Feb. 5, 2002
Date: Thursday, Feb. 7, 2002 Time: 6:30 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. 11 Arizona (15-6, 8-3 Pac-10) returns home after a Bay Area sweep to host Washington (8-13, 2-9 Pac-10) Thursday in McKale Center ... The Washington schools are a combined 1-35 in McKale Center in the Lute Olson era ... Five of the Cats' last seven regular-season games are at home ... Last week's victories at California and Stanford put the Cats within a game of first place in the Pac-10 standings ... In Saturday's win at Stanford, the Cats committed just three turnovers in the game's last 25 minutes ... Three UA players (Walton/Frye/Gardner) played more than 40 minutes in the OT win at Stanford.
The Rankings: After road wins at California and Stanford last week, Arizona rose to No. 11 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 13 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. The Cats were unranked in both preseason polls. Arizona has been ranked in 248 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 654-231 (.739) and 462-139 (.769) 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 (258) 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 276-28 (.908) in McKale Center and have won 204 of its last 217 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Jay John ...Olson is 32-15 vs. Washington, including a 17-1 mark at McKale Center.
Last Time Out: The Wildcats used solid shooting and timely defense to erase a 15-point second half deficit last Saturday and defeat Stanford in overtime. UA shot .512 in the second half (.625 in overtime) and limited the Cardinal to .353 shooting and forced 10 turnovers after the break. All five UA starters finished in double figures, including three with 20 or more points. Channing Frye led the way by hitting 10-of-13 FG attempts en route to a career-high 22-point, 10 rebound performance.
Scouting Washington: The Huskies (8-13, 2-9 Pac-10), enter Thursday's game having lost five of its last six games including an 81-79 defeat to intrastate rival Washington State on Jan. 31. UW is averaging 71.1 points and 37.0 rebounds per game, while shooting .433 from the floor, but is being outscored (75.9), outrebounded (37.4) and outshot (.437) by the opposition. Individually, Washington is led by Doug Wrenn, who averages 19.2 points per game, while David Dixon leads the club in rebounding at 8.0 boards per game.
The Series: Tonight's game marks the 49th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 33-15 series advantage. The Wildcats have won the last five games in the series, which dates back to Dec. 29, 1964, including a 74-69 decision in Seattle on Jan. 12. All-time, Arizona is 18-4 in series games played in Tucson, 14-11 in Seattle, and 1-0 in neutral-site games. See page 87 in the UA media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Arizona 74, Washington 69, Jan. 12, 2002. Jason Gardner scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half to lead Arizona to the five-point win over the Huskies. Gardner, who was 4-of-6 from three-point range in the second half, scored eight of the Cats' final 13 points to close it out. UA held a 20-9 scoring advantage from the free throw line and placed four players in double figures. Rick Anderson collected his third double-double of the year with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Becoming a Habit: Luke Walton led Arizona to a Bay Area sweep for the third straight season by averaging 16.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists in the victories over California and Stanford. He shot .518 (14-of-27) from the floor, and added three steals in 82 total minutes played. Walton collected his sixth double-double of the year with 13 points and 11 rebounds in Thursday's win at Cal, hitting 5-of-10 shots from the floor and adding a game-high six assists. He logged 45 minutes in the overtime win at No. 18 Stanford and finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals. He hit 9-of-17 FG attempts in the game and tallied 12 points and five rebounds in the second half. It was Walton's fourth 20-point game of the season. In conference play, Walton is averaging 16.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists, while shooting .518 from the field.
Streak Stopper: Not only did the Wildcats post a Bay Area sweep for the third consecutive season, but the squad also handed Cal and Stanford its first home losses of the season. Prior to losing to Arizona, California (12-0) and Stanford (8-0) were a combined 20-0 at home this season.
Coming From Behind: The Wildcats put together another second-half comeback last Saturday, erasing a 15-point deficit at Stanford. It marked the fourth time this season that Arizona has posted a second-half comeback of 10 or more points. On the season, Arizona is 10-0 when tied or leading at the half and 5-6 when trailing. Here is the list of this season's comebacks:
20 - Trailed 73-53 (13:41/2nd), won 96-86 vs. UCLA, Jan. 19, 2002 19 - Trailed 57-38 (19:33/2nd), won 93-87 vs. Oregon State, Jan. 6, 2002 15 - Trailed 50-35 (18:47/2nd), won 88-82 (OT) at Stanford, Feb. 2, 2002 12 - Trailed 51-39 (18:28/2nd), won 88-74 at Texas, Nov. 17, 2001
Patience, My Friend: Patience certainly must be a virtue, at least for this club. In the win at Stanford, Arizona never had the lead in the contest until the overtime period. After the teams took turns trading baskets, a Channing Frye jumper at the 3:21 mark gave the Cats the lead for good. All told, Arizona led for just 3:40 of the 45-minute contest.
Solid "D": One of the keys to the UA comeback was its defense. Arizona limited Stanford to .393 (11-of-28) shooting in the second half, while forcing 10 turnovers after the break. In the last 3:48 of regulation and the overtime period, Arizona held Stanford to just 1-of-9 field goal attempts (1-of-6 in overtime) and forced five turnovers.
Moving Up: Jason Gardner enters play tonight with 1,261 career points, which places him 18th on the all-time UA scoring list. Just ahead of the guard from Indianapolis is Frank Smith, who tallied 1,329 points from 1980-83. Incidentally, Gardner has 64 double-figure scoring games in his 91-game career.
Stepping In: With the win over No. 18 Stanford, Arizona improved its record to 7-3 against ranked teams this season.
Scoring Balance: Saturday's win saw Arizona place five players in double figures, including three with 20 points (a season high). That marked the fifth time that the Cats have placed at least five players in double figures and the team is 5-0 when accomplishing the feat.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 54-6 (.900) 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 9-3 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 (35.2), he also ranks second in career three-point field goals (213), second in three-point FG attempts (579), and eighth in steals (149). Gardner and Damon Stoudamire are the only UA players with 200 or more career three-point field goals.
Taking Care of the Ball: One welcome statistic for the Wildcats vs. Stanford was a low turnover total. The Cats committed just eight miscues in 45 minutes (one shy of a season low) with only three after halftime. Prior to Saturday, Arizona had turned over the ball 41 time in its last two games. Incidentally, Arizona posted a +7 turnover margin (8-15) in the win at Stanford.
Second Half Surge: It is no surprise at this point of the season that Arizona is prone to slow starts, but its second half shooting performances in the Bay Area were pretty impressive. In victories at Cal and Stanford, Arizona shot a combined 35-of-63 (.556) from the field after the halftime break and outscored those clubs 94-66 in that span.
Assisting the Cause: Luke Walton, the Pac-10 leader in assists per game (6.1), has collected at least six assists in his last six consecutive games and seven of eight. He has a team-leading 110 assists in 18 games. With teammate Jason Gardner currently ranked tied for fifth in the league in assists (4.67), Arizona is the only team in the Pac-10 with two players ranked in the top 10 in assists.
Better Defense: The Wildcats' FG percentage defense took a step in the right direction this weekend, as the UA defense limited Cal and Stanford to 52-of-128 (.406) combined shooting. That figure is the team's best FG percentage defense effort in conference play. Entering last week, Arizona ranked eighth in the Pac-10 (.446) in that statistical category.
Extra Sessions: Arizona has played two overtime games in the last seven days. What makes that so interesting is that the team has only played one overtime contest in each of the last four full seasons. The last time UA played more than one OT game in a season came in 1996-97, when the team played four. Incidentally, two of those games game in the NCAA Tournament, including the national championship game win over Kentucky.
On the Mark: Freshman Channing Frye came up big in last Saturday's win, posting his fourth double-double of the year. He hit 10-of-13 field goal attempts vs. the Cardinal en route to a career-high 22 points and 10 rebounds. For the week, Frye connected on 12-of-15 shots from the floor and improved his season FG percentage to .636 (.701 in conference play). He leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage.
Welcome Back: Rick Anderson put forth two strong efforts last week after struggling in the previous two games. The native of Long Beach, Calif., totaled 26 points, 21 rebounds and six assists in the two Bay Area wins and hit 11-of-20 field goal attempts.
Salim Steps Up: Salim Stoudamire helped the Wildcat cause on Saturday by scoring all 11 of his points in the second half, including 4-of-4 from the line in the last three minutes of regulation and overtime. It was his 14th double-figure scoring effort of the year. He also improved his free throw percentage to .947 (54-of-57), a figure that leads the nation.
Not Accepting Charity: Interestingly, free throw shooting proved to be the only negative for Arizona last weekend. In the two Bay Area wins, the Wildcats connected on only 29-of-51 (.569) of its free throw attempts. That's quite a change for a team that was shooting .741 from the line when the week started.
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 Thursday's game, Arizona hosts Washington State on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 8 p.m. MST. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Net Arizona. Next week, the Cats play the final two road games of the regular season at UCLA and USC.