Jan. 28, 2003
Date: Thursday, Jan. 30, 2003
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: Top-ranked Arizona (15-1, 7-0 Pac-10) dives back into conference play Thursday, as the Cats host Stanford (14-5, 5-2 Pac-10) ... UA enters the game riding a season-best 10-game winning streak ... Arizona has held its last six opponents to a combined 39.0 field goal percentage (151-of-387) and an average of 65.2 points ... In Pac-10 play, five UA players are averaging in double figures ... Six of Arizona's final 11 Pac-10 games will be played in McKale Center ... Jason Gardner's next field goal will be the 500th of his career.
The Rankings: Arizona remained atop both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls for the second consecutive week after spending Jan. 6-19 in the No. 2 position. The Cats spent the first six weeks of the season as the nation's top-ranked club. UA has been ranked in 263 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 678-236 (.742) and 486-144 (.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 (269) 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 (.780/269-76) 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 289-29 (.909) in McKale Center and have won 217 of its last 231 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner ... Olson is 29-11 against Stanford, including a 16-3 record in McKale Center.
Last Time Out: Salim Stoudamire scored 20 of his career-high 32 points in the second half Saturday as Arizona erased a 20-point deficit to earn a 91-74 victory at No. 6 Kansas. The sophomore, who was 7-of-10 from the floor after the break, ignited a 10-0 UA run to start the second half with a steal and layup and gave the Cats its first lead with a trey at the 14:15 mark. All told, Arizona outscored Kansas, 67-30, over the final 25:41. Jason Gardner added 23 points, seven boards and six assists. The win also snapped KU's 25-game homecourt win streak.
Scouting Stanford: The Cardinal (14-5, 5-2 Pac-10) enter Thursday's game having won five of its last six games, including an 80-72 win over USC on Jan. 25 in its last outing. As a team, Stanford is shooting 44.5 percent from the floor, outrebounding the opposition by 7.4 rebounds per game and averaging 70.2 points per game, while allowing just 64.6 points per game. Individually, four Cardinal players average in double figures, led by Julius Barnes' 14.3 points per game mark. Justin Davis (9.0) and Josh Childress (7.9) rank first and third respectively in the Pac-10 rebounding leaders.
The Series: Tonight's game marks the 63rd meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 41-21 series advantage. Arizona has won seven of the last nine games in the series, which dates back to Dec. 20, 1937, but dropped a 76-71 decision last February in Tucson. All-time, Arizona is 24-5 in series games played in Tucson, 14-14 in Palo Alto and 3-2 in neutral-site games. See page 124 of the UA media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Stanford 76, Arizona 71, Feb. 28, 2002: Once again, turnovers and rebounding proved to be a difference, as Arizona was careless early and Stanford controlled the boards late in the Cardinal's five-point win. UA committed 12 of its 18 turnovers in the first half as it struggled just to remain tied at the break. Things didn't get better in the second half, as the Cats shot just 29.2 percent and were outrebounded, 25-11. Curtis Borchardt's 28-point, nine-rebound effort neutralized Jason Gardner's 33-point, four-steal performance.
Player of the Week: Jason Gardner earned Pac-10 Player-of-the-Week honors for the second time this season as he led Arizona to a pair of impressive wins last week by averaging 21.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 3.0 steals. The senior opened the week by scoring a game-high 19 points to go with seven boards, four assists and a season-high four steals in a 71-63 win over instate rival Arizona State. 13 of his points and five rebounds came in the second half, including 6-of-6 from the free throw line in the final 3:00. He followed that up with his third 20-point effort of the year in a 91-74 come-from-behind win at No. 6 Kansas. In playing all 40 minutes, Gardner tallied 23 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals as the Wildcats erased a 20-point first half deficit and snapped Kansas' 25-game homecourt win streak. On the year, Gardner is averaging a team-best 14.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists.
Deja Vu: Arizona's erasure of a 20-point first-half deficit equaled the second-biggest comeback win for the Cats in the Lute Olson era. Last season Arizona came back to defeat Oregon State in Tucson on Jan. 6, 2002, after trailing by 21 points late in the first half. Two weeks later, the Wildcats erased a 20-point deficit in defeating UCLA on Jan. 19, 2002, in Tucson. As far as road games go, Saturday's comeback is the biggest in more than 20 years. The only comeback that comes close occurred Jan. 19, 1980, as Arizona rallied from a 17-point deficit to defeat USC, 86-83, in Los Angeles.
On the Glass: Rebounding continues to be a key to the Wildcats' success, as the team is outrebounding opponents by a +9.6 margin. That figure jumps to +10.0 in Pac-10 play. Arizona has outrebounded 10 consecutive opponents and is 14-0 this season when accomplishing the feat. In Saturday's win, Arizona outrebounded Kansas, 38-28, including 24-16 in the second half.
Getting Defensive: The Wildcats held Arizona State and Kansas to a respectable .418 (51-of-122) field goal percentage, just slightly above UA's season field goal percentage defense figure of .410 (4190-of-1022). While Kansas shot a UA opponent-best 47.7 percent Sunday, not Arizona opponent has shot 50 percent or better this season. Furthermore, Arizona limited Kansas to just 29.0 percent (9-of-31) shooting in the second half, which continued a recent trend. In each of the last four games, the Wildcats have held the opponent to less than 30 percent shooting in at least one half.
One Streak Continues: The Wildcats moved its season-long win streak to 10 games, its longest since the 2000-01 squad won 11 straight. Arizona's current 15-1 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.
Another Streak Stopped: Saturday's win over No. 6 Kansas also ended the Jayhawks' 25-game homecourt win streak. It marked the second time this season that Arizona has ended a significant homecourt win streak. Arizona's 81-72 win on Jan. 2, 2003, at Oregon ended the Ducks' 23-game win streak at McArthur Court.
KU Redux: Here are some additional notes from Saturday's win: Arizona's 17-point win tied for the seventh-worst loss in Kansas history and was the second-worst loss in the Roy Williams era. The 91 points scored by Arizona is the most by an opponent in Allen Fieldhouse since Jan. 5, 1991, when North Carolina State scored 94 in a 105-94 loss to KU. Saturday's win was also Arizona's first regular-season win (second overall) vs. the Jayhawks.
A Welcome Effort: For the first time since the opening two games of the season, Arizona managed to shoot better than 50 percent from the field in registering a 52.6 (30-of-57) field goal percentage at Kansas. The Wildcats also accomplished something Saturday that it hasn't done since the Nov. 23 season opener against Western Kentucky - shoot 50 percent or better in both halves. The Cats shot 51.9 percent (14-of-27) in the first half at Allen Fieldhouse and improved to 53.3 percent (16-of-30) in the second. It was also the first time UA has shot better than 50 percent in a road game since Jan. 31, 2002, at California (.548).
On His Shoulders: Credit Salim Stoudamire for helping Arizona outscore Kansas 67-30 over the game's final 25:41, as he tallied a career-high 32 points. The sophomore from Portland, Ore., connected on 12-of-18 field goal attempts, including 6-of-9 from three-point range, en route to the first 30-point game of his career. Stoudamire, who scored 12 of Arizona's 39 points in the first half, was even better in the second, as he hit 7-of-10 field goal attempts (4-of-5 from three-point range) to finish with 20 second-half points, which was two fewer than the entire Kansas club tallied. He shot 59.1 percent for the week (13-of-22) and boosted his season field goal percentage to 46.3 percent.
Better Than Ever: Through 16 games of the season, senior Jason Gardner leads the team with a 14.4 points per game average. Perhaps more impressively, his rebounding (3.8 rpg), assists (5.0 apg) and steals (1.9 spg) are all improved over last season. Of those figures, his rebounding has made the biggest jump (2.9 rpg in 2002-03) bolstered by an improved effort on the glass of late. Over his last four games, Gardner is averaging 7.3 rebounds per game and has grabbed no fewer than five in that span.
Senior Moment: Senior Rick Anderson played one of the finest games of his career Saturday, as the forward tallied 15 points, seven boards and a steal in Saturday's win at Kansas. The Long Beach, Calif., native his 7-of-10 shots and grabbed all seven rebounds in the second half of the 91-74 win. Anderson played a season-high 34 minutes against the Jayhawks and did not turn the ball over.
Nearing Milestones: Luke Walton enters Thursday's game nearing a pair of career milestones. He is 22 points shy of 1,000 career points, which would make him the 32nd player in school history to accomplish the feat, and four assists shy of 500 for his career, which would place him sixth all-time.
40 Minute Man: It took 16 games, but Jason Gardner accomplished something Saturday at Kansas that, up until this season, had become pretty regular. Gardner logged 40 minutes against KU, which marked the 27th time in Gardner's 120-game career that he has played 40 or more minutes.
A Better Representation: Arizona entered the Kansas game shooting just 59.2 percent (58-of-98) over its last four games, including a season-low 11-of-20 (.550) against Arizona State. The team turned that around completely against the Jayhawks, as the team connected on 22-of-26 (.846) of its free throw attempts.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 73-7 (.913) 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 closes the first half of Pac-10 play by hosting No. 20 California. The game, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 1, will tip-off at 5 p.m. MST and can be seen nationally on Fox Sports Net.