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Poll Cats Host No. 17 UCLA
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/06/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Game 13:  No. 21 Arizona (9-3, 2-0) vs. No. 17 UCLA (11-2, 1-1)

 

Date:  Thursday, Jan. 5, 2006

Time:  8:30 p.m. MST

Location:  Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.

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

TV:  FSN (Steve Physioc/Marques Johnson)

ONLINE: Subscribers to All-Access, Arizona's premium multimedia service, can watch a delayed webcast of the McKale Center production of the game with Brian Jeffries and Ryan Hanson calling the action immediately following its conclusion (approximately 10:30 p.m.). Live audio is also available to subscribers.

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Game Data:  Twenty-first-ranked Arizona (9-3, 2-0 Pac-10) returns to McKale Center to open the home portion of the conference schedule Thursday against No. 17 UCLA (11-2, 1-1 Pac-10) ... Since joining the Pac-10 Conference in 1978-79, Arizona has a 21-6 record in home conference openers, including a 17-4 mark under Lute Olson ... Four of the Wildcats’ last six opponents have scored less than 62 points and in that span the opposition is averaging 63.8 points per game and facing a -17.0 ppg scoring margin.

 

The Rankings:  Arizona jumped back into both the Associated Press Top 25 (No. 21) and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll (No. 23) after a two-week absence.  The Cats saw its string of 312 consecutive regular-season AP poll appearances end on Dec. 19.

 

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 750-259 (.743) and 558-167 (.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 750th collegiate victory on Dec. 31, 2005, and became Arizona’s career victories leader (510) on Jan. 17, 2004 ... He has the most Pac-10 wins (307) of any coach in league history ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.779/307-87) 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 327-33 (.908) in McKale Center and have won 255 of its last 272 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon ... Olson is 28-19 against UCLA.

 

Last Time Out:  A Kirk Walters free throw with five seconds remaining in the second overtime provided the difference in Saturday’s 96-95 win at Washington.  Arizona erased a 13-point halftime deficit and withstood UW buzzer-beaters at the end of regulation and the first overtime to snap the Huskies 32-game homecourt win streak.  Hassan Adams scored a career-high 32 points, including eight in the extra sessions, while Mustafa Shakur equaled a career best with 23 points and Marcus Williams added 16 points and a team-high nine boards.

 

Scouting UCLA:  The Bruins bring an 11-2 record (1-1 Pac-10) into tonight’s game following Saturday’s 68-61 loss to California.  As a team, UCLA shoots 49.1 percent from the field (325-of-662), including 37.9 percent (81-of-214) from three-point range, while averaging 69.2 points per game.  Opponents shoot at a 41.8 percent clip and are being outrebounded by 4.8 rebounds per game.  Four Bruins average in double figures, led by Arron Afflalo’s 18.6 ppg figure.

 

The Series:  Tonight’s game is the 70th meeting of the two schools with UCLA holding a 38-31 series advantage.  UA has won 11 of the last 14 meetings in the series, which dates back to Feb. 19, 1923, including the last meeting, 83-73, on Feb. 12, 2005, in Westwood.  All-time, Arizona is 18-11 in series games played in Tucson, 12-25 in Los Angeles, and 1-2 in neutral-site games.  Please see page 103 in the UA media guide for more series information.

 

Last Meeting:  Arizona 83, UCLA 73, Feb. 12, 2005:  Four different Wildcats scored in a decisive 19-0 run midway through the second half as Arizona erased a five-point deficit to win by 10.  Trailing 47-42 with 17:31 to go, Arizona responded by hitting nine consecutive field goals to ignite the run and put the game out of reach.  UA built as much as a 21-point lead before the final buzzer.  Salim Stoudamire scored 22 points and Ivan Radenovic added 19 points and 12 rebounds.  It was Arizona’s third consecutive win in Pauley Pavilion.

 

Follow the Leader:  Hassan Adams led Arizona to a road sweep of the Washington schools last week by averaging 28.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.5 steals in the pair of victories.  Adams shot 52.2 percent from the floor (24-of-46), including 5-of-7 from three-point range, and added five assists in the 82-minute effort.  He opened the week with 25 points (11-of-22 FGs), eight boards and four assists at Washington State, and followed that up with a career-high 32 points (13-of-24 FGs), five rebounds, four steals and an assist Saturday at No. 7 Washington.  Adams tallied 23 of those 32 points in the second half vs. the Huskies as the Wildcats erased a 13-point halftime deficit and won.  On the season, Adams is averaging a team-leading 20.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 49.5 percent from the field.

 

Streak Stoppers:  The Cats’ 96-95 double overtime win at Washington Saturday snapped the Huskies’ 32-game homecourt win streak, which was the longest streak in the nation.  It marks the second time this year that UA ended one of the nation’s longest homecourt streaks, as the Cats’ 73-43 win at Utah on Dec. 17 snapped the Utes’ 21-game streak, which at the time was the fifth-longest streak in the NCAA.

 

Going the Distance:  It took two extra periods, but Arizona scored a season-high 96 points in Saturday’s win at Washington.  Over the last three games, the Wildcats are averaging 84.0 points per game, 8.3 points better than its season scoring average (75.7) through 12 games.  The win in Seattle was Arizona’s first double overtime game since beating Gonzaga in the NCAA West Region second round game in Salt Lake City on March 22, 2003.  Interestingly, both games were won by identical 96-95 counts.

 

Back at it:  The 12 points and five rebounds provided by junior forward Ivan Radenovic in Saturday’s win was his most productive game in some time.  It marked Radenovic’s first double-figure scoring game in six outings.  On the season, the 6-foot-10 Radenovic has four double-figure scoring games and is averaging 8.3 points and 5.9 rebounds.

 

Another Milestone:  Saturday’s double overtime win gave Arizona head coach Lute Olson his 750th coaching victory on the NCAA Division I level, making him the 15th coach in NCAA history (covering all levels) to win 750 games.  In 33 years as a head coach, Olson has a career record of 750-259 (.743).  Olson’s 750th career win took place in his 725th game as the UA head coach.

 

Accepting Charity:  One of the keys to Saturday’s win was the fact that Arizona turned 29 Washington fouls into a season-high 38 free throws.  The Cats’ 25 made free throws enabled the team to hold a 25-14 scoring advantage from the stripe.  Mustafa Shakur (9-of-10) and Ivan Radenovic (6-of-12) combined to make more free throws than the entire Husky squad in one less attempt.

 

Coming From Behind:  Arizona erased a 13-point halftime deficit en route to the one-point win on Saturday, marking UA’s third come-from-behind victory this year.  It was also the Cats’ first win over a ranked foe in 2005-06 in three tries (L, 79-70 to No. 3 Connecticut and L, 74-71 (OT) to No. 12 Michigan State).  As a measure of resiliency, the UW win was UA’s first this year when trailing with five minutes to go in regulation.

 

Slow Start, Strong Finish:  After struggling from the floor in the first half at Washington with a 27.8 field goal percentage (10-of-36), including 1-of-15 from three-point range, Arizona bounced back to hit 58.6 percent (17-of-29) of its shots in the second half, including 6-of-10 from behind the arc, en route to 54 second-half points (not including overtime).  The 54 points scored by Arizona was its highest point total in the second half this season and the most that Washington had allowed this season.  The Wildcats made its first five field goals and 10 of its first 14 attempts of the second half to go a long way towards erasing what was a 13-point halftime deficit.

 

Where It’s Due:  Give Arizona’s defense a bit of credit for Saturday’s win, especially in the second half.  Washington entered the game shooting 50.1 percent from the field as a team and appeared well on its way to improving that with 55.2 percent effort in the first half.  But the Wildcat defense clamped down after the halftime break to limit UW to just 20-of-46 (.435) shooting over the last 30 minutes (counting overtime), including just 4-of-13 (.308) shooting in the extra sessions.  Additionally, Arizona forced Washington into a season-high 19 turnovers one game after it committed just three miscues in 40 minutes vs. Arizona State.

 

Point Guard Production:  Junior guard Mustafa Shakur put forth what may have been his best all-around effort in Saturday’s win by equaling a career high with 23 points (9-of-10 FTs) to go with a season-high nine assists, four rebounds and two steals in 46 minutes.  How good did it go for Shakur?  With 3:03 remaining in regulation, he attempted to throw an alley-oop pass to Hassan Adams on the fast break.  Instead of connecting with Adams, the intended pass actually found its way into the basket.  The bucket gave UA a four-point lead.  On the year, Shakur is averaging 10.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.

 

A Fine Homecoming:  Growing up just 10 minutes from Washington’s Bank of America Arena, freshman Marcus Williams responded by posting 16 points and a season-high nine rebounds in 44 minutes played.  As UA head coach Lute Olson said in the postgame press conference, “No one came into this game with more pressure on him than Marcus.”  The 6-foot-7 forward has responded well to the pressure of late by averaging 14.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game, while shooting 58.6 percent from the field (41-of-70), in his last seven games.

 

A WSU REDUX:  In Thursday’s 18-point win at Washington State, Arizona’s 70 points were the most allowed by the Cougars this season.  Entering the contest, Washington State opponents were averaging only 52.9 points per game, a figure that led the Pac-10 Conference and ranked third nationally entering last week.

 

Pass the Ball:  Arizona is 33-6 (.846) during Mustafa Shakur’s career when he passes out five or more assists, including 5-1 this year.

 

Scoring 80:  Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 146-18 (.890) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points.  Arizona is 4-0 this season when scoring 80 or more points.

 

Finding Positives:  Throughout the season, Arizona has shown the ability to post large scoring runs with some regularity:

29-1 run over 10:43 vs. Virginia, Nov. 27 (UVa went 0-of-12 with seven turnovers during the run)

33-15 run over 10:26 vs. Sam Houston State, Dec. 19 (UA 13-of-20 in run)

21-6 run over 7:12 vs. Michigan State, Nov. 23 (no MSU field goals in last 5:44 of regulation)

20-4 run over 9:10 vs. Kansas, Nov. 21 (KU hits 3-of-first-12 FG attempts with nine TO)

21-5 run over 7:57 at Houston, Dec. 3 (two UH FGs in last eight minutes of first half)

21-9 run over 12:23 vs. Connecticut, Nov. 22 (UA hits 7-of-11 FG in run)

26-13 run over 13:04 vs. Saint Mary’s, Dec. 10 (nine SMC turnovers during run)

38-27 run over 13:52 at Washington, Dec. 31 (UA makes 10-of-first-14 FG to ignite 2nd half run)

 

Early Signees:  Coach Olson and his staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period.  Chase Budinger (F, 6-7, 190) from Carlsbad, Calif., LaCosta High School; Jordan Hill (F, 6-8, 210) from Atlanta, Ga., The Patterson (N.C.) School;  and Nic Wise (G, 5-10, 180) from Kingwood, Texas., Kingwood High School, will join the squad next fall.

 

Up Next:  Following tonight’s game, Arizona closes the week by hosting USC.  The contest, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 7, will tip-off at noon MST and can be seen on FSN Arizona.

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