Feb. 19, 2002
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2002 Time: 7:30 p.m. MST Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz. Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls) TV: FSNA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)
Game Data: No. 14 Arizona (17-8, 10-5 Pac-10) opens a three-game homestand Wednesday against intrastate rival Arizona State (14-10, 7-8 Pac-10) at McKale Center ... The Cats and Sun Devils have combined to win seven of its last 10 games ... UA averages 90.5 points and outscores the opposition by 6.6 points at McKale Center this season and has scored at least 85 points in its last six home games ... As a measure of defensive pressure, Arizona managed just two steals Saturday at USC, a season low.
The Rankings: Arizona dropped two games last week and fell to No. 14 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 16 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. The Cats were unranked in both preseason polls. Arizona has been ranked in 250 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 19th season at Arizona and his 29th overall as a college head coach with a career record of 656-233 (.738) and 464-141 (.767) at Arizona ... He recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona during the 2000 campaign and has the fourth most Pac-10 wins (260) in history, trailing UCLA's John Wooden (304, 1949-75), Oregon State's Slats Gill (276, 1929-64) and Washington's Hec Edmundson (266, 1921-47) ... He has the second-best conference winning percentage in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74) ... During his 19-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 nine Pac-10 Conference titles and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 17 years in a row, which is the 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 six times (1986, '88, '89, '93, '94, '98), 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 14 years (377-87/.813) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 35 NBA Draft picks, including 20 at Arizona - 15 alone since 1990 ... A Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame finalist in each of the last two years, Olson has led UA to 14 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 23 overall in his career, making him one of only seven head coaches in NCAA history to record 23 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 278-28 (.908) in McKale Center and have won 206 of its last 219 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Jay John ...Olson is 31-7 vs. Arizona State, including a 17-1 mark at McKale Center.
Last Time Out: Keyed by David Bluthenthal, USC scored on its final 12 possessions and handed Arizona a 94-89 defeat last Saturday in Los Angeles. Bluthenthal scored 23 of his 31 points in the second half in leading the Trojans back from a seven-point deficit with 11:34 to go. He hit five of six from behind the arc after the break, including 11 points in a span of 3:25 late in the half. Once again, rebounding proved problematic for the Cats, as USC posted a 16-8 rebound advantage on the offensive glass.
Scouting Arizona State: The Sun Devils (14-10, 7-8 Pac-10) play its final road game of the regular season on Wednesday and the squad is 2-7 in such contests this season. ASU downed UCLA, 69-68, last Saturday, led by Chad Prewitt's 22 points and eight rebounds. The Sun Devils average 77.1 points, carry a +5.4 rebound advantage and shoot 46.5 percent from the field. Three ASU players average in double figures, led by Prewitt's 17.6 ppg average.
The Series: Tonight's game marks the 200th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 126-73 series advantage. The Wildcats have won 12 of the last 13 games in the series, which dates back to 1914, but the Sun Devils captured the last meeting in convincing fashion, 88-72, in Tempe on Jan. 23. All-time, Arizona is 71-25 in series games played in Tucson, 55-48 in Tempe, and 0-0 in neutral-site games. See page 86 in the UA media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Arizona State 88, Arizona 72, Jan. 23, 2002. Arizona State shot 53.8 percent from the floor, posted a 39-29 rebound advantage and forced 18 UA turnovers to earn the 16-point win. The defeat snapped UA's 12-game win streak in the series and was ASU's largest margin of victory over the Cats since 1982. Luke Walton was the lone bright spot for Arizona in an otherwise lackluster performance, as he collected his fifth double-double of the year with game-high totals of 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Guarded Optimism: Jason Gardner broke out of his shooting slump in a big way last week by shooting .581 (18-of-31) from the field and .636 (14-of-22) from three-point range en route to averages of 26.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in the two games. He opened the week by scoring a game-high 25 points in Thursday's one-point loss at UCLA by connecting on 8-of-14 field goal attempts, including 7-of-10 from three-point range, and adding two assists. His hot shooting continued Saturday at USC, as Gardner hit 10-of-17 shots from the field, including 7-of-12 from behind the arc, and grabbed three rebounds and passed out five assists. He has 13 20-point games to date this season and his 84 treys rank fifth on the Arizona single-season three-point field goals list. He is averaging 20.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game.
Bouncing Back: Despite its youthful makeup, the 2001-02 Arizona Wildcats have proven to be a resilient bunch. This season, Arizona has a 4-2 record in games immediately following a defeat. Dating back to the 1996-97 season, Arizona is 30-7 in games following a defeat. UA has not lost three consecutive games since the 1991-92 season.
Record-Setting Performance: Jason Gardner hit seven treys against both UCLA and USC, which was one shy of his own school record of eight set Dec. 1 vs. Kansas. Gardner's efforts helped Arizona set a new school record as a team Saturday with 16 three-point field goals (in 29 attempts), breaking the old mark of 15 set at Oregon on Jan. 30, 1992.
Broken Glass: The Cats lost both games in Los Angeles primarily due to the fact that it got hammered on the glass. UCLA and USC combined to post a +19 rebound advantage for the weekend, including a 33-14 advantage on the offensive boards. The Bruins' 45-28 rebound advantage was the largest for a UA opponent this season.
Moving Up: Jason Gardner enters play tonight with 1,335 career points, which places him 17th on the all-time UA scoring list. Just ahead of the guard from Indianapolis is Ernie McCray, who tallied 1,349 points from 1958-60. Incidentally, Gardner has 67 double-figure scoring games in his 95-game career.
Iron Men: One would be hard-pressed to find a pair of teammates that log as many minutes as Arizona's Jason Gardner and Luke Walton. Garner (38.0) and Walton (36.8) combine to play 74.8 minutes per game. Gardner has played 40+ minutes 11 times this season, while Walton has played 40+ minutes four times, including two 45-minute efforts this year.
Nice Weekend: Junior Rick Anderson also put forth a solid weekend in Los Angeles, totaling 33 points and 23 rebounds in the games against UCLA and USC. The Long Beach, Calif., native registered double-doubles in both games (his fifth and sixth of the year) and equaled career highs with 18 points and 38 minutes played Saturday at USC.
Change of Venue: A few extra days in Los Angeles might have done the Cats some good. In Arizona's last two games at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, the squad has shot 52.8 percent (65-of-123) from the floor, including 62.5 percent from three-point range (30-of-48). Jason Gardner is even better, shooting 64.0 percent (16-of-25) from the floor and 68.4 percent (13-of-19) from behind the arc.
Is this a Track Meet?: Arizona is among the leaders nationally with its 83.0 team scoring average. One figure that is troubling is that the club is allowing 80.2 points per game this season, the highest UA opponent scoring average since 1976-77 (82.5 ppg). No Lute Olson coached team has allowed more than 75.8 points per game (1994-95). Arizona has allowed 90 or more points five times in 2001-02, the most since 1997-98.
Close Calls: Entering last week, Arizona was 6-1 in games decided by five points or less before dropping two such contests in Los Angeles. It also marked the Wildcats' first two losses of the year in which the team led at the half. UA is now 10-2 in such contests.
Against the Norm: In Saturday's loss at USC, Arizona shot 51.9 percent (28-of-54) from the floor. In another statistical anomaly, it marked the first time in eight games that the team had lost when shooting 50 percent or better from the floor, and the first loss in 15 games when outshooting the opposition.
Droppin' Dimes: Led by Luke Walton's 10 assists at USC, Arizona did manage to collect 21 assists on Saturday, which was two shy of a season high. It marked the sixth time this year that Arizona has posted at least 20 assists in a game.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 56-7 (.889) since the start of the 1998-99 season when scoring at least 80 points. Last year, the Cats were a spotless 17-0 when scoring at least 80 points, and are 11-4 this year.
Top-10 List: Jason Gardner continues to move himself up various career top-10 lists. In addition to being the career leader in minutes per game (35.4), he also ranks second in career three-point field goals (230), second in three-point FG attempts (616), eighth in steals (155), ninth in starts (94), and 10th in assists (428) and free throws (343). Gardner and Damon Stoudamire are the only UA players with 200 or more career three-point field goals and 600 or more attempts.
Good Looks: Freshman Salim Stoudamire scored an efficient 18 points Saturday at USC, by connecting on 6-of-8 shots from the floor, including 4-of-6 from three-point range. The guard from Portland, Ore., also notched a pair of season highs on Saturday by passing out four assists and playing 38 minutes. All told, Stoudamire is shooting 43.7 percent from the field averages 12.6 points and 30.1 minutes per game. He leads all UA freshmen with 17 double-figure scoring games.
Doubling Up: Luke Walton recorded his eighth double-double of the season with a 19-point, 10-assist performance at USC. It is the third time this season that Walton has collected at least 10 assists in a game. He remains the Pac-10 leader in assists at 6.2 assists per game.
500 Club: By scoring 52 points in a pair of games last week, Jason Gardner became the 26th player (accomplished 40 times) in Arizona history to score 500 or more points in a season. His current 20.6 ppg scoring average would rank 10th on the school's single-season scoring average list.
Tough Schedule: UA's record against ranked teams this season is now 7-5. Forty-eight percent of the team's games this year have been against nationally-ranked opponents.
A Rarity: The Wildcats fell out of first place in the Pacific-10 Conference standings by virtue of its two losses last week in Los Angeles. In the Lute Olson era, Arizona has suffered just seven sweeps in 72 Pac-10 road trips.
Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed two student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November Early Signing Period. Hassan Adams (G, 6-4, 205) from Los Angeles, Calif., Westchester High School and Chris Rodgers (G, 6-4, 190) from Portland, Ore., Woodrow Wilson High School will join the squad next fall.
Up Next: Following Wednesday's game, Arizona gets an eight-day break in the schedule before hosting No. 10 Stanford on Thursday, Feb. 28. The game will be broadcast nationally on Fox Sports Net and is scheduled to tip-off at 8:30 p.m. MST. Arizona hosts California on Saturday, March 2, in its final home game of the 2001-02 campaign. That game will be televised by CBS-TV at Noon MST.