Jan. 28, 2002
Date: Thursday, Jan. 31, 2002 Time: 7 p.m. PST Location: Haas Pavilion (12,172), Berkeley, Calif. Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen) TV: KWBA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)
Game Data: No. 19 Arizona (13-6, 6-3 Pac-10) looks to break a two-game losing streak as it begins one of the toughest stretches of its schedule Thursday at California (14-4, 5-3 Pac-10) ... Four of the Cats' next six games are on the road against teams in the top half of the Pac-10 standings ... Arizona is 4-2 on the Bay Area road trip over the past three seasons ... The Wildcats 98-point output on Saturday was a season high, but the team allowed at least 100 points for the third time this season ... In the Lute Olson era, Arizona has a 110-57 (.659) record in conference road games, a league best.
The Rankings: After two games last week, Arizona fell to No. 19 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 18 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. The Cats were unranked in both preseason polls. Arizona has been ranked in 247 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 652-231 (.738) and 460-139 (.768) 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 (256) 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 29-9 vs. California, including a 2-0 mark at Haas Pavilion.
Last Time Out: 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 last Saturday. 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 lead all scorers with 30 points, while Luke Walton added 18 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
Scouting California: The Golden Bears (14-4, 5-3 Pac-10), winners of four of its last five games, return home after Saturday's 64-57 loss at UCLA. Each of Cal's losses this season has been immediately followed by a victory. Very strong defensively, Cal limits opponents to just 62.7 points and .396 shooting, while posting a +9.3 scoring margin (third-best in the Pac-10). Individually, Joe Shipp leads the squad with a 15.1 ppg average, while Jamal Sampson averages of 7.9 rebounds per game.
The Series: Tonight's game marks the 61st meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 37-23 series advantage. Arizona has won nine of the last 11 in the series, which dates back to Feb. 1, 1924, including a 78-76 decision last season in Berkeley on March 10. All-time, Arizona is 19-8 in series games played in Tucson, 17-14 in Berkeley, and 1-1 in neutral-site games. See page 86 in the UA media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Arizona 78, California 76, March 10, 2001. Jason Gardner's three-pointer with 59 seconds to go broke a 74-74 tie and propelled Arizona to the two-point win. A Richard Jefferson free throw with 11 seconds remaining provided the final margin. Loren Woods' 22 points and Michael Wright's 20 led a balanced attack as the Wildcats won for the sixth straight time. UA shot 50 percent from the floor, outrebounded the Golden Bears, 34-29, and tallied 21 assists.
Another Milestone: Thursday's game at California will be Lute Olson's 600th as the Arizona head coach. Now in his 19th year in Tucson, Olson has a record of 460-139 (.768) at Arizona.
Not Again: Arizona lost two games this week, marking the first time it has lost two consecutive games this season. With a difficult conference game at California next on the schedule, it bears mentioning that the last time the Wildcats lost three consecutive games came 10 years ago. Arizona lost the final three games of the 1991-92 season (at UCLA/at USC/vs. East Tennessee State).
Solid Play Continues: Luke Walton continued his run of strong play by averaging 22.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists in two Arizona losses last week. The junior from San Diego also shot .667 (16-of-24) from the floor and added six steals, as he played all 85 minutes. He opened the week by posting his fifth double-double of the year, a game-high 26 points to go with 10 rebounds, at Arizona State. He was 10-of-13 from the floor and added six assists and three steals in Tempe. Against No. 25 Connecticut, Walton hit 6-of-11 shots, tallied 18 points and added seven rebounds, eight assists and three steals. He played all 45 minutes in the overtime game. In his last four games, Walton is averaging 22.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.8 assists. He leads the Pac-10 Conference with a 6.1 assists per game average. When is the last time a forward accomplished that feat? Never.
Good News/Bad News: Arizona did manage to break a string of five straight games in which it was outrebounded on Saturday, as it posted a 41-36 advantage against Connecticut. On the bad side of things, it also marked the first time in nine games this year that the Wildcats lost when outrebounding the opposition.
Nice Shooting: Freshman Channing Frye has proven to be one of the Pac-10's best all-around shooters. The UA team leader in field goal percentage, Frye is 30-of-40 (.750) from the field in his last six games. He ranks second in the league with a .615 (72-of-117) field goal percentage, and improves to .677 (42-of-62) in Pac-10 play (league leader). Not to be outdone at the line, the 6-foot-10 Frye ranks 10 in the league with a .825 (47-of-57) free throw percentage.
Moving Up: Jason Gardner enters play today with 1,224 career points, which places him 20th on the all-time UA scoring list. Just ahead of the guard from Indianapolis is Ed Nymeyer, who tallied 1,225 points from 1956-58. Incidentally, Gardner has 62 double-figure scoring games in his 89-game career.
Stepping In: Credit guard Will Bynum with a solid effort on Saturday. The freshman from Chicago tallied a season-high seven assists and just one turnover in 28 minutes vs. Connecticut. He also scored five points and added the steal in the effort . On the year, Bynum is averaging 7.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists.
Scoring Balance: Bolstered by Channing Frye's 17 point effort on Saturday, Arizona now boasts five players with scoring averages in double figures. Jason Gardner leads the team at 21.3 ppg and is followed by Luke Walton (14.4), Rick Anderson (12.8), Salim Stoudamire (12.3) and Channing Frye (10.1). It is the first time this year that five players have scoring averages of 10.0 or more.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 53-6 (.898) 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 8-3 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 (35.1), he also ranks second in career three-point field goals (211), second in three-point FG attempts (570), and eighth in steals (149). Gardner and Damon Stoudamire are the only UA players with 200 or more career three-point field goals.
Topping the 20-point Plateau: Junior Jason Gardner tallied his third 30-point scoring game of the year by totaling 30 against UConn. It was also his 10th game of more than 20 points this season. Teammate Salim Stoudamire chipped in 20 vs. the Huskies to notch his second 20-point game of 2001-02. UA players have scored 20 or more points 15 times this season.
For Three: By knocking down a season-best 6-of-9 three-point attempts vs. Connecticut, Salim Stoudamire has proven to be quite the long-range marksman. On the year, he is shooting .423 (41-of-97) from behind the arc and has made 28-of-58 (.483) of his long-range attempts in his last 10 games. With three more three-point attempts, Stoudamire will qualify for UA's career three-point FG percentage list (100 att.). Even if he misses all three attempts, his .410 percentage would rank sixth, just ahead of his cousin, Damon, who shot .402 from three-point range during his career (1992-95).
Assisting the Cause: Jason Gardner collected nine assists in two games last week and now has 403 career assists in 89 games (4.52 apg). He is 11 assists shy of moving into the UA career top-10 list in that category. Luke Walton isn't too far behind his teammate with 344 career assists (4.00 apg). Since returning from his right Achilles'' tendon strain, Walton has averaged 7.7 assists per game.
Close Calls: Saturday's overtime loss to No. 25 Connecticut dropped the UA record to 6-3 against ranked opponents. It was also the first time Arizona has lost a game this season that was decided by five points or less. On the year, UA is 6-1 in tight games.
Warming Up: The Arizona offense has picked up the pace of late, scoring 90 or more points in five of its last seven games. After averaging 75.5 points in its first nine games, the Wildcats are averaging 87.0 points in its last 10 outings. Since the start of the 1997-98 season, Arizona is 37-3 (.925) when topping the 90-point plateau, though two of those losses have come this season (Kansas/Connecticut).
Good Starts: It's no secret that Arizona has struggled offensively in the first half of each of its six losses this season. The squad has trailed by at least four points at the break in each of those games. The interesting thing about those games is that you usually don't have to wait that long. This season Arizona is 9-0 when tied or leading 10 minutes into the first half and 4-6 when trailing.
With More Regularity: One hundred point games have shown up with more regularity this season, and the alarming part is that UA opponents are turning the trick. Connecticut's 100-point output Saturday marked the third time this season that Arizona has given up 100 points or more. Prior to this season, Arizona had allowed an opponent to score 100 points just three times in the previous 18 seasons. Opponents are averaging 81.2 points per game, the highest scoring average since 1976-77.
At the Line: Arizona did manage to post an advantage from the free throw line in Saturday's game, outscoring Connecticut 16-8. That continues a season-long trend in which Arizona has outscored the opposition 370-276 from the charity stripe. That's an average of nearly five more points per game. The Cats have posted a scoring advantage from the line in 14 of 19 games this year.
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 travels to Maples Pavilion on Saturday, Feb. 2, for a 5 p.m. PST game at Stanford. The Wildcats host the Washington schools in McKale Center next week.