Feb. 25, 2003
Date: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2003
Time: 7:30 p.m. PST
Location: Haas Pavilion (11,892), Berkeley, Calif.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSN (Steve Physioc/Marques Johnson)
Game Data: Top-ranked Arizona (21-2, 13-1 Pac-10) begins its final road trip of the regular season Thursday at No. 23 California (19-5, 12-3 Pac-10) ... It is the middle game of three consecutive road dates for Arizona, UA's longest road trip of the season ... In the Lute Olson era, Arizona is 119-59 (.668) in Pac-10 road contests, including 7-0 this season ... Opponents are shooting just 40.6 percent from the field against Arizona, which is the lowest figure in the Pac-10 ... Arizona has held four of the last five opponents to less than 40 percent shooting from the field.
The Rankings: Arizona remains the nation's top-ranked team in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls for the third straight week. The Cats have been the top-ranked team in 11 of 16 AP polling periods this season. UA has been ranked in 267 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 684-237 (.743) and 492-145 (.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 (275) 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 (.781/275-77) 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 33-9 against California, including a 3-0 mark at Haas Pavilion.
Last Time Out: In front of the fourth-largest crowd in Arizona State history, the top-ranked Wildcats methodically controlled tempo throughout to earn the 20-point victory. UA outscored ASU, 12-4 to close the first half and opened the second with a 12-1 run to turn a tie game into a 19-point lead. Each player in the Arizona starting frontline notched a double-double and the trio combined for 65 points and 32 boards. UA shot a season-best 57.4 percent from the floor.
Scouting California: The Golden Bears (19-5, 12-3 Pac-10) enter Thursday's game with a spotless 12-0 record at Haas Pavilion with the average margin of victory at 10.3 points per game. Collectively, Cal shoots 47.5 percent from the floor, posts a +1.6 rebound margin and averages 75.6 points per game. Individually, three Golden Bears average in double figures, led by senior Joe Shipp's 21.1 ppg mark, a figure that leads the Pac-10. Amit Tamir leads the club in rebounding at 6.6 boards per game.
The Series: Tonight's game marks the 65th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 41-23 series advantage. Arizona has won 13 of the last 15 games in the series, which dates back to Feb. 1, 1924, including a 95-80 decision in Tucson on Feb. 1. All-time, Arizona is 21-8 in series games played in Tucson, 18-14 in Berkeley and 2-1 in neutral-site games. See page 123 of the UA media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Arizona 95, California 80, Feb. 1, 2003: Jason Gardner's team-high 18 points led a balanced UA attack as the Wildcats claimed sole possession of first place in the Pac-10 with a 15-point win over California. Gardner, who hit 6-of-10 field goal attempts, was one of six Wildcats to finish in double figures. Arizona used a 7-1 run over the last 2:24 of the first half to push the lead to double figures then quickly ran it out to 18 points with 17:40 remaining in the second half.
Moving Up: An Arizona win tonight would be the 276th career Pac-10 win for Lute Olson, which would tie him for second place on the conference's all-time wins list. Olson enters the game with a Pac-10 record of 275-77 (.781) and trails UCLA's John Wooden (304) and Oregon State's Slats Gill (276) on the league's career wins list.
More Milestones: If it seems like Jason Gardner has played forever in an Arizona uniform, the perception isn't too far off. The senior point guard enters Thursday's game on the cusp of two more milestones. Gardner is 16 minutes shy of overtaking Sean Elliott (4,499/1985-89) for first place on the UA career minutes played list. He currently has 4,484 minutes played in his 127-game career. Gardner also enters play this week just 21 points shy of 1,000 career points in Pac-10 games only.
Player of the Week: Frye continued his run of strong performances with a 23-point, 10-rebound, four-blocked shot effort in Saturday's 92-72 win at Arizona State. The sophomore from Phoenix, Ariz., connected on 9-of-11 field goal attempts and was 5-of-5 from the free throw line in posting his second straight double-double and his fourth in the last six games. Frye was exceptionally good in the first half vs. the Sun Devils as he hit 6-of-7 field goals en route to 17 points, five rebounds and two blocked shots. The effort boosted Frye's team-leading totals to 59.7 percent shooting from the floor and 7.7 rebounds per game, while chipping in with 11.6 points and 2.0 blocks per game. For his efforts, Frye earned Pac-10 Player-of-the-Week honors.
Fast Starts: Arizona's win on Saturday was its 16th in the last 17 games and moved the team to 21-2 on the season. That equals the best start in school history as both the 1987-88 and 1992-93 teams were 21-2 after 23 games played. The '87-88 squad finished the season 35-3 while the '92-93 squad finished 24-4.
Winning Margins: The Wildcats improved to 13-1 in Pac-10 play with Saturday's 20-point win over Arizona State and have won its last three conference games by a combined 83 points. In those three games, UA opponents averaged 67.0 points while shooting 37.2 percent from the field.
Getting Better: Over the last five games, sophomore Channing Frye has posted numbers as good as anyone in the Pac-10. In that span, the 6-foot-10 center is averaging 19.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.8 blocked shots to go with a 68.4 field goal percentage. He has three double-doubles in that span and has collected five assists and four steals. Frye has also stepped it up at the line, as he has connected on 17-of-23 (.739) of his free throw attempts, which is 8.5 percent better than his season percentage (65.4).
Multifaceted: In addition to his sixth consecutive game in double figures (14th of the season), Salim Stoudamire equaled a career high with four assists in Saturday's win. He now has 41 assists on the season, three more than he had in all of last season. Stoudamire is one of four Arizona players with more than 40 assists to date in 2002-03.
Double Your Pleasure: It's safe to say that the UA front line dominated play in Saturday's win combining for 65 points (seven shy of ASU's team total), 32 rebounds (equaling ASU's output), six assists and five blocked shots. All told, the triumvirate of Luke Walton (23 points/10 rebounds), Rick Anderson (19/12) and Channing Frye (23/10) connected on 26-of-40 (.650) field goal attempts and in a statistical rarity, each posted double-doubles. Three UA players with double-doubles in the same game has been accomplished three previous times in the Lute Olson era:
April 2, 1988 vs. Oklahoma: Cook (16 pts./11 reb.), Elliott (31 pts./11 reb.), Tolbert (11 pts./13 reb.) Dec. 18, 1988 vs. WSU: Buechler (13 pts./13 reb.), Cook (21 pts./11 reb.), Elliott (21 pts./11 reb.) Jan. 9, 1992 vs. USC: Rooks (16 pts./10 reb.), Stoudamire (19 pts./10 reb.), Womack (11 pts./11 reb.)
Good Looks: Good shooting goes a long way towards improving the quality of play, and the Cats have done that of late. Over its last five games, Arizona is shooting 49.4 percent from the field (158-of-320). That figure jumps to 53.6 percent (103-of-192) in Arizona's last three outings, including Saturday's 57.4 percent effort (35-of-61) at Arizona State, which was a season best. Two of Arizona three best shooting efforts this season have come in its last two games.
Always on the Run: Runs were once again key to the Wildcat effort Saturday, as the team sandwiched two runs around the halftime break to put the game out of reach. In the final 2:38 of the first half, the Wildcats outscored ASU, 12-4, to turn a tie game into an eight-point halftime lead, and then opened the second half with a 12-1 run over 5:26 to push the lead to 19 points. In that span of 8:12, Arizona limited Arizona State to just 1-of-11 shooting. All told, UA held ASU to just 32.4 percent shooting in the second half.
Points Not Essential: Proving that great players don't have to score to be successful, guard Jason Gardner asserted a subtle dominance over a game in which Arizona controlled tempo throughout. In getting the ball where it need to be, Gardner took just one first-half shot, but passed out six assists and steered his team to an eight-point lead at the break. He scored all eight of his points in the second half, including four straight that capped the 12-1 run that put the game out of reach, and finished with a season-high 10 assists. It marked the third double-figure assist game of his career.
Off the Bench: Freshman Andre Iguodala continues to show a solid all-around game. Saturday at Arizona State, the 6-foot-6 forward tallied eight points, five rebounds and a career-best four blocked shots. Over his last five games, Iguodala is averaging 9.8 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 45.2 percent from the field. He also has seven assists, seven blocks and four steals in that span.
Select Company: Jason Gardner and Luke Walton statistical accomplishments have put them into very select company. Gardner, who enters Thursday's game with 1,847 career points, 585 assists and 209 steals, is one of just four players in Pac-10 history to reach 1,500 points, 500 assists and 200 steals. Meanwhile, Walton has 1,061 points, 604 rebounds and 526 assists to become one of only three Pac-10 players to amass 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists.
1,500 points/500 assists/200 steals Pts. Ast. Stl. Gary Payton, Oregon State (1986-90) 2,172 938 321 Tyus Edney, UCLA (1992-95) 1,515 652 224 Brevin Knight, Stanford (1993-97) 1,714 780 298 Jason Gardner, Arizona (1999-2003) 1,847 585 209
1,000 points/500 rebounds/500 assists Pts. Reb. Ast. Ron Lee, Oregon (1972-76) 2,085 580 572 Pooh Richardson, UCLA (1986-89) 1,461 565 833 Luke Walton, Arizona (1998-2003) 1,061 604 526
Shot Blocks: Bolstered by Channing Frye's and Andre Iguodala's four blocks apiece Saturday, Arizona tallied a season-high nine blocked shots. Arizona ranks second in the Pac-10 with a 4.39 blocked shots per game average.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 78-7 (.918) 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: Arizona heads to Palo Alto, Calif., to take on Stanford on Saturday, March 1, at 4 p.m. PST. The game will be televised by ABC-TV. Following that game, the Cats return home to close the regular season against Oregon State and Oregon.