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Men's Basketball Game Notes vs. Saint Mary's, 12/10/2005
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 12/10/2005
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Game 7:  No. 24 Arizona (3-3) vs. Saint Mary’s (1-2)

Date:  Saturday, Dec. 10, 2005

Time:  Noon MST

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

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

TV:  FSNA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)

 

Game Data:  No. 24 Arizona (2-3, 0-0 Pac-10) plays consecutive home games for the first time this season as the Wildcats host Saint Mary’s (1-2, 0-0 WCC) ... UA looks for consecutive wins for the first time in 2005-06 ... This is Arizona’s seventh game of the season and five of them have been afternoon starts ... The Cats are 1-3 in games decided by 10 points or less.

 

The Rankings:  Arizona slipped to No. 24 in the current Associated Press Top 25 and to No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Polls.  UA has been ranked in 306 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 744-259 (.742) and 552-167 (.768) 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 (305) of any coach in league history ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.778/305-87) 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 324-33 (.908) in McKale Center and have won 252 of its last 269 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon ... Olson is 2-0 against Saint Mary’s.

 

Last Time Out:  Arizona made just enough plays down the stretch to hold off Northern Arizona Thursday in the 75-66 win.  Hassan Adams scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half, including eight of Arizona’s first 12 points in the second stanza, to lead the Wildcats, while Ivan Radenovic posted his second consecutive double-double and J.P. Prince added 10 assists.  UA turned 21 NAU turnovers into 24 points in the contest and enjoyed a 40-26 advantage on points in the paint.

 

Scouting Saint Mary’s:  The Gaels bring a 1-2 record into Saturday’s game following the team’s 75-69 loss Dec. 3 vs. Rutgers.  As a team, SMC shoots 45.7 percent from the field (74-of-162), including 41.3 percent (26-of-63) from three-point range, while averaging 72.0 points per game.  Opponents muster only a .401 field goal percentage and 63.0 points per game.  Two Gaels average in double figures, led by Daniel Kickert’s 21.0 ppg average.

 

The Series:  Tonight’s game marks the sixth meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 3-2 series lead. Arizona has won the last two games in the series, which dates back to Jan. 28, 1949, including a 84-78 win in Tucson on Dec. 17, 2003.  All-time, Arizona is 2-1 in series games played in Tucson, 0-0 in Moraga, Calif., and 0-2 in neutral-site games.  See page 102 of the UA media guide for more series information.

 

Last Meeting:  Arizona 84, Saint Mary’s 78; Dec. 17, 2003. For the second time in as many games, Arizona needed a second-half rally to overcome a deficit and earn a victory.  This time it was a 15-2 run over the final 3:06 that gave the Wildcats a six-point win over a Saint Mary’s club that controlled tempo and owned the glass for the first 37 minutes.  In the final 3:06, Arizona hit 3-of-5 field goals, 9-of-10 free throws and outrebounded SMC, 7-0.  Channing Fyre scored 18 of his career-high 26 points in the second half.

 

Against the West Coast:  The Wildcats are 24-13 (.649) all-time vs. West Coast Conference foes.

 

Above .500:  Arizona looks to win consecutive games for the first time in 2005-06 and move above the .500 mark for the first time since winning the season opener.  Entering the seventh game of the year with a 3-3 mark, the Wildcats haven’t been a .500 club this far into the season since 1986-87, when that team opened with a 3-3 record and went on to finish with an 18-12 mark.

 

Front Line Strength:  The front line duo of Ivan Radenovic and Kirk Walters proved formidable on Thursday, combining for 27 points, 16 rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals.  Radenovic hit 4-of-9 field goals and grabbed six offensive rebounds as he equaled a season high with 11 boards, while Walters posted his most productive game since the season opener with 13 points (5-of-7 FG), five rebounds and three blocked shots.

 

Doubling Up, Again:  Ivan Radenovic notched his second consecutive double-double Thursday with 14 points and a season-high 11 rebounds.  It was his sixth career double-double.  The 6-foot-10 forward is the only UA player to register a double-double in 2005-06.  Incidentally, Channing Frye was the last UA player to register three consecutive double-doubles on March 20-27, 2003.

 

Board Work:  Led by Ivan Radenovic’s 11 rebounds, Arizona outrebounded Northern Arizona, 42-35, including a 25-15 advantage in the second half.  It marked the second straight game that Arizona has outrebounded the opposition and the only two times it has happened in 2005-06.

 

Showing Improvement:  The Wildcats continue to struggle with its field goal percentage through six games, as the squad has connected on 39.6 percent (153-of-386) of its field goal attempts.  The team’s biggest deficiency has been from long distance.  The Wildcats have made only 29.1 percent of its three-point attempts (32-of-110), which is the lowest percentage on record since the three-point shot was instituted in 1986-87.  If you removed the three-point shot from UA’s shooting percentage, the overall figure would rise to 43.8 percent.  This trend was plainly evident in Thursday’s game, as the Cats shot just 4-of-22 (.182) from behind the arc.  If those numbers were removed, UA’s field goal percentage on shots taken inside the arc was 45.5 percent (25-of-55).

 

Worth Noting:  A solid 14-of-30 (.467) shooting effort in the second half on Thursday enabled the Wildcats to out-shot Northern Arizona .433-.417.  It marked only the second time this season (Virginia) that Arizona has posted a better field goal percentage than the opposition.  How important is that?  Since the start of the 2003-04 season, Arizona is 43-5 (.896) when shooting better than the opposition.  Arizona is 2-0 this season when accomplishing the feat.

 

Getting What You’d Expect:  Guard Hassan Adams has been giving the club exactly what is counted on from a senior leader:  consistent production, as he leads the Cats with a 16.8 ppg average and 15 steals.  Adams has scored in double figures in all six games to date, and over his last four is averaging 19.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists.  Thursday against NAU. Adams equaled a season high with 21 points, grabbed eight boards and passed out five assists with no turnovers in 35 minutes played.

 

the Season for Giving:  Freshman point guard J.P. Prince must be caught up in the holiday spirit as he passed out a season-high 10 assists (against one turnover) in Thursday’s win over Northern Arizona.  The 6-foot-6 product of Memphis, Tenn., also notched four points and four rebounds.  It was just the 11th double-figure assist game for a UA player in the last five seasons.  He joins four other Wildcats (Jason Gardner, 1; Luke Walton, 5; Andre Iguodala, 3; and Mustafa Shakur, 1) as the only players to collect at least one double-figure assist game since the start of the 2001-02 season.

 

Points in the Paint:  The Wildcats enjoyed a 40-26 points in the paint scoring advantage on Thursday, which extended a season-long trend.  On the season, Arizona has outscored its opponents in the paint, 180-166.  On average, 30 of Arizona’s 70.5 points per game are scored in the paint. 

 

The Turnover Game:  Arizona continues to do a nice job of forcing turnovers, as NAU committed 21 on Thursday.  On average, UA opponents are turning it over 21.7 times per game this season.  UA opponents have committed 20 or more turnovers in a game four times in 2005-06.

 

In the Middle:  Junior Kirk Walters turned in a productive effort not seen since the season opener, collecting 13 points (5-of-7 FG), five boards and three blocked shots vs. Northern Arizona.  It was his first time in double figures since the Kansas game on Nov. 21, when he tallied 13 points and seven rebounds.  On the year, the 6-foot-10 Walters is averaging 7.5 points and 3.5 rebounds, while shooting .500 (17-of-34) from the field.

 

More Comfortable:  Freshman Marcus Williams certainly looked more assertive against Northern Arizona, as he poured in 17 points and added three boards, five assists and a block in 35 minutes.  The 6-foot-7 forward from Seattle knocked down 8-of-14 field goal attempts and scored 11 of those 17 points in the first half.  The effort raised his season averages to 7.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.

 

A Shot-Blocking Presence:  Led by Kirk Walters’ game-high three blocks, Arizona tallied a season-high six blocked shots in Thursday’s win.  Through six games, the Wildcats are averaging 3.8 blocked shots per game.

 

Finding Positives:  Despite the fact that Arizona currently holds a 3-3 record, the team has shown the ability to post large scoring runs in each game to date:

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

 

Scoring 80:  Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 143-18 (.888) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points.  Arizona is 1-0 this season when scoring 80 or more points.

 

Tops in the Pac-10:  In the annual poll of media members who regularly cover the Pac-10 Conference, Arizona was selected as the team to beat for the league title for the fourth year in a row and 11th time in the last 16 seasons.  The Cats received 23 of a possible 34 first place votes and 325 points overall.  Stanford (294), UCLA (263) and Washington (238) rounded out the top four spots.  It is the 11th time in the last 16 seasons that Arizona has been tabbed the preseason Pac-10 favorite.  Arizona has gone on to win the league title eight times in that span.

 

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 gets a week off for final exams.  The Wildcats return to action on Saturday, Dec. 17, when the team travels to Salt Lake City, Utah, to take on the University of Utah.  Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. MST and can be seen on ESPN.

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