Feb. 25, 2002
Date: Thursday, Feb. 28, 2002 Time: 8:30 p.m. MST Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz. Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls) TV: FSN (Steve Physioc/Marques Johnson)
Game Data: No. 14 Arizona (18-8, 11-5 Pac-10) closes the regular season at home beginning Thursday against No. 17 Stanford (17-8, 10-6 Pac-10) at McKale Center ... Arizona is 7-5 this season against ranked opponents, including a 2-2 mark at home ... Since 1997-98, Arizona is a combined 7-1 in the final two games of the regular season, 4-0 at McKale Center ... In its last two games, Arizona is shooting .519 percent (28-of-54) from the floor in the first half with 11 field goals coming from three-point range.
The Rankings: Arizona picked up a win last week and held steady at No. 14 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 251 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 657-233 (.738) and 465-141 (.767) 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 (261) 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 279-28 (.909) in McKale Center and have won 207 of its last 220 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Jay John ...Olson is 29-10 vs. Stanford, including a 16-1 mark at McKale Center.
Last Time Out: Salim Stoudamire scored a team-high 24 points and Will Bynum grabbed two key rebounds late to preserve an 83-75 victory last Wednesday over Arizona State. Stoudamire, who was 6-of-9 from the field and 9-of-10 from the line, led a UA attack that outscored ASU 28-15 and outshot them .778-.484 from the free throw line. Isaiah Fox, making his first start since Dec. 15, responded with eight points and 12 rebounds that led to a 42-37 rebound advantage for the Wildcats.
Scouting Stanford: The Cardinal (17-8, 10-6 Pac-10) enter Thursday's game riding a two-game losing streak after Saturday's 95-92 home loss to UCLA. The Pac-10's best rebounding team, Stanford leads the league in rebounding offense (41.4) and rebound margin (+8.4) and boasts the leading individual rebounder in Curtis Borchardt (11.2) as well. Explosive offensively, the Cardinal averages 81.5 points per game and outscores the opposition by 10.5 points per game. Junior Casey Jacobsen leads the league in scoring at 22.6 points per game, and is one of three Stanford players averaging in double figures.
The Series: Tonight's game marks the 62nd meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 4-20 series advantage. The Wildcats have won seven of the last nine games in the series, which dates back to Dec. 20, 1937, including an 88-82 overtime win in Palo Alto on Feb. 2. All-time, Arizona is 24-4 in series games played in Tucson, 14-14 in Palo Alto, and 3-2 in neutral-site games.
Last Meeting: Arizona 88, Stanford 82 (OT), Feb. 2, 2002. The Wildcats used solid shooting and timely defense to erase a 15-point second half deficit and defeat Stanford in overtime. UA shot .512 in the second half (.625 in overtime) and limited the Cardinal to .353 shooting and forced 10 turnovers after the break. All five UA starters finished in double figures, including three with 20 or more points. Channing Frye led the way by hitting 10-of-13 FG attempts en route to a career-high 22-point, 10 rebound effort.
First-Year Phenom: In Arizona's only game last week, Salim Stoudamire tallied a team-high 24 points, three rebounds and a steal in the Wildcats 83-75 win over intrastate rival Arizona State. Stoudamire knocked down an efficient 6-of-9 (.667) shots from the floor, including 3-of-4 (.750) from three-point range, and 9-of-10 from the line in coming within a point of matching his season high. It was his 18th double-figure scoring game, and his third of 20 points or more. Stoudamire, who has connected on 80-of-157 (.510) field goal attempts in his last 19 games, including 44-of-87 (.506) from three-point range, is averaging 13.0 points per game through 26 games.
Select Company: Luke Walton has collected 10 assists in each of his last two games. His 10 assists in consecutive games (at USC and ASU) is first time since 1994-95 that a UA player has registered consecutive double-figure assist games. That year, Damon Stoudamire did it against Oregon State (10) and Oregon (14), Feb. 23 and 25. Stoudamire also accomplished the feat in 1992-93 at USC (10) and at UCLA (11), Jan. 7 and 9.
Board Work: After being outrebounded by 19 in two games last week in Los Angeles, Arizona bounced back well with its rebounding efforts on against Arizona State. In Wednesday's win, Arizona outrebounded ASU, 42-37, marking just the fourth time in the last eight games that the Cats have posted a rebound advantage. Arizona is 11-1 this season when outrebounding the opposition.
Tough "D": While Wednesday's win wasn't the prettiest of victories, there were moments that did stand out. Over the last 9:30 of the second half, Arizona held the Sun Devils to just 5-of-19 (.263) shooting from the floor.
Moving Up: Jason Gardner enters play tonight with 1,351 career points, which places him 16th on the all-time UA scoring list. Just ahead of the guard from Indianapolis is Joe Nehls, who tallied 1,409 points from 1976-80. Incidentally, Gardner has 68 double-figure scoring games in his 96-game career.
Toeing the Line: Arizona parlayed 29 Arizona State personal fouls into 36 free throws Wednesday and enjoyed a 28-15 scoring advantage from the from the line. UA outshot ASU, .778-.484, from the charity stripe, led by the trio of Jason Gardner (8-8), Salim Stoudamire (9-10) and Rick Anderson (7-9), who combined to hit 24-of-27 FT attempts. Incidentally, Stoudamire's nine and Anderson's seven free throws both set a new individual career high.
Out of the Blocks Quickly: Talk about good starts...junior Rick Anderson tallied 14 of his 17 points and six of his nine rebounds in the first half of Wednesday's win. He scored seven of those points in the game's first 3:07, and by that point had outscored the Sun Devils, 7-4.
Staying Even: In a very tightly-contested game, Arizona managed to remain even with ASU in turnover differential (13-13), which continued a season-long trend. This season the Wildcats are 10-2 when committing the same or less turnovers than the opposition. The team also has a spotless 5-0 record at home in Pac-10 play when accomplishing the feat.
Lineup Change: To help combat UA recent rebounding woes, freshman Isaiah Fox was inserted into the starting lineup vs. Arizona State. The center from Santa Monica, Calif., responded with eight points and a game-high 12 rebounds in the contest. It was Fox's first start since Dec. 15 and his seventh of the season. All told, Arizona is 5-2 with Fox in the starting five. Additionally, his four field goals, one block and 33 minutes played each equaled or set season highs, while his 10 defensive rebounds equaled a UA team high in 2001-02.
Do as I Do: Sometimes it's best to lead by example. Luke Walton (10) and Jason Gardner (6) combined to tally all 16 of the team's assists Wednesday night, proving that ball movement is a good thing. For Walton, it was his fourth double-figure assist game of the season. He continues to lead the Pac-10 at 6.2 assists per game and enters next Thursday's game with Stanford eight assists shy of 400 for his career.
Big Things, Small Packages: Arizona's ability to control the glass Wednesday was certainly one of the keys to victory. When the game was on the line, it was one of the smallest players on the court that had the biggest impact. Five-foot-10 Will Bynum snagged two key rebounds in the final minute of play to secure the win. The freshman guard from Chicago finished the game with four rebounds.
Off the Mark: Center Channing Frye has connected on just 9-of-26 (.346) of his field goal attempts over his last four games. Prior to the slump, the freshman from Phoenix was shooting .638 (90-of-141) from the floor overall and .698 (60-of-86) in conference play. Despite the slump, Frye still leads the team with a .593 FG percentage.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 57-7 (.891) 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 12-4 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 (35.4), he also ranks second in career three-point field goals (232), second in three-point FG attempts (623), eighth in steals (155), ninth in starts (95), and 10th in assists (434) and free throws (351). Gardner and Damon Stoudamire are the only UA players with 200 or more career three-point field goals and 600 or more attempts.
Good Looks: Salim Stoudamire has stepped up his shooting in recent weeks, as he has hit 25-of-45 (.565) of his attempts from the floor and 13-of-23 (.565) from behind the arc in his last five games. In that span, he is averaging 16.8 points per game.
Making the Most of his Time: He may not have seen a lot of playing time against the Sun Devils, but freshman Dennis Latimore certainly made the most of his nine minutes. The forward from Halstead, Kan., scored five points (2-of-3 FGs) and grabbed a rebound. On the season, Latimore 1.7 points and 2.6 rebounds per game.
400 Club: If the numbers hold up, the 2001-02 edition of the Arizona Wildcats has a chance to accomplish a rare statistical feat: have four players score at least 400 points in a single season. Jason Gardner (531 points) is already over the mark, while Luke Walton (354) leads a group of three players each within 62 points of 400. Obviously, the Cats would need to play a few more than the three remaining games on the team's schedule (counting the Pac-10 Tournament). But it is possible that this club could join the 1999-2000 team as the only two to do it since 1987-88.
A Rarity: The Wildcats got back on the winning side of the ledger last Wednesday with an eight-point win over Arizona State, which snapped a two-game losing streak. This season Arizona has a 5-2 record in games immediately following a loss.
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: Arizona hosts California on Saturday, March 2, in its final home game of the 2001-02 campaign. That game is scheduled to tip-off at Noon MST and will be televised by CBS-TV. Following Saturday's game, the Wildcats travel to Los Angeles for the second incarnation of the Pacific-10 Conference Men's Basketball Tournament. The event runs from March 7-9 in the Staples Center.