Jan. 5, 2002
Date: Sunday, Jan. 6, 2002 Time: 7 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: No. 15 Arizona (8-4, 1-2 Pac-10) looks to get back on the winning side of the ledger Sunday vs. Oregon State (8-5, 1-2 Pac-10) in a must-win game for both clubs... A victory tonight would help the Cats avoid its worst Pac-10 start since 1983-84 (0-4) ... A win over the Beavers would also avoid UA's first two-game losing streak at McKale since the 1983-84 season ... Last year, Arizona was 8-1 in the return game against Pac-10 foes, 0-1 this year ... This season, UA opponents are averaging 79.0 points per game, the highest figure since 1978-79 (79.3), the year Arizona joined the Pac-10 conference.
The Rankings: After winning the Fiesta Bowl Classic last week, Arizona slipped to No. 15 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and rose to No. 14 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. The Cats were unranked in both preseason polls. Arizona has been ranked in 243 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 647-229 (.739) and 455-137 (.769) 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 (251) 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 273-28 (.907) in McKale Center and have won 201 of its last 214 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Jay John ...Olson is 33-6 vs. Oregon State, including an 18-0 mark at McKale Center.
Last Time Out: As was the case 13 days earlier in Eugene, Oregon used hot shooting from the perimeter to jump out to an early lead and eased to a 90-80 win on Friday. The Ducks shot 50 percent from the field in the opening half, including 5-of-8 from three-point range, and led 49-38 at the half. Arizona could only manage to get as close as eight points in the second half. The Cats, playing for the second straight game without Luke Walton, were outrebounded 39-34 in the contest. Jason Gardner led the squad with 22 points.
Scouting Oregon State: The Beavers enter play tonight with an 8-5 record (1-2 Pac-10) after Friday's 67-58 loss at Arizona State, which snapped a three-game win streak. OSU averages 67.6 points per game, shoots .475 from the floor and limits the opposition to just .401 shooting. Philip Ricci leads the team with per game averages of 17.7 points and 7.6 rebounds. Two other Beavers, Brian Jackson (12.2) and Adam Masten (10.8) also score in double figures.
The Series: Tonight's game marks the 52nd meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 36-15 series advantage. The Wildcats looks for the sweep after the 76-73 win in Corvallis on Dec. 20. All-time, Arizona is 20-5 in series games played in Tucson, 15-10 in Corvallis, and 1-0 in neutral-site games. See page 86 in the UA men's basketball media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Arizona 76, Oregon State 73, Dec. 20, 2001. Arizona overcame a shorthanded bench and weak outside shooting with some timely defense, free throw shooting and the first career double-double for Channing Frye to post the three-point win in the Pac-10 opener. Frye, who led the team with 18 points and 16 rebounds, was one of five UA players to finish in double figures. The Cats held OSU scoreless for the last 2:46 and Rick Anderson drained a running one-hander to give UA the win. Despite shooting just 42 percent from the floor, UA outscored OSU, 29-15 from the line.
Missing: Junior Luke Walton sat out the last two games due to a strained right Achilles' tendon. The injury, which occurred late in the first half of the Pepperdine game (Dec. 28), forced him to miss games for the first time in his UA career.
How Much is He Worth?: It is no secret that Arizona has struggled in the two games that Luke Walton has missed. Just how valuable is he? Without Walton in the lineup on Friday, 29 of Arizona's 70 field goal attempts (41 percent) came from three-point range with only 21 attempts inside the lane (30 percent). When you factor in a -5 rebound margin and just 12 assists, Walton presence is missed.
Finishing Strong: While Arizona's .429 FG percentage was slightly better Friday than its season average (.427), one area that came up a little short was the Cats' ability to finish strong near the basket. Against Oregon, Arizona connected on 12-of-21 (.571) of its attempts inside the lane, including five missed layups.
Out of the Gate: This season's 1-2 Pac-10 start marks the second time in the last 10 seasons that the Wildcats have opened league play with a 1-2 record. In each of those seasons (1991-92 and 1995-96), Arizona was able to rebound nicely, as both teams eventually finished second in the standings. The 1992 Cats finished league play 15-3, while the 1996 Cats went 13-5. Please note: The 1995-96 record reflects the on-court result. California defeated Arizona, 99-75, on Jan. 6 in Berkeley that year, but later forfeited the game due to NCAA sanctions.
Technically Speaking: Certainly not lost in Friday's action was a technical foul assessed to UA coach Lute Olson at 14:47 of the first half. It was Olson's first technical foul since Dec. 1, 1999, in an 86-62 win over BYU. That technical came at the 15:31 mark of the second half. In case you were wondering, that's a span of 4,460 minutes played between technicals.
On the Rise: Freshman guard Salim Stoudamire continues to see his field goal percentage improve. Over the last three games, Stoudamire has connected on 19-of-32 (.593) FG attempts, including 10-of-20 from three-point range. He is one of four players to average in double figures (11.2 ppg).
Sharp shooting?: Arizona's .427 field goal percentage as a team through 12 games would qualify as the program's worst FG percentage since 1971-72. Interestingly, Arizona has shot 50 percent or better in only six halves this season. The team is 6-0 this season when shooting better than the opposition.
Making Strides: Freshman Will Bynum continues to display a blossoming offensive game. With 15 points on Friday, Bynum has now scored in double figures in two straight games (a career first). He hit a career-best 7-of-15 shots from the floor vs. Oregon and is now averaging 7.3 ppg.
Fighting the Deficit: Friday's 10-point loss to Oregon equaled the second-worst home loss for the Wildcats in the Lute Olson era. Here are the top five losses since 1983-84:
12 - Tennessee 61, Arizona 49, Dec. 23, 1983 10 - Oregon 90, Arizona 80, Jan. 4, 2002 10 - UCLA 71, Arizona 61, Jan. 19, 1995 9 - Syracuse 79, Arizona 70, Dec. 23, 1995 9 - Stanford 85, Arizona 76, Jan. 6, 2001
Yr. G Min FG 3FG FT R A TP Avg. S. Stoudamire 2002 12 27.3 .396 .390 .964 1.6 13 134 11.2 Bynum 2002 11 23.0 .316 .250 .714 1.7 22 80 7.3 Arenas 2000 34 32.1 .453 .292 .750 4.1 71 523 15.4 Bibby 1997 34 32.6 .445 .394 .701 3.2 5.2 458 13.5 Terry 1996 31 9.8 .542 .577 .593 0.7 35 95 3.1 D. Stoudamire 1992 30 18.0 .455 .406 .771 2.2 76 217 7.2 Kerr 1984 28 22.6 .516 -- .692 1.2 35 198 7.1
Greater Contributions: Forward Dennis Latimore is also putting forth solid efforts for the Wildcats. In his last three games, the freshman from Halstead, Kan., is averaging 6.0 rebounds. Additionally, Latimore ranks fifth on the squad with a 3.8 rebounds per game average despite averaging just 14.0 minutes per game.
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 (34.9), he also ranks fourth in career three-point field goals (188) and third in three-point FG attempts (507).
Stepping In, Stepping Up: Freshman Channing Frye continues to make his presence felt in the middle. Since moving into the starting lineup on Dec. 20, Frye has Averaging 13.2 points and 10.6 rebounds to go with a .579 FG percentage (22-of-38) in his last five games. He also has three double-figure rebounding games and two double-doubles to his credit.
Winning The Close Ones: With a three-point win up in Corvallis included, Arizona is 5-0 in games decided by five points or less. Last year's NCAA runner-up went just 4-4 in the close games.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 48-5 (.906) 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, but just 3-2 this season.
Juggling the Lineup: Walton's absence caused Arizona to juggle the starting lineup yet again. The quintet of Rick Anderson, Channing Fyre, Jason Gardner, Salim Stoudamire and Will Bynum marked the fifth different lineup this season. It is also the first time UA started a three-guard lineup.
Moving Up: Jason Gardner enters play today with 1,073 career points, which ranks 29th on the UA career scoring list. Just ahead of the guard from Indianapolis is Joseph Blair, who scored 1,086 points from 1992-96.
Hoping for a Turnaround: Now three games into Pac-10 play, Arizona hopes to reverse a few figures as it relates to league play. In Pac-10 games, UA has been outshot from the floor (.497-.418), from three-point range (.500-.277), and from the line (.821-.775), while being outrebounded (37.0-32.0) and outscored (89.3-77.0). The only categories in which UA holds statistical advantages is in blocked shots (7-6) and steals (21-13).
Keys To Victory: If you're looking for a few quick thoughts on what it takes for Arizona to win...here goes. The Wildcats are 7-0 this season when outrebounding the opposition and 5-0 when leading at the half. To take the latter half a step further, UA is also 5-0 when leading after 10 minutes of play.
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: The Cats hit the road for Pacific-10 Conference play next week, as the team travels to Washington. UA plays at Washington State on Thursday, Jan. 10, at 7 p.m. PST, and at Washington on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 7 p.m.