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UCLA Notes 2/1/2008
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/01/2008
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Game 22:? Arizona (15-6, 5-3) at No. 5 UCLA (19-2, 7-1)

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Date:? Saturday, Feb. 2, 2008

Time:? 6 p.m. PST

Location:? Pauley Pavilion (12,800), Los Angeles, Calf.

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

TV: ESPN (Dan Shulman/Jay Bilas/Erin Andrews)

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Game Data:? Arizona (15-6, 5-3 Pac-10) closes the first half of the Pac-10 slate with a nationally televised contest Saturday at No. 5 UCLA (19-2, 7-1 Pac-10) ... Over the last 25 seasons, Arizona has a Pac-10 best 144-76 (.655) in conference road games ... Not surprisingly, defense could decide this game as both teams average about 75 points per game, but Arizona allows 8.8 more points per game on the defensive end.

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The Rankings:? Arizona is unranked in both polls for the third consecutive week.? For the season, the Wildcats have been ranked in either or both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coachesˇ? Top 25 polls in eight of 13 polling periods this season.

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Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . will begin his 25th season at Arizona and his 35th overall as a college head coach with a career record of 780-280 (.736) and 589-187 (.759) at Arizona upon his return from a leave of absence, which was announced on Nov. 4 ... 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 775th collegiate victory on Jan. 24, 2007, and became Arizonaˇ?s career victories leader (510) on Jan. 17, 2004 ... He has the most Pac-10 wins (327) of any coach in league history ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.764/327-101) and second-most league championships won (11) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only UCLAˇ?s John Wooden (.810/304-74/16 titles)?... During his 24-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, ˇ®89, ˇ®90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for 23 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, ˇ®88, ˇ®89, ˇ®93, ˇ®94, ˇ®98, 2003), the Big Ten Coach of the Year twice (1979 & ˇ®81) and directed the UA program to the nationˇ?s third-best winning percentage over the past 20 years (519-142/.785) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 52 NBA Draft picks, including 31 at Arizona ?C 25 alone since 1990 ... Heˇ?s led UA to 20 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 29 overall in his career, making him one of only three head coaches in NCAA history to record 29 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 344-40 (.896) in McKale Center and have won 272 of its last 296 home games ... He is assisted by Kevin Oˇ?Neill, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon.

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Last Time out:? Chase Budinger scored a game-high 29 points and Jawann McClellan added a career-high 23 points to lead Arizona to an 80-69 win at USC on Thursday.? The duo scored 28 of the Catsˇ? 46 second-half points as the team came from behind to win.? UA used a 20-7 run over 4:12 late in the half to take control of a contest that featured seven ties and 11 lead changes.? Three-point shooting proved to be the difference as Arizona connected on 47.6 percent (10-of-21) and outscored USC, 30-12, from behind the arc.

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Scouting UCLA:? The Bruins enter play Saturday with a 19-2 record (7-1 Pac-10) following Thursdayˇ?s 84-51 win over Arizona State.? Through 21 games, UCLA averages 75.5 points per game, shoots 48.9 percent (562-of-1,149), and posts a +10.5 rebound margin per game.? Opponents shoot 41.4 percent from the floor and are outscored by an average of 17.8 points per game.? Individually, four Bruins average in double figures, led by Kevin Love, who averages 17.4 points? per game.? He also leads UCLA with an 11.2 rebounds per game average.

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The Series:? Tonightˇ?s game is the 75th meeting of the two schools with UCLA holding a 43-31 series advantage. UA has won 11 of the last 19 meetings in the series, which dates back to Feb. 19, 1923, but UCLA has won the last five, including the last meeting, an 81-66 triumph in Tucson on Feb. 17. All-time, Arizona is 18-13 in series games played in Tucson, 12-27 in Westwood, and 1-3 in neutral-site games. Please see page 101 in the UA media guide for more series information.

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Last Meeting:? UCLA 81, Arizona 66, Feb 17, 2007:? Josh Shipp scored 13 of his game-high 24 points in the second half and Darren Collison added 17 points and 15 assists as fifth-ranked UCLA cruised to victory.? UA used a 7-0 run over the last 2:15 of the first half to cut the deficit to one, but the Bruins, who shot 57.1 percent from the field in the second, had the lead back up to seven within the halfˇ?s first three minutes.? Fifteen of Collisonˇ?s 17 points came from the three-point line as UCLA outscored UA, 39-12, from behind the arc.

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A Different Look on the Sidelines:? Prior to the Nov. 4 exhibition game, it was announced that UA head coach Lute Olson would be taking a leave of absence due to a personal matter.? It was announced on Dec. 7 that Olson would not return this season.? During this period, assistant coach Kevin Oˇ?Neill will handle the head coaching responsibilities.? Oˇ?Neill, who was tabbed as Olsonˇ?s successor on Dec. 18, has 11 seasons of experience as an NCAA Division I head coach, where he compiled a 152-165 (.479) record while at Marquette, Tennessee and Northwestern. Oˇ?Neill spent the last seven seasons in NBA circles.? During Olsonˇ?s leave of absence all games will be credited to Oˇ?Neillˇ?s coaching record.

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Has Anyone Else Done this?:? Saturdayˇ?s game against No. 5 UCLA marks Arizonaˇ?s fifth game this season against a nationally ranked opponent.? While that fact may not raise eyebrows, this one might.? Each of UAˇ?s four previous ranked opponents were ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game:? No. 4 Kansas (Nov. 25), No. 9 Texas A&M (Dec. 2), No. 2 Memphis (Dec. 29) and No. 6 Washington State (Jan. 24).? Counting the Bruins today, Arizona will have faced the three highest ranked teams on the road.? Currently, UA is 2-2 against such foes.

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A Tall Order:? Entering todayˇ?s game, Arizona is 120-151 (.443) all-time against ranked opponents, including a 27-82 (.248) mark in true road games.? All-time, Arizona is 6-10 against the No. 5 team in the country with the last meeting coming in the last game against UCLA on Feb. 17, 2007.

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Streaking:? The Wildcats bring a four-game win streak into Pauley Pavilion Saturday, its second longest streak of the season.? Incidentally, each of the wins has come in Pac-10 play, which makes it UAˇ?s longest conference win streak since a seven-game streak from Feb. 3-24, 2005.

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An Obvious Key To Victory:? Simply put, itˇ?s field goal percentage.? During Arizonaˇ?s current four-game win streak the club has connected on 53.6 percent (104-of-194) of its field goal attempts.? Individually, five Wildcats are shooting 50 percent or better during the same span:? McClellan, .586; Bayless, .556; Wise, .545; Budinger, .525; and Hill, .500.? For good measure, Arizona also has 21 blocked shots and 22 steals in the last four games.

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Taking Control Late:? As mentioned above, Arizona took control of Thursdayˇ?s win with a 20-7 run that started with 6:47 remaining in the second half.? From that point on, Arizona made 7-of-10 field goals and limited USC to just 4-of-15 (.267) shooting to close it out.? What made the effort a bit more noticeable is that the Trojans made 24-of-41 (.585) attempts through the gameˇ?s first 33 minutes and 13 seconds.

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Three for Threes:? Due to the efforts of Chase Budinger (4-of-7), Jawann McClellan (3-of-5) and Nic Wise (3-of-5), UA knocked down 10-of-21 (.476) of its three-point shots against USC.? Solid three-point shooting has been a part of the offensive plan lately, as the Cats are shooting .505 (46-of-91) from behind the arc over the last four contests.? Incidentally, UA has had double-figure trey totals in each of the last four games.? The recent effort has raised UAˇ?s three-point FG percentage to .403 (146-of-362), a mark that leads the Pac-10 Conference.

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If it keeps happening, weˇ?ll keep mentioning it:? Two guys combining for 40-plus points can help you win. In Arizonaˇ?s case, Chase Budinger and a teammate have done it for the past four games and UA won each. Thursday against USC it was a 52-point combo, the biggest two-guy output of the season ˇ? Budinger 29/McClellan 23. UA also won its other pair of 20-20s before the current run, by Bayless and Hill at Illinois, and Budinger and Hill against Oregon State. For a team that averages 74 points per game like Arizona, a pair of threats can be very useful, especially when multiple guys have proven the ability to top the 20-point plateau.

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On the Glass:? Boosted by a season-high 16 offensive rebounds, Arizona posted a 37-30 rebound advantage over USC.? On the season, Arizona is 7-2 when outrebounding the opposition and carries a +1.3 rebound margin.? UAˇ?s boardwork led to a 21-12 second-chance points advantage Thursday at USC.

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Answering the Bell:? When the Wildcats needed another offensive threat to step up and join Chase Budinger, senior Jawann McClellan certainly did so.? The 6-foot-4 guard from Houston, Texas, hit 7-of-12 FGs en route to a career-high 23 points.? For good measure, McClellan also grabbed eight boards, passed out two assists and blocked two shots in 40 minutes played.

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Ball Security:? Nic Wise put his value on display again Thursday at USC, as the sophomore guard tallied a career-high eight assists and zero turnovers in 36 minutes.? The outing improved Wiseˇ?s assist per game average to 4.1 and boosted his assist:turnover ratio to 2.12:1.? Arizona committed just eight turnovers in Thursdayˇ?s win, marking the fourth time this season that the team has tallied fewer than 10 miscues in a game.? The Wildcats are 11-3 this year when committing fewer turnovers than the opposition.

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Earning the Attention:? Earlier this week Chase Budinger was named to the midseason top-30 list for both the John R. Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy.? He responded to the kudos by scoring 18 of his game-high 29 points in the second half to go with eight rebounds, two assists, a block and three steals.? The 6-foot-7 forward knocked down 11-of-20 field goals, including 4-of-7 from three-point range.? On the season, Budinger is averaging 18.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.

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Uncharacteristic:? One area that wasnˇ?t ideal in Thursdayˇ?s win was free throw shooting. ?UA made just 12-of-22 (.545) free throws, which is not the norm for a club that has made 73.7 percent (323-of-438) of its charity tosses on the season.? However, the Cats did knock down 8-of-11 free throws in the final three minutes against USC.? Perhaps most surprising was the accuracy of Jerryd Bayless, who made 2-of-5 attempts from the stripe. For Bayless, who shoots 84 percent on the season, the three misses Thursday were equal to his number of misses in the previous seven games combined.

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Increasing the output: Arizona has averaged 80 points per game as a team over the last three game, and has scored that many points in both of the last two.? UAˇ?s 80 points Thursday at USC was the teamˇ?s highest offensive output in a conference road game this season.

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Scoring 80:? Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 168-19 (.898) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points.? Arizona is 6-0 this season when topping the 80-point plateau.

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Early Signees:? The Arizona coaching staff signed four student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period.? Brandon Jennings (G, 6-0, 170) from Lakewood, Calif., Oak Hill Academy; Brendon Lavender (G, 6-4, 180) from Mesa, Ariz., Mountain View High School;? Emmanuel Negedu (F, 6-7, 230) from Bloomington, Ind., Brewster Academy; Jeff Withey (C, 6-11, 240) from San Diego, Calif., Horizon High School, will join the squad next fall.? According to rivals.com, this class was ranked as the seventh-best nationally.

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Up Next:? Following tonightˇ?s game, Arizona will not be in action for eight days.? The Wildcats host Arizona State on Sunday, Feb. 10.? Tip-off is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. MST and will be televised nationally by Fox Sports Net.

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