Jan. 18, 2002
Date: Saturday, Jan. 19, 2002 Time: Noon MST Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz. Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls) TV: CBS (Kevin Harlan/Clark Kellogg)
Game Data: No. 15 Arizona (12-4, 5-2 Pac-10) rides a four-game win streak into Saturday's matinee vs. No. 9 UCLA (13-3, 5-1 Pac-10) ... It's the second straight game against a nationally-ranked team and the Cats' eighth ranked opponent of the year (5-2) with five of those ranked in the top 10 ... Arizona has scored 90 or more points in three of the last four games and is averaging 89.0 points in that span ... So much for the bright lights of network television: The Wildcats are 0-2 on CBS-TV this season ... Since the start of the 1983-84 season only Arizona (258) and UCLA (233) have won more than 200 Pac-10 games.
The Rankings: After picking up a pair of Pac-10 road wins last week, Arizona rose to No. 15 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 18 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. The Cats were unranked in both preseason polls. Arizona has been ranked in 245 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 651-229 (.740) and 459-137 (.770) 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 (255) 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 275-28 (.908) in McKale Center and have won 203 of its last 216 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Jay John ...Olson is 21-17 vs. UCLA, including a 13-5 mark at McKale Center.
Last Time Out: Luke Walton registered his first career triple-double and the Wildcats played its best game of the season in handing first-place USC its first Pac-10 loss Thursday in a 97-80 win. Walton tallied 27 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in posting the 15th triple-double in league history. Arizona jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first 2:30 and put it out of reach at 34-7 with 6:03 left in the opening half. Five UA players finished in double figures and the team shot better than 50 percent from the floor for the second time in its last three games.
Scouting UCLA: The Bruins (13-3, 5-1 Pac-10) enter play on Saturday having won 11 of its last 12 games and tied for the Pac-10 lead. UCLA is averaging 79.7 points and shooting .491 from the field in conference play, while limiting opponents to 74.0 points and .409 shooting. Junior Jason Kapono leads the team in scoring on the season with an 18.2 points per game average, while Dan Gadzuric leads the team with a 6.5 rebounds per game mark, 9.2 boards in league play.
The Series: Today's game marks the 60th meeting of the two schools with UCLA holding a 36-24 series advantage. The Wildcats have won six of the last eight games in the series, which dates back to 1923, but dropped a 79-77 (OT) decision to the Bruins in the last meeting on Feb. 15. All-time, Arizona is 15-8 in series games played in Tucson, 8-26 in Los Angeles, and 1-2 in neutral-site games.
Last Meeting: UCLA 79, Arizona 77 (OT), Feb. 17, 2001. After shooting a season-low 24.1 percent from the floor in the first half and trailing by 13 with 10 minutes to go, Arizona stormed back and forced overtime before falling to UCLA, 79-77. Gilbert Arenas scored 19 of his career-high 30 points in the second half and led a 19-6 run to get back in it. UA actually led in the final minutes before a layup and follow attempt both missed to force OT. UCLA hit all five of its FG attempts in the extra session and had to withstand another Arizona rally that came up short at the buzzer.
Triple-Double: With a pass that led to a Will Bynum trey with 4:09 remaining, Luke Walton registered the sixth triple-double in Arizona history with a career-high 27 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. After flirting with the elusive statistical accomplishment several times this season, Walton was well on his way to the triple-double by halftime, as he tallied 20 points, seven boards and five assists. For good measure, the San Diego native also added four blocks and four steals.
Record-Setting Performance: Freshman Salim Stoudamire has established a new UA record for consecutive free throws made at 35, surpassing the old mark of 29 set by Dylan Rigdon during the 1993-94 season. On the year, Stoudamire is 45-of-46 (.978) from the free throw line and leads the nation in that category. In case you were wondering, the Pac-10 record is 49 by Ryan Mendez of Stanford set last year and the NCAA record is 64 by Joe Dykstra of Western Illinois set during the 1981-82 season.
Return of the Microwave: In a very Vinnie Johnson-esque performance Thursday night, Will Bynum posted his best offensive performance of the season by scoring a season-high 17 points in just 15 minutes. Bynum heated up in a hurry vs. USC, as he hit 6-of-8 shots from the field, including 4-of-4 from three-point range.
Finding the Range: Led by the Wildcat frontline, who combined to hit 16-of-21 (.762) shots from the floor against USC, Arizona shot .544 from the floor. It marked the third time in the last four games that UA has shot 50 percent or better from the field. In this current four-game win streak, Arizona has a .517 (119-of-230) FG percentage. The team is now shooting .448 for the season.
Good Starts: Obviously, getting off to a good start is one key to a UA win, as the team is 8-0 when leading at halftime. Thursday's game was somewhat of an anomaly, as it marked just the second time that UA had a halftime lead in McKale Center, and furthermore, was the first time this season that the Cats have held a lead with 10:00 remaining in the first half. Arizona led 26-7 at that point vs. USC.
Toeing the Line: Spearheaded by Luke Walton's career-high totals of 13 free throws in 15 attempts, Arizona equaled a season high with 38 free throw attempts. Despite missing 11 of those attempts, the Cats did outsocre the Trojans 27-17 from the charity stripe.
Positive Signs: Now that the team is enjoying a modest four-game win streak (a season-best), one statistic that has been prominent is a positive assist:turnover ratio. In those four games, Arizona has amassed 74 assists against 45 turnovers. Included in the effort was a +9 margin (22-13) Thursday vs. USC. The 22 assists vs. USC equaled a season high.
Balanced Attack: For just the third time this season Thursday, Arizona placed five players in double figures. Obviously, the balanced scoring attack is a benefit, as the club is 3-0 when that happens.
Moving Up: Jason Gardner enters play tonight with 1,159 career points, which ranks 23rd on the UA career scoring list. Just ahead of the guard from Indianapolis is Craig McMillan, who scored 1,174 points from 1985-88.
More Good Signs: The simple fact that Arizona held USC to an opponent-low .329 field goal percentage, including .257 shooting (9-of-35) in the first half, speaks louder than its offensive output. The Cats limited USC to just 26 first-half points and led 51-26 at the break. Incidentally, UA opponents field goal percentages have dropped in each of the last three games.
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 (35.0), he also ranks second in career three-point field goals (200), second in three-point FG attempts (539), and eighth in steals (149). Gardner and Damon Stoudamire are the only UA players with 200 or more career three-point field goals.
Streak Stopped: With a season-low eight points in Thursday's win, Jason Gardner's 15-game double-figure scoring streak came to an end. It was the longest such streak of his career. On the good side, he did manage to equal a season high with seven assists and play a season-low 32 minutes.
Team Leader: Channing Frye leads the Cats with a .609 (56-of-92) field goal percentage and has been very accurate of late. In his last three games, Frye has made 15-of-16 (.933) field goal attempts, including nine consecutive. In Pac-10 play, Frye is shooting .667 (34-of-51) from the field.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 52-5 (.912) 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 7-2 this year.
A Presence: Freshman Dennis Latimore certainly made a quick impact in Thursday's game, as he collected five of his six rebounds, an assist and a block in 16 first half minutes. It's been that way all season, as the Halstead, Kan., product ranks fifth on the team in rebounding (3.9 rpg) despite averaging just 14.9 minutes per game.
Behind the Arc: Led by Will Bynum's 4-of-4 performance Thursday from three-point range, Arizona sank at least eight treys in a game for the eighth time this season. The team went 8-of-20 from behind the arc, marking the fifth time the Cats have shot 40 percent or better from three-point range.
Offensive Output: The Arizona offense has increased its productivity of late, and now ranks second in the conference in scoring (82.0 ppg) after equaling a season high with 97 points. After averaging 75.5 points in its first nine games, UA is averaging 86.2 points in its last seven outings.
Board Work: In addition to setting a new school record for consecutive free throws, Salim Stoudamire also equaled a career high with four rebounds vs. USC. Interestingly, his two highest rebound totals have come in games in which has also scored a lot of points: 25 vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 28 and 18 vs. USC on Thursday.
Ninety: Arizona has scored 90 points or more five times this season (four times at McKale Center) and in four of the last seven games. Since the start of the 1997-98 season, the Wildcats are 36-2 (.947) when topping the 90-point plateau. The only losses in that span came at USC (91-90, March 5, 1998) and vs. Kansas (105-97, Dec. 1, 2001).
Crowd Support: Thursday night's attendance of 14,574 was the largest in McKale Center this season and the largest in the facility since March 4, 1999, when 14,594 witnessed UA's 88-73 win over USC.
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: Following Saturday's contest, Arizona faces intrastate rival Arizona State in Tempe on Wednesday, Jan. 23. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. MST and will be televised on Fox Sports Net. The Cats host Connecticut in another CBS nationally-televised affair from McKale Center on Saturday, Jan. 26. Tip-off is scheduled for 11 a.m. MST.