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Cats face Huskies in Maui - Game Notes 11/22/05
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: November 22, 2005
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Game 2:  No. 9 Arizona (1-0) vs. No. 3 Connecticut (2-0)


Date:  Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2005

Time:  4:30 p.m. HST

Location:  Lahaina Civic Center (2,400), Lahaina, Hawaii

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

TV:  ESPN (Sean McDonough/ Bill Raftery/Jay Bilas)


Game Data:  No. 9 Arizona (1-0, 0-0 Pac-10) meets No. 3 Connecticut (2-0, 0-0 Big East) in the semifinals of the 22nd annual EA Sports Maui Invitational ... Arizona has won each of its four opening-round games at the Maui Invitational (1993, 1997, 2000, 2005).


The Rankings:  Arizona rose to No.9 in the current edition of the Associated Press Top 25 and remains at No. 9 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Polls.  The Cats have opened the season with a national ranking 18 times in the last 19 seasons.  UA has been ranked in 304 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 742-256 (.743) and 550-164 (.770) 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 322-33 (.907) in McKale Center and have won 250 of its last 267 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon.


Last Time Out:  Arizona jumped out to a 16-4 lead in the first nine minutes and held on for a 61-49 win Monday over Kansas in the first round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational.  UA limited KU to 33.9 percent shooting (19-of-56) and forced 27 turnovers in the win.  The Cats parlayed 28 Jayhawk fouls into a 23-7 scoring advantage from the free throw line.  Kirk Walters led Arizona with a game-high 13 points and seven rebounds.


The Series:  Today’s game marks the fourth meeting of the two schools with Connecticut holding a 3-0 series advantage, including the last, a 100-98 UConn win in overtime on Jan. 26, 2002.  All-time, Arizona is 0-1 in series games played in Tucson, 0-1 in Storrs and 0-1 in neutral site games.


Last Meeting:  Connecticut 100, Arizona 98 (OT); Jan. 26, 2002:  Arizona missed several opportunities to win in regulation before Connecticut stormed back with a 9-1 run to close the overtime period and earn the 100-98 victory.  Salim Stoudamire put UA ahead 97-91 with two treys in the first 1:04 of the extra session before the UConn comeback.  Twenty Arizona turnovers contributed to the team’s demise, as the Cats trailed by as much as 12 points in the first half.  Jason Gardner led all scorers with 30 points, while Luke Walton added 18 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.


Island Delights:  Now in its fourth appearance at the EA Sports Maui Invitational, Arizona is now a spotless 4-0 in first-round games following Monday’s 61-49 win over Kansas.  To further the thought, UA is currently 3-0 in three previous Maui semifinal appearances.


In November:  Fast starts are the norm for the Cats under Lute Olson.  Over the last 23 years, Arizona is 51-10 (.836) in the month of November.


Quite a Debut:  Arizona’s 61 points scored were the fewest for the Cats in a season opener in the Lute Olson era and the lowest for the program since the 1981-82 opener, a 69-49 loss to UNLV in Tucson on Dec. 3, 1981.  It was also UA lowest point total in 10 Maui Invitational games.


Finding A Way:  It’s not an easy thing to do, but Arizona managed to pull out a win despite shooting just 28.3 percent (17-of-60) from the floor.  Arizona’s FG percentage was its worst effort, win or lose, in more than seven years, or at least through the 1998-99 campaign.


Defense Comes Through:  The UA defense answered the call Monday by limiting the Jayhawks to just 33.9 percent shooting for the game, including 25.9 percent (7-of-27) in the second half.  Arizona also gathered 12 steals and forced a total of 27 turnovers.  Incidentally, it was Kansas’ fewest points scored since it tallied 49 in a 64-49 loss to Long Beach State on Jan. 25, 1993.


In the Three Spot:  Normally, playing the nation’s third-ranked team would be a tall order, but it may be to the Wildcats’ liking.  All-time, Arizona is 6-2 against the No. 3 team in the country, the program’s best winning percentage against any single ranking slot in the top 25.  For more information, please see page 150 in the UA media guide.


On the Glass:  Arizona did yeoman’s work on the glass on Monday, pulling down 21 offensive and 43 total rebounds.  Call it a team effort as all 11 players to see action grabbed at least one board, five players collected at least five and the starting lineup tallied 23.


From the Line:  Arizona definitely capitalized on Kansas’ 28 team fouls in posting a 23-7 scoring advantage from the free throw line.  The Wildcats connected on 23-of-33 attempts for the contest, including its last eight points from the stripe.  Incidentally, UA’s last field goal in the game came with 5:11 to go.


Filling the Middle:  Junior center Kirk Walters may have at least taken a step towards solidifying UA’s efforts in the middle, as he responded with career-high totals of 13 points and seven rebounds in a career-best 24 minutes played.  The 6-foot-10 Walters hit 4-of-6 field goals and 5-of-6 free throws in the effort.


Lucky No. 13:  Chris Rodgers made his presence felt at both ends of the court Monday with 12 points, four rebounds and five steals.  The senior from Portland, Ore., was key midway through the second half, as his steal and dunk at the 7:00 mark and his trey with 5:11 to go pushed a five-point UA lead to nine.


Up Next:  Following today’s game, Arizona will meet either Michigan State or Gonzaga in the EA Sports Maui Invitational championship/third-place game.  Should the Wildcats win, that game would tip-off at 5 p.m. HST and be seen nationally on ESPN.  If the Cats lose, the game would start at 11:30 a.m. HST and be televised by ESPN2.
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