination: In Thursday’s win at Washington State, Arizona used its sixth different starting lineup this season. Nine players have earned starting nods for the Wildcats this year. It may not be stable, but five of the six combinations have provided at least one win in 2005-06. Mustafa Shakur is the only Wildcat to start all 11 games.

Turning them into points: It’s not surprising that a team that collects a lot of steals would (obviously) also force a lot of turnovers. So it would follow that Arizona averages 11.91 steals per game and forces an average of 22.7 turnovers per game. All told, Arizona has forced 21 or more turnovers and collected 10 or more steals in eight of 11 games. On the season, Arizona has converted the opponents’ 250 turnovers into 276 points ?- that’s more than 100 more than it has surrendered. On average, Arizona holds a 25.0-13.5 advantage in points off turnovers per game this season.

Getting Defensive: Arizona hasn’t exactly shot the ball well this season, but the percentages can shed a bit of light on the team’s chances to win. This year, Arizona is 6-0 when shooting better from the field than the opposition.

Not to be Outdone: As mentioned earlier, Hassan Adams is averaging better than 23 points per game over his last five outings. Freshman Marcus Williams comes to Seattle riding a similarly productive streak. In the last six games, the 6-foot-7 forward is averaging 14.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He’s connected on 35-of-57 (.614) field goal attempts in that span. Even more impressively, Williams has made 77.8 percent (21-of-27) of his field goal attempts in the last three games.

Controlling the Boards: Rebounding could prove to be a key factor on Saturday, as Arizona is 4-1 this season when outrebounding the opposition and Washington is 10-0. Four Wildcats grabbed at least five rebounds in Thursday’s win over Washington State as the UA posted a 47-27 rebound advantage. It marked the second time this year that the Cats have outrebounded the opposition by 20 or more. Incidentally, Mustafa Shakur grabbed a career-high nine rebounds Thursday vs. the Cougars.

Offensive Effort: Led by Hassan Adams’ season-high six offensive rebounds (eight total), Arizona grabbed 21 offensive boards Thursday against the Cougars. Three times this year Arizona has collected 20 or more offensive rebounds.

Count on it: One constant for the Wildcats in 2005-06 has been the team’s defense. Arizona limited Washington State to a season-low 33.3 (17-of-51) field goal percentage. The Cats have held six foes to less than 40 percent shooting this season. Through 11 games, UA is limiting opponents to 41.1 percent (245-of-596) shooting.

Another Defensive Note: The Wildcats held Washington State to only 17 field goals on Thursday while forcing 18 turnovers. It was the seventh time this season that a UA opponent has finished the game with more turnovers than field goals.

A Spirited Effort: Center Kirk Walters came off the bench to tally nine points and a career-high seven rebounds Thursday at Washington State. The 6-foot-10 junior from Grand Rapids, Mich., hit 4-of-5 field goals, blocked two shots and collected two steals. On the year, Walters is averaging 6.4 points, and 3.5 rebounds per game. He also leads the Pac-10 Conference with an average of 2.10 blocked shots per game.

Strong off the bench: Freshman J.P. Prince registered seven points, four rebounds and four assists in 22 minutes on Thursday. The 6-foot-6 guard from Memphis, Tenn., hit 3-of-5 field goal attempts and added two blocked shots and three steals. While averaging 15.3 minutes per game, Prince ranks second on the club with 34 assists and leads the Pac-10 with a 2.83 assist:turnover ratio.

Taking Over: Hassan Adams put his own stamp on Thursday’s win early in the second half. Less than three minutes into the second stanza, Adams scored 10 straight points for Arizona. Adams had two steals and an offensive rebound and single-handedly outscored Washington State, 10-3, in that 2:45 span.

Fast Starts Help: Getting off to a good start has been key for the Cats, as the team is 6-0 this year when leading at the half. That proves helpful in closing out games, as Arizona outscores the opposition by an average of 1.3 points in the first half and 11.1 points after the break.

Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 145-18 (.890) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona is 3-0 this season when scoring 80 or more points.

Finding Positives: 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)

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 game, Arizona returns home to host the league’s Southern California teams. The two-game homestand opens on Thursday, Jan. 5, when the Wildcats meet UCLA. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. MST and can be seen nationally on Fox Sports Net.

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