Feb. 17, 2003
Date: Saturday, Feb. 22, 2003
Time: 7 p.m. MST
Location: Wells Fargo Arena (14,088), Tempe, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSNA (Tom Dillon/Tim Kempton)
Game Data: Top-ranked Arizona (20-2, 12-1 Pac-10) hits the road to take on in-state rival Arizona State (17-17, 9-4 Pac-10) Saturday in Tempe ... It is the first of three consecutive road games for Arizona ... In the Lute Olson era, Arizona is 118-59 (.667) in Pac-10 road contests, including 6-0 this season ... Over its last seven games in Wells Fargo Arena, Arizona is 6-1, but the lone loss came last season (88-72) ... The average margin of victory for either team in that span is 12.7 points, though two games were one-point decisions ... The Cats have held three of its last four opponents to less than 40 percent shooting.
The Rankings: Arizona remains the nation's top-ranked team in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls for the second straight week. The Cats have been the top-ranked team in 10 of 15 AP polling periods this season. UA has been ranked in 266 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 683-237 (.742) and 491-145 (.772) 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 third-most Pac-10 wins (274) in history, trailing UCLA's John Wooden (304, 1949-75) and Oregon State's Slats Gill (276, 1929-64) ... He has the second-best conference winning percentage (.781/274-77) 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 16 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 25 overall in his career, making him one of only five head coaches in NCAA history to record 25 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 292-30 (.907) in McKale Center and have won 220 of its last 235 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner ... Olson is 34-7 against Arizona State, including a 14-5 mark at Wells Fargo Arena.
Last Time Out: Spurred by a 32-4 run over 11 minutes of the second half and the play of Channing Frye, Arizona dominated USC, 86-59. Frye scored 18 of his career high 25 points in the first half and added a season-high 14 rebounds to lead the Cats to its 20th win of the season. The UA defense held USC to just .306 shooting for the game and allowed the Trojans just nine points over the game's final 14 minutes, while posting a 47-34 rebound advantage.
Scouting Arizona State: The Sun Devils (17-7, 9-4 Pac-10) enter Saturday's game riding a four-game win streak following Saturday's 85-69 win over UCLA. ASU has been outstanding at home, posting a 10-2 record to date. As a team, the Sun Devils shoot a Pac-10 leading 48.8 percent from the floor, post a +5.5 rebound margin and average 76.5 points per game, 10.1 points more than the opposition. Individually, freshman Ike Diogu leads ASU with per game averages of 18.8 points and 7.1 boards.
The Series: Tonight's game marks the 203rd meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 129-73 series advantage. Arizona has won 15 of the last 16 games in the series, which dates back to 1914, including a 71-63 decision in Tucson on Jan. 22. All-time, Arizona is 73-25 in series games played in Tucson, 55-48 in Tempe and 1-0 in neutral-site games. See page 123 of the UA media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Arizona 71, Arizona State 63, Jan. 22, 2003: A 31-10 Arizona State run over 9:21 of the second half cut a 26-point Arizona lead to five with just over five minutes to go in UA's eight-point win. Led by Jason Gardner, who made all six free throw attempts in the final three minutes, UA regrouped to hit eight straight free throws down the stretch to clinch the win. Gardner tallied a team-high 19 points to go with four assists and four steals.
Senior Class: Guard Jason Gardner was named one of 10 finalists for the 2002-03 Senior CLASS award. The Senior CLASS award, which stands for "Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School," is given to the outstanding male and female senior NCAA Division I basketball player. The 5-foot-10 native of Indianapolis, Ind., currently averaging 14.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists this season and could finish his career as Arizona's all-time leader in three-point field goals, games played, games started and minutes per game. He currently ranks in the top 10 in 11 Arizona career statistical categories. Fans can vote for this award on-line at www.seniorclassaward.com.
A Win Tonight . . . would be the 100th in an Arizona uniform for Wildcat seniors Jason Gardner and Luke Walton since their active playing careers started in 1999-2000 (Walton redshirted in 1998-99). In that span, Arizona has a 99-27 (.786) record. Fellow senior Rick Anderson, who redshirted in 2000-01, has an active record of 93-26 (.782).
Man in the Middle: Channing Frye kept Arizona in first place in the Pac-10 standings by averaging 16.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in a pair of wins last week. The sophomore from Phoenix, Ariz., connected on 14-of-20 (.700) field goal attempts and added two steals. Frye opened the week with modest totals of eight points, six rebounds and three blocks in Thursday's win over UCLA, but rebounded with a dominating performance Saturday vs. USC. He tallied a career-high 25 points and a season-high 14 rebounds to go with three blocks and two steals. Frye hit a career-best 11 field goals in 13 attempts, including 8-of-9 in the first half when he tallied a UA season-best 18 points. The effort boosted his season averages to 11.1 points and 7.5 rebounds to go with a .582 field goal percentage.
20-Wins: UA's 86-59 win Saturday against USC was Arizona's 20th of the season, which extend the program's streak to 16 consecutive seasons with at least 20 wins. That is the longest active streak in the nation. It is the school's 26th 20-win season and the 25th in 30 seasons as a college head coach for Lute Olson. Only Dean Smith (30), Jerry Tarkanian (29), Jim Boeheim (24), Bob Knight (24) and Olson had as many as 24 20-win seasons heading into 2002-03.
Board Work: Arizona improved its rebound margin ever so slightly this week (from +7.5 to +7.8), as the Cats combined to outrebound UCLA and USC by an average of 10.5 boards per game. Included in the effort was a 47-34 rebound advantage over USC, which marked the ninth time Arizona has outrebounded an opponent by 10 or more this season.
Accurate Shooting: The Wildcats 55.2 field goal percentage (32-of-58) was its second-best shooting day of the season, topped only by a 56.2 (41-of-73) effort against Western Kentucky in the season opener. Arizona is 4-0 this season when shooting 50 percent or better from the field. In addition, the Cats shot 63.3 percent (19-of-30) in the first half Saturday, its best shooting performance of any half this season.
Long Range Records: Jason Gardner connected on 4-of-9 three-point field goal attempts Saturday to become the first player in Arizona history to notch 300 career treys (he has 301). He is just the second player in Pac-10 history to accomplish the feat, joining Arizona State's Stevin Smith, who made 323 career three-point field goals from 1991-94. Incidentally, Gardner hit 8-of-16 three-point attempts this week to boost his season percentage behind the arc to .363 (49-of-135).
Running Away: Arizona's win over USC Saturday was highlighted by a 32-4 run over 11:10 of the second half. It was the biggest run of the season for the Wildcats and topped a 24-2 Arizona run over Western Kentucky in the season opener. Guard Salim Stoudamire ignited the run with a three-pointer at the 14:33 mark which took a 50-48 UA lead to 82-52. He scored all 10 of his points vs. the Trojans in the decisive run. Here is a look at UA's biggest runs this season:
28 points - 32-4 run over 11:10 vs. USC, Feb. 15 22 points - 24-2 run over 6:16 vs. Western Kentucky, Nov. 23 18 points - 21-3 run over 5:57 vs. UCLA, Feb. 13 17 points - 20-3 run over 12:22 at Kansas, Jan. 25
Limiting Looks: In picking up two wins at home this week, Arizona held UCLA and USC to a combined 36.2 percent shooting (47-of-130) from the field. In Saturday win vs. USC, Arizona limited the Trojans to just 30.6 percent (22-of-72) shooting from the field, which was a UA opponent season low. In the second half, USC shot just 23.1 percent (9-of-39) from the floor and was held to just two field goals in the final 14:37. Arizona limited USC to just 1-of-20 shooting over a stretch of 12:44 in the second half. All told, Arizona has held nine opponents to less than 40 percent shooting this season.
A Nice Weekend: Arizona improved to 12-1 this season in Pac-10 play and posted a 4-0 record against both Southern California schools for the first time since the 1992-93 season. The 63-point combined margin of victory against UCLA (36) and USC (27) was the third-highest for Arizona in a single Pac-10 weekend. Here are the top four:
79 - vs. Oregon (104-53) and Oregon State (86-58), Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 1992 71 - vs. Oregon State (99-48) and Oregon (88-68), Jan. 23-25, 1997 63 - vs. UCLA (106-70) and USC (86-59), Feb. 13-15, 2003 61 - vs. USC (93-70) and UCLA (102-64), Feb. 16-18, 1989
On the Upswing: Freshman Andre Iguodala's offensive output continues to show marked improvement, as he averaged 13.5 points and 2.0 assists this week. He hit 8-of-14 field goal attempts (.571) this week, including 2-of-3 from three-point range. In Thursday's win over UCLA, the Springfield, Ill., native high 4-of-8 field goal and 8-of-8 free throws en route to a career-high 18 points. In conference play, Iguodala is averaging 7.5 points and 4.8 rebounds, while shooting 43.4 percent from the floor, a 4.7 percent improvement over his season FG percentage.
Zeroing in: Jason Gardner's shooting eye continues to sharpen, as the senior guard has hit 50.0 percent of his attempts (17-of-34) over his last three games. Included in that effort is 9-of-20 (.450) shooting from behind the arc. Through 22 games, Gardner is shooting 41.0 percent from the floor (102-of-249), including 36.3 percent (49-of-135) from three-point range.
Doubling Up: Channing Frye's 25-point, 14-rebound effort Saturday marked Arizona's seventh double-double of the season and Frye's team-leading fourth (10th career) in 2002-03. It was also Frye's third in the last five games. It was also Arizona's 14th 20-point game of the season.
Under 60: The 59 points scored by USC Saturday was the third-lowest opponent point total of the season (52, UCLA/58, Saint Louis). It was also the 12th time the Wildcats have held an opponent to less than 70 points in 2002-03.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 77-7 (.917) 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.
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 head to the San Francisco Bay Area for its final road trip of the regular season. Arizona plays at California on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 7:30 p.m. PST and at Stanford on Saturday, March 1, at 4 p.m. PST. The games will be televised on Fox Sports Net and ABC-TV respectively.