Game 6: No. 21 Arizona (3-2) vs. Wyoming (3-0)
Date: Tuesday, Nov. 30 2004
Time: 7 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSNA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)
Game Data: No. 21 Arizona (3-2, 0-0 Pac-10) returns home following a three-game road trip to host Wyoming (3-0, 0-0 MWC) Tuesday in McKale Center ... This is Arizona’s sixth game this month, marking the busiest November in program history ... Over the past 21 years, Arizona is 49-10 (.831) in the month of November, including a 20-0 record at home.
The Rankings: Arizona slipped to No. 21 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and 20th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. UA has been ranked in 288 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 22nd season at Arizona and his 32nd overall as a college head coach with a career record of 714-251 (.740) and 522-159 (.767) at Arizona ... He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002 ... 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 second-most Pac-10 wins (290) in history, trailing UCLA’s John Wooden (304, 1949-75) ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.775/290-84) and second-most league championships won (10) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74/16 titles) ... During his 22-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 10 Pac-10 Conference titles, four Pac-10 Tournament crowns (1988, ?'89, ?'90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 20 years, 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 17 years (449-111/.802) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 47 NBA Draft picks, including 28 at Arizona ?- 21 alone since 1990 ... He’s led UA to 17 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 26 overall in his career, making him one of only five head coaches in NCAA history to record 25 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 309-32 (.906) in McKale Center and have won 237 of its last 254 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner ... Olson is 2-0 against Wyoming.
Last Time Out: Arizona shot 31.6 percent from the floor and missed three opportunities to take the lead in the final 30 seconds in a 63-60 loss Friday to top-ranked Wake Forest. UA shot less than 40 percent for the third straight game and suffered its first loss at Madison Square Garden since 1951. The Cats held their own on the glass (44-46), including a 23-17 offensive rebound advantage, and forced nine more turnovers. Hassan Adams scored a season-high 19 points and added eight rebounds.
Scouting Wyoming: The Cowboys enter Tuesday’s game with 3-0 record after a 86-79 win Saturday over Texas-Arlington. Wyoming shoots 42.9 percent from the field (70-of-163), posts a +3.3 rebound margin and uses a +38 scoring advantage from the free throw line to outscore the opposition by 8.7 points per game. Individually, three players average in double figures, led by Steve Leven’s 22.0 points per game average. Jay Straight chips in with per game averages of 12.7 points and 7.0 assists, while Alex Dunn averages 11.0 points and 12.0 rebounds.
The Series: Tuesday’s game marks the 35th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 19-15 series advantage. The majority of those games took place while each school was a member of the Western Athletic Conference (1963-78). Arizona has won the last two series meetings, including a 68-60 win on March 16, 2002, in the second round of the NCAA West Regional in Albuquerque. All-time, Arizona is 13-3 in series games played in Tucson, 4-12 in Laramie and 2-0 in neutral-site games. Please see page 105 of the Arizona media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Arizona 68, Wyoming 60, March 16, 2002: Luke Walton scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in the second half, including two key field goals in the final five minutes, to lead Arizona to an eight-point win over Wyoming and send the team to its second straight berth in the “Sweet 16.” Channing Frye also came up big, registering 18 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks, as the Cats outrebounded the Cowboys, 38-37. UA, who outscored Wyoming 20-4 from the free throw line, held the lead for the game’s final 28:27.
Against the Mountain West: Bolstered by several former members of the Western Athletic Conference, Arizona has played a total of 308 games against schools that currently reside in the Mountain West Conference, the highest total of any NCAA Division I conference outside of the Pac-10. In those games, Arizona has a 177-131 (.575) record.
All-Tournament: Two Arizona players were included on the Preseason N.I.T. all-tournament team after solid performances in New York City. Junior Hassan Adams and senior Salim Stoudamire were among six players recognized. Adams averaged 14.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in the pair of games, while Stoudamire averaged 12.0 points and 2.0 rebounds, while six of his nine field goals came from behind the arc.
Streaks Stopped: Arizona saw its 15-game Preseason N.I.T. win streak come to an end in Friday’s 63-60 loss to Wake Forest. Entering the championship game, the Cats had won 15 consecutive tournament games dating back to 1990. Arizona had won preseason N.I.T. titles in 1990, 1995 and 1999. The UA loss was also the first in 11 career appearances at Madison Square Garden for Lute Olson. Olson was 9-0 with Arizona and 1-0 with Long Beach State at MSG.
An Anomaly: UA’s 3-2 record after five games is the worst start for the program since 1992-93 when the club also started 3-2. That 1992-93 squad rebounded to win the Pac-10 championship and post a 24-4 record.
Declining Productivity: In its last three games, Arizona has amassed 60, 61 and 60 points. That’s the fewest points scored by an Arizona club in three straight games since the 1986-87 season, when UA tallied 161 points from Dec. 29-Jan. 3. In that span, Arizona defeated Texas Tech, 53-40, defeated Oregon State, 54-48 and lost at Oregon, 55-54, in overtime.
Better on the other End of the Court: Despite Arizona’s offensive woes, the Wildcats have been pretty good on the defensive end of the field. In the games against Michigan and Wake Forest, UA limited the teams to a combined 40.0 percent shooting (46-of-115), outrebounded them by a +4.5 margin and forced nine more turnovers. In those two games, Arizona allowed 123 total points (61.5 ppg) to a pair of clubs who were averaging a combined 79.1 points per game prior to facing Arizona.
From the Point: In his 35-game career, Arizona is 18-4 when Mustafa Shakur passes out five or more assists in a game. So it would only figure that it’s a good thing that the 6-foot-3 point guard is averaging 6.2 assists per game on the young season. In addition to his ability to distribute the ball, Shakur is averaging 10.2 points and 5.4 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game.
A Call for Straight Shooters: One thing that has gone awry for the Wildcats this season is its shooting percentage. In its first five games to date, Arizona is shooting just 38.8 percent (132-of-340) from the field. In its games against Michigan and Wake Forest this week, UA shot just 31.5 percent (47-of-149) from the floor, and has only shot 50 percent or better from the field once this season (55.9 vs. Wright State). No Arizona player is approaching 50 percent from the field, as Salim Stoudamire’s 46.6 field goal percentage (27-of-58) leads the club. Interestingly, the lowest field goal percentage posted by the Wildcats in the Lute Olson era is the 45.3 percent mark hoisted by the 1996-97 national championship club.
Yet to Warm Up: After five games, Arizona is averaging just 68.8 points per game. For a program that led the nation in the scoring in each of the past two seasons, the 68.8 points per game is 17.2 points per game less than the 86.0 points averaged over the previous two seasons. While it is too soon to extrapolate numbers, The current season scoring average is the lowest for the program since the 1985-86 club also averaged 68.8 points per game. Incidentally, that 1985-86 club won the first of Olson’s 10 Pac-10 championships.
Good Guard Play: One figure that may have been overlooked in Friday’s loss to Wake Forest was that Arizona committed a season-low eight turnovers. Playing a total of 100 minutes, the Wildcat guards (Shakur/Stoudamire/Rodgers/McClellan) turned it over just one time, while passing out nine assists. On the other end of the court, the quartet forced the Demon Deacon guards into 11 of the team’s 17 turnovers.
No Jitters: One of the pleasant surprises to come from Arizona’s appearance in New York was the performance of freshman Jawann McClellan. The 6-foot-4 guard from Houston, Texas, averaged 11.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in the two games, while shooting 58.3 percent (7-of-12) from the field. In Friday’s game against Wake Forest, McClellan hit 4-of-8 shots from the floor, including 2-of-3 from three-point range, en route to 11 points to go with eight rebounds (five offensive).
A Role More Familiar: With the emergence of Jawann McClellan last week and the desire to get more productivity from the four spot, Olson mentioned this week that Hassan Adams may return to the power forward slot he occupied last year. If Friday’s game was any indication, Olson may be on the right track as Adams posted season-high totals of 19 points and eight rebounds against Wake Forest.
Contributing in Other Ways: Despite hitting just 1-of-11 field goal attempts against Wake Forest, forward Ivan Radenovic definitely found other ways to contribute statistically. The 6-foot-10 sophomore collected career-high totals of five assists and three steals to go with five rebounds. On the year, Radenovic is averaging 9.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.
From the Line: The fact that Arizona attempted a Lute Olson-era low three free throws in Friday’s game only highlights the lack of productivity from the charity stripe. On the season Arizona has made only four fewer free throws (48-52) than the opposition, but has 13 fewer attempts. Over the last five seasons (1999-2000 to 2003-04), Arizona averaged 6.6 more made free throws per game (1,091 total) than the opposition in those 166 games. In each season, UA made more FTs than the opposition attempted.
Six Million: The University of Arizona's McKale Center should achieve a significant milestone tonight as it is expected to pass the six million mark in total attendance for Wildcat basketball games. Since its opening Feb. 1, 1973, in a 87-69 win over Wyoming, the facility has played host to 5,989,727 total fans in 477 games (12,557 avg.). Just 10,273 fans are needed to reach the six-million mark tonight.
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. The Cats received 19 of a possible 26 first-place votes and 253 points overall. Washington (237), Stanford (194) and Oregon (167) rounded out the top four places. It is the 10th time since 1989-90 that UA has been the predicted winner in the preseason poll.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 126-16 (.887) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. The Cats are 2-0 this season when topping the 80-point plateau.
Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period. Fendi Onobun (F, 6-7, 215) from Houston, Texas, Alief Taylor High School; J.P. Prince (G, 6-6, 183) from Memphis, Tenn., White Station High School; and Marcus Williams (F, 6-6, 190) from Seattle, Wash., Roosevelt High School, will join the squad next fall.
Up Next: The Wildcats travel to Anaheim, Calif., to participate in the John R. Wooden Classic. Arizona will face 15th-ranked Mississippi State in the first game of the doubleheader on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 1:30 p.m. PST. UCLA vs. Boston College follows at approximately 4 p.m. Both games can be seen nationally on several cable outlets, including WGN-TV, NESN and the MSG network. The Arizona game will also be shown in Tucson on KTTU-TV, channel 18.