Jan. 21, 2003
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2003
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: FSN (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)
Game Data: Top-ranked Arizona (13-1, 6-0 Pac-10) faces its stiffest test of the season Wednesday against intrastate rival Arizona State (12-5, 4-2 Pac-10) ... Expect a tight game as the last four series games in Tucson have been decided by an average of eight points ... Good shots should be at a premium as Arizona (.409) and Arizona State (.416) rank first and third respectively in Pac-10 field goal percentage defense, while both clubs are allowing fewer than 66 points per game in conference play ... Salim Stoudamire is two three-point field goals shy of 100 for his career.
The Rankings: Arizona reclaimed the No. 1 ranking in the both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls after spending the last two weeks at No. 2. The Cats spent the first six weeks of the season as the nation's top-ranked club. UA has been ranked in 262 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 20th season at Arizona and his 30th overall as a college head coach with a career record of 676-236 (.741) and 484-144 (.771) at Arizona ... He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002 ... Olson recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona during the 2000 campaign and has the third most Pac-10 wins (268) in history, trailing UCLA's John Wooden (304, 1949-75) and Oregon State's Slats Gill (276, 1929-64) ... He has the second-best conference winning percentage (.779/268-76) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74) ... During his 20-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, four Pac-10 Tournament crowns (1988, '89, '90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 18 years in a row, 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 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 15 years (401-97/.805) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 45 NBA Draft picks, including 26 at Arizona - 20 alone since 1990 ... He's led UA to 15 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 24 overall in his career, making him one of only five head coaches in NCAA history to record 24 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 288-29 (.909) in McKale Center and have won 216 of its last 230 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner ... Olson is 33-7 against Arizona State, including a 18-1 mark at McKale Center.
Last Time Out: Salim Stoudamire led five Wildcats in double figures as Arizona rolled to the 87-52 win. The 35-point defeat was UCLA's largest in Pauley Pavilion history. Stoudamire connected on 8-of-13 attempts en route to a game-high 19 points. The Arizona defense held UCLA to a season-low 31.8 percent shooting for the game, including 25 percent shooting and 18 points in the first half. UA also collected a season-high 53 rebounds and posted a +20 rebound advantage. It marked UA's first sweep of Los Angeles since 1992-93.
Scouting Arizona State: The Sun Devils (12-5, 4-2 Pac-10) roll into Tucson having won eight of its last 10 games, though the club was defeated Saturday, 76-74, by USC in its last outing. ASU averages 75.4 points per game and is shooting 49.2 percent from the floor to go with a +4.5 rebound margin. The Devils limit the opposition to 65.7 points and 41.6 percent shooting, while forcing 16.1 turnovers. Individually, four ASU players average in double figures, led by Ike Diogu's 18.4 ppg mark. The freshman has scored in double figures in all 17 games this season.
The Series: Tonight's game marks the 202nd meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 128-73 series advantage. Arizona has won 14 of the last 15 games in the series, which dates back to 1914, including a 73-56 win on March 7, 2002, in the last meeting. All-time, Arizona is 72-25 in series games played in Tucson, 55-48 in Tempe and 1-0 in neutral-site games. See page 123 of the UA media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Arizona 73, Arizona State 56, March 7, 2002: Luke Walton collected 25 points and eight rebounds and Jason Gardner added 22 points as the Wildcats defeated Arizona State, 73-56, in the quarterfinals of the 2002 Pac-10 Tournament. Walton scored 11 of his points in the first half in helping the squad to a nine-point lead at the break and Gardner tallied 13 in the second, as UA extended the lead to as many as 20 points. UA held the Sun Devils to 34.8 percent shooting for the game and outrebounded them 47-39.
Improving Each Week: Salim Stoudamire led Arizona to its third consecutive weekend conference sweep by averaging 16.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists. The sophomore shot 60.0 percent from the field (12-of-20), including 45.5 percent from three-point range, in the two road wins. He opened the week with a 13-point, three-assist performance Thursday at USC in which he connected on 4-of-7 shots from the floor and 3-of-4 from behind the arc. Stoudamire followed that with a game-high 19 points (8-of-13 FGs) to go with three boards, two assists and three steals in the 35-point win Saturday at UCLA. The effort raised his season scoring average to 11.9 points per game and his field goal percentage to 43.4 percent.
Strong Starts: The Wildcats earned its third straight weekend conference sweep Saturday to move to 6-0 in Pac-10 play. It is the fourth time that Arizona has started league play 6-0 under Lute Olson and the first time since 1998. In each of the previous three occasions (1988, 1993, 1998), the Cats went on to win the Pac-10 title. Each Arizona team to start league play 6-0 has gone on to post a 17-1 Pac-10 record.
Take Note: Saturday's win over UCLA provided two noteworthy accomplishments. The victory clinched a sweep of the Southern California in Los Angeles for the first time since 1992-93. Prior to the weekend, Arizona was 7-11 in Los Angeles over the last nine seasons. UA's 35-point win over UCLA was the worst home loss for the Bruins in Pauley Pavilion history. The former mark was a 104-82 defeat to California on Jan. 24, 1993.
Streaking: The Wildcats moved its season-long win streak to eight games, its longest since the 2000-01 squad won 11 straight. Arizona's current 13-1 start is the fourth-best start in school history, topped only by coach Fred A. Enke's 1942-43 and 1946-47 clubs that started 18-1 and 20-1, respectively, and Olson's 1987-88 team that also started 20-1.
Droppin' Dimes: The Cats did a pretty good job of finding the open men in Los Angeles, as the team collected 43 assists in the two victories. Arizona has passed out at least 20 assists in its last four games and six times on the year. In the current four-game streak, 71.2 percent of the team's field goals have been credited with an assist (84-of-118). Jason Gardner has 23 assists (5.8 apg) in his last four games.
In his League: Sophomore center Channing Frye has found conference play to his liking. In six Pac-10 appearances, Frye is averaging 10.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots. He's also connected on 63.4 percent of his field goal attempts in that span. Prior to league play, Frye was averaging 9.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks, while shooting 53.7 percent from the floor.
Clamping Down: Arizona held USC and UCLA to a combined 36.4 field goal percentage (52-of-143) this week, which included back-to-back halves (2nd at USC/1st at UCLA) of 32.1 percent shooting (18-of-56). UCLA's 31.8 percent shooting was a 2002-03 UA opponent season low and marked the fifth time that the club has held its opponent to less than 40 percent shooting. On the season, UA opponents are shooting .409 from the floor. That figure drops to .392 in conference play.
Windex Men: Rebounding continues to be a key to the Wildcats' success, as the team is outrebounding league opponents by a +13.8 margin. That figure is 3.8 rebounds more than UA's +10.0 season average. This weekend in Los Angeles, Arizona posted a +9 rebound advantage over USC (46-37), including 30-16 in the second half, and a 53-33 domination of UCLA. The 53 rebounds Saturday were a season high and it marked the third time UA has grabbed 50 or more rebounds in a game this season. It was also the second time in 2002-03 that UA has posted a rebound margin of +20 or better.
More than Points: Senior guard Jason Gardner averaged 8.0 points and 4.0 assists in the L.A. sweep, but he made contributions in other ways, including on the glass. Gardner grabbed a team-high 15 boards over the weekend, including a career-high 10 rebounds in Thursday's win at USC. All 10 of his rebounds against USC were defensive and six of those came in the game's final five minutes. Incidentally, Gardner finished Saturday's game with exactly 1,700 career points scored, seventh-best in UA school history.
Steady Improvement: Since returning to action on Jan. 9, senior Luke Walton has averaged 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists, while shooting 42.4 percent from the field. Last Thursday at USC, Walton may have played his best all-around game of the year by finishing with 13 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Off the Bench: Andre Iguodala also made his presence felt in Los Angeles, as the 6-foot-6 freshman averaged 8.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists, while shooting 50 percent from the field. In addition to his six-point, nine-rebound effort against UCLA, Iguodala's biggest contribution may have come Thursday at USC. After the Trojans' Desmon Farmer scored 20 first-half points, it was Iguodala who held him to just three second-half points on 1-of-6 shooting to help UA erase as much as a nine-point second-half deficit.
Hometown Hero: Guard Hassan Adams certainly didn't disappoint the homefolks in his return to Los Angles. In the two wins, the freshman averaged 16.0 points and 4.0 rebounds to help UA sweep Los Angeles for the first time since 1992-93. He tallied his third 20-point game of the year Thursday against USC, as he finished with 21 points (9-of-17 FG) and four rebounds. On the season, he is Arizona's second-leading scorer at 13.3 points per game.
Iron Man: Jason Gardner continues to climb ever steadily towards Arizona's career minutes played record. The senior from Indianapolis passed Steve Kerr last weekend and moved into second place on the career minutes played list at 4,158. Only Sean Elliott (1985-89) played more minutes in an Arizona uniform at 4,499. At his current season pace, Gardner should pass Elliott on March 1 at Stanford. Gardner is already the UA leader in career minutes played per game at 35.2.
Halfway to 100: Bolstered by 55.9 percent shooting (19-of-34) in the second half at UCLA, Arizona rattled off 52 points in the second half, marking the fifth time this season the club has tallied at least 50 points in one half. It was also the first time UA had accomplished the feat in conference play.
Top 10: Luke Walton is two steals shy of moving into 10th place on the all-time UA steals list. His 136 pilfers trails Matt Muehlebach's 138 total from 1987-91.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 72-7 (.911) since the start of the 1998-99 season when scoring at least 80 points. The Cats were 16-4 last season when scoring at least 80 points.
Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period. Ndudi Ebi (F, 6-8, 192) from Houston, Texas, Westbury Christian High School, Mustafa Shakur (G, 6-3, 175) from Wynnewood, Pa., Friends Central High School and Kirk Walters (C, 6-10, 210) from Grand Rapids, Mich., South Christian High School will join the squad next fall.
Up Next: Arizona steps out of conference play for a nationally-televised game at No. No. 6 Kansas. The Cats and Jayhawks meet in Lawrence on Saturday, Jan. 25. The contest is scheduled to tip-off at Noon CST and can be seen on CBS-TV.