March 15, 2002
Date: Saturday, March 16, 2002 Time: approx. 4 p.m. MST Location: University Arena (18,018), Albuquerque, N.M. Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen) TV: CBS-TV (Gus Johnson/Dan Bonner)
GAME DATA: Seventh-ranked Arizona (23-9, 12-6 Pac-10) advanced to the second round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament's West Region ... The Wildcats, seeded No. 3 in the tournament, will face No. 11 seed Wyoming (22-8, 11-3 MWC) in Saturday's tilt ... Arizona is riding a five-game win streak, which equals a season long ... The Wildcats have now advanced past the first round for the fifth time in the last six years ... Since 1996-97, Arizona is 29-9 (.763) in the month of March. All-time, Arizona is 174-130 vs. the schools that make up the Mountain West Conference.
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 662-234 (.739) and 470-142 (.768) at Arizona ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Jay John ...Olson is 1-0 vs. Wyoming.
LAST TIME OUT: After a sluggish first half that saw Arizona shoot just 32.1 percent and commit nine turnovers, the Cats rebounded to defeat UC-Santa Barbara, 86-81, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Arizona opened the second half with a 15-6 run covering 4:50 to take a lead it would not relinquish. UA shot 59.1 percent from the floor and committed just two turnovers after the break. Jason Gardner's team-high 28 points led five UA players in double figures, while Rick Anderson added a career-high 19 points and nine rebounds.
THE SERIES: Today's game marks the 34th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding an 18-15 series advantage. The Wildcats won the last game in the series, which dates back to 1966, 94-84 on Dec. 5, 1998, in Phoenix. The first 32 meetings in the series came when both schools were members of the Western Athletic Conference (1962-78).
LAST MEETING: Arizona 94, Wyoming 84, Dec. 5, 1998. The Wildcats picked up a 10-point win in the Southwest Showdown at America West Arena in Phoenix.
QUICK HITS: Arizona is 15-1 when outrebounding the opposition this season ... The Cats are 14-2 when ahead at the break ... UA is 19-1 when outshooting the opposition ... Thursday's five-point win was the team's seventh this season by five points or less ... Arizona now has 33 wins all-time in NCAA Tournament play. Lute Olson is 31-16 in NCAA Tournament action at Arizona.
FIVE IN USUALLY WINS: Arizona had all five starters in double figures for just the fifth time this season, and each time it has happened away from home. UA is a spotless 5-0 when the starters score in double figures. On the year, Arizona is 8-0 when at least five players finish in double figures. Interestingly, the starters scored all 86 points, marking the first time this season that the UA bench has failed to tally a point.
NEUTRAL SITES: The Wildcats are 8-0 this season on neutral courts. Over the last two seasons, Arizona is 17-3 (.850) in neutral-site games.
POOR BALL MOVEMENT: At one point of the first half in Thursday's game with UCSB, Arizona went six minutes without scoring. Olson credited poor ball movement that led to bad shots in that and much of the rest of first half. Arizona was 3-of-21 in the first half vs. UCSB on possessions when making three passes or less. Things improved in the second half as the team hit 13-of-22 (.591) field goals in the second half and turned it over just twice.
ON THE GLASS: The Wildcats' +14 rebound edge (42-28) against the Gauchos was the team's third best of the season. Arizona was +21 vs. Purdue (49-28) and vs. California (42-28) to top Thursday's effort. It was UA's 13th game with 40 or more rebounds and the team is 11-2 when that happens.
50-POINT HALVES: Arizona's 54-point second half vs. UCSB marked the sixth time that the club has scored 50 or more points in a second half alone. UA is 6-1 when accomplishing the feat. Only the Connecticut game reversed the trend.
MOVING UP: Jason Gardner enters play tonight with 1,484 career points, which ranks him 12th on the all-time UA scoring list. Just ahead of the guard from Indianapolis is Michael Wright, who tallied 1,491 points from 1998-2001. Incidentally, Gardner has 74 double-figure scoring games in his 102-game career.
VS. NO. 11SEEDS: Saturday's game vs. Wyoming is UA's first in NCAA Tournament history against a No. 11 seed. It now means that Arizona has played at least one NCAA Tournament game against all 16 seed positions.
NCAA ONE-LINERS: Arizona is 5-1 on March 16 in NCAA Tournament play, tied for the most wins on any date in NCAA Tournament play ... UA is now 3-2 as a No. 3 seed ... UA is 1-1 in Albuquerque ... The Cats 22-14 in West Regional play ... Since the NCAA Tournament was expanded to a 64-team field, Arizona is 8-2 in second-round play ... Arizona is 1-1 vs. the Mountain West in the NCAA Tournament ... Wyoming will be Arizona's 46 different opponent in NCAA Tournament action.
CAREER HIGHS: Jason Gardner's 28 points were a career high in NCAA Tournament play ... His 12 made free throws equaled a career high ... Rick Anderson's 19 points and three three-point FGs vs. UCSB also equaled career highs.
FROM THE LINE: Arizona's 32 made free throws in 42 attempts were both season highs. UA parlayed 30 UCSB fouls (an opponent season high) into a 32-11 scoring advantage from the charity stripe.
THAT'S MORE LIKE IT: After struggling a bit with his shooting, Channing Frye broke out of his slump with a 5-of-7 night vs. the Gauchos. He finished with 16 points and also grabbed seven rebounds. Prior to Thursday, Frye had shot just .442 from the floor in his last 10 games.
ASSIST LEADER: Luke Walton, the Pac-10 leader in assists, tallied a game-high seven assists Thursday, marking the 11th time this season that he has had seven or more assists. He is 16 shy of 200 for the season. Additionally, Jason Gardner added five assists in the game to up his career record to 40-8 when collecting five or more assists.
TOP CAT: UA finished the Pac-10 slate with a 12-6 record, marking the 16th time in the last 17 seasons that the Cats have won at least 12 conference games, a feat matched by no other league foe. Dating back to the 1984-85 campaign, Arizona has averaged 15 wins per season. The only time in that span that Arizona failed to win at least 12 league games was 1996-97, the year the Cats won the national championship.
400 CLUB: The 2001-02 edition of the Arizona Wildcats became just the second UA club since 1987-88 to have four players with 400 or more points. With 19 points Thursday, Rick Anderson (408) joined Jason Gardner (664 points), Luke Walton (457) and Salim Stoudamire (419) over the 400-point plateau. This club could now joins the 1999-2000 team as the only two to do it since 1987-88.
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 take on Wyoming, Sat., March 16, for a berth in the NCAA West Regional Semifinals in San Jose, Calif.