Nov. 26, 2002
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2002 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 (1-0, 0-0 Pac-10) continues its season-opening homestand Wednesday against intrastate foe Northern Arizona (1-1, 0-0 Big Sky) ... The former Border Conference brothers meet on the hardwood for the first time since November 1996 ... Only two schools (Arizona State, 201, and New Mexico, 125) have faced Arizona more times than Northern Arizona's 112 ... All-time, Arizona is 94-32 (.746) against Big Sky conference foes ... Under Lute Olson, UA is 44-7 (.863) in the month of November.
The Rankings: For the third consecutive week, Arizona occupies the top spot in the both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. Arizona has been ranked in 255 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 664-235 (.739) and 472-143 (.767) 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 fourth most Pac-10 wins (262) 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 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 281-29 (.906) in McKale Center and have won 209 of its last 223 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner ... Olson is 9-0 against Northern Arizona.
Last Time Out: Rick Anderson scored 14 first-half points and ignited a 24-2 run over 4:42 of the first half to lead Arizona to the 107-68 win Saturday over No. 19 Western Kentucky. Anderson hit 6-of-9 shots on the day and scored eight of UA's first 14 points. The Cats, who shot 56.2 percent for the game, were balanced all around, as seven players finished in double figures, five players posted at least four rebounds, four tallied at least four assists and three had at least three steals. In its debut, the UA press forced 28 Hilltopper turnovers.
Scouting Northern Arizona: The Lumberjacks enter tonight's game with a 1-1 record after a third-place finish at the Mohegan Sun Classic in New Britain, Conn. NAU lost the opener, 70-65, to High Point on Nov. 22 in its opener and defeated Saint Peter's College, 99-93 in overtime on Nov. 23. The 'Jacks shoot 50.8 percent from the floor (61-of-120) and a 0.0 rebound margin, but have committed 40 turnovers in its two outings. Individually, Kelly Golob leads NAU with a 19.0 ppg average, while Ryan McDade leads the team with an 8.5 rebounds per game average.
The Series: It is the 113th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding an 85-27 advantage. Arizona has won the last 19 meetings against NAU, which dates back to Feb. 10, 1919, including an 88-70 win in Tucson on Nov. 26, 1996, in the last series meeting. The last NAU win came on Dec. 14, 1968, in a 76-73 decision in Flagstaff. All time, Arizona is 56-5 in series meetings in Tucson, 29-21 in Flagstaff and 0-1 in neutral-site meetings. Page 124 in the UA media guide has more series information.
Last Meeting: Arizona 88, Northern Arizona 70, Nov. 26, 1996. Leading by as many as 15 points late in the second half, Arizona withstood a 19-5 NAU run to close the half and then used a 12-2 run of its own early in the second to put the game out of reach. Michael Dickerson hit 11-of-21 field goals en route to his second consecutive 31-point night, while Donnell Harris notched career high totals of 17 points and 13 rebounds. The Cats connected on 21-of-37 field goal attempts (.568) in the second half, as Arizona outscored NAU 53-34 to claim the victory
Another Milestone: Tonight's game is the 900th for Lute Olson as a collegiate head coach. Other than Olson, there are only 10 active coaches in any division of NCAA basketball that have coached in 900 or more games. According to official NCAA records, a win tonight would tie Olson with John Wooden on the all-time win list at 664.
Senior Leader: Forward Rick Anderson posted modest totals of 14 points and four rebounds Saturday, but his effort was essential in Arizona's season-opening 107-68 win over No. 19 Western Kentucky. The senior connected on 6-of-9 shots from the floor, including 2-of-3 from three-point range and added a block and a steal in just 19 minutes of action.
Nice Debut: Freshman guard Hassan Adams put forth a nice debut in Saturday's win, as the Los Angeles native scored a team-high 22 points in just 17 minutes of action. Adams hit 9-of-12 shots from the floor, while adding four boards, three assists and three steals. Including Arizona's two exhibition games, Adams has connected on 26-of-35 (.743) field goal attempts in an Arizona uniform.
The Century Mark: Arizona topped the 100-point plateau for the 50th time in the Lute Olson era and the 87th time in school history. All-time, the Wildcats are 83-4 when scoring at least 100 points. A Lute Olson-coached Arizona team has never lost when topping the century mark.
Off on the Right Foot: Arizona's 39-point win over Western Kentucky was its largest season-opening win since 2000-01, when the Cats defeated Chaminade, 97-57, in the opening game of the 2000 Maui Invitational. It was the largest debut win over a Division I opponent since Nov. 20, 1997, when UA defeated Morgan State by 62 points (115-53). Arizona improved to 17-3 in season openers under Lute Olson.
Balance: Seven Arizona players managed to finish in double figures last Saturday, marking the first time the program has accomplished the feat since Nov. 24, 1997, when the Wildcats turned the trick on Boston College in a 99-69 win at the Maui Invitational. In that game Mike Bibby (22), Michael Dickerson (17), A.J. Bramlett (11), Miles Simon (11), Bennett Davison (10), Donnell Harris (10) and Jason Terry (10) each tallied at least 10 points. Incidentally, Saturday's win over Western Kentucky marked the fifth time UA has placed seven players in double figures in the same game.
Another Nice Debut: Despite being the only freshman in the starting lineup, forward Andre Iguodala certainly didn't perform like on Saturday. The Springfield, Ill., product posted 10 points, six rebounds four assists and two steals in 25 minutes of action. The three UA freshmen combined for 34 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists against Western Kentucky.
Pressing: The newly-installed Arizona press lived up to expectations in the opener, as Arizona forced 28 Western Kentucky turnovers. The Wildcat pressure limited the Hilltoppers to just 36.0 percent shooting in the first half (9-of-25). Seven of Western Kentucky's 15 first-half turnovers were directly related to Arizona's full-court pressure. Arizona tallied 17 steals in the game, which was four more than the team tallied in any game last season. Interestingly, six UA players collected two or more pilfers, and no one had more than three.
Moving Up: Luke Walton moved into 10th place on the Arizona career assist list with his seven assists on Saturday. He now has 447 for his career, which moved him ahead of Steve Kerrr's 443. Next up for Walton is Sean Elliott in ninth place with 451.
No Cupcakes: For the second year in a row, Arizona opened the season with a win over a ranked opponent. Last year, the Wildcats opened the season with a 71-67 win over No. 2 Maryland at the Coaches vs. Cancer IKON Classic in New York City. Arizona is 19-12 vs. ranked opponents since the start of the 2000-01 season.
Sharing the Wealth: Playing time was certainly spread evenly on Saturday, as nine players saw at least 17 minutes of action. Seven of those nine players finished in double figures. The UA bench was responsible for 55 of the team's 107 points and 22 of the team's 42 rebounds. The bench logged 92 minutes.
Accuracy: Arizona connected on 41-of-73 (.562) shots in the game, including 20-of-35 (.571) in the second half. Thirteen of UA's field goals were layups or dunks. Since the start of the 2000-01 season, Arizona is 23-1 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.
Controlling the Glass: The Wildcats also posted a 42-25 rebound advantage in Saturday's win though no UA player reached double figures. Last year, Arizona was 16-1 when outrebounding the opposition and only twice did it manage to post a +17 rebound advantage.
Not too Tired: The senior trio of Rick Anderson, Jason Gardner and Luke Walton combined for 38 points, eight rebounds, 11 assists and five steals. The senior combined to hit 14-of-25 (.640) FG attempts, including 6-of-11 from three-point range. Perhaps most importantly, the guys played just 66 minutes.
Good Start: Sophomore guard Will Bynum got off to a good start with a 12-point, four-assist, two-steal effort vs. Western Kentucky. Bynum, who shot 34.4 percent from the floor last season, hit 5-of-10 attempts from the floor in the season opener.
Sinking 'Em Fast: It took more than two years, but junior Jason Ranne finally got a trip to the free throw line on Saturday. After being fouled attempting a three-point field goal, Ranne stepped to the line and knocked down his first two free throws before missing the third. He also managed an assist in two minutes of action.
More Records: With five three-point attempts vs. Western Kentucky, senior Jason Gardner became the school's all-time leader in three-point FG attempts with 681. He surpassed the former mark of 677 set by Damon Stoudamire set from 1992-95. Gardner also moved into fourth place on UA's career starts list with 104.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 62-7 (.899) 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.
Talent Pool: With the 2002-03 NBA season just underway, no fewer than 10 former Wildcats are on NBA active rosters. Only two schools in the country (North Carolina 14; Kentucky 11) have more of its alumni on active rosters. Here is the list of Arizona players currently playing in the NBA: Gilbert Arenas (G/Golden State/2nd year), Mike Bibby (G/Sacramento/5th year), Michael Dickerson (G/Memphis/5th year), Richard Jefferson (F/New Jersey/2nd year), Steve Kerr (G/San Antonio/15th year), Chris Mills (F/Golden State/10th year), Sean Rooks (C/Los Angeles Clippers/11th year), Damon Stoudamire (G/Portland/8th year), Jason Terry (G/Atlanta/4th year), and Loren Woods (C/Minnesota/2nd year).
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: The Wildcats return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 3, when the squad hosts Saint Louis. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be seen on Fox Sports Net Arizona.