Game 11: No. 14 Arizona (8-2) vs. Eastern Washington (2-8)
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2004
Time: 6:30 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSNA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)
Game Data: No. 14 Arizona (8-2, 0-0 Pac-10) opens play in the 20th annual Fiesta Bowl Classic presented by Bank One Tuesday against Eastern Washington (2-8, 0-0 Big Sky) ... Eastern Washington makes its first Classic appearance, while Butler (2000) and Richmond (1994) are making a return trip ... The Wildcats are 37-1 in Fiesta Bowl Classic action with the lone defeat coming in the 2000 championship game, a 75-74 loss to Mississippi State.
The Rankings: After a win last week, Arizona rose to No. 14 in the Associated Press Top 25 and to No. 15 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. UA has been ranked in 291 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 22nd season at Arizona and his 32nd overall as a college head coach with a career record of 719-251 (.741) and 527-159 (.768) at Arizona ... He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002 ... Olson became the 16th coach in basketball history to tally 1,000 career victories (covering all levels) on Dec. 11, 2004 ... Olson recorded his 700th collegiate victory on Jan. 3, 2004, and became Arizona’s career victories leader (510) on Jan. 17, 2004 ... He has the second-most Pac-10 wins (290) in history, trailing UCLA’s John Wooden (304, 1949-75) ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.775/290-84) and second-most league championships won (10) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74/16 titles) ... During his 22-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 10 Pac-10 Conference titles, four Pac-10 Tournament crowns (1988, ?'89, ?'90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 20 years, 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 seven times (1986, ?'88, ?'89, ?'93, ?'94, ?'98, 2003), 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 17 years (449-111/.802) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 47 NBA Draft picks, including 28 at Arizona ?- 21 alone since 1990 ... He’s led UA to 17 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 26 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 312-32 (.907) in McKale Center and have won 240 of its last 257 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner ... Olson is 0-0 against EWU and 37-0 in Fiesta Bowl Classic play.
Last Time Out: Salim Stoudamire matched a career high with seven three-point field goals as Arizona found its shooting eye Dec. 21 in a 105-75 blitzing of Manhattan. Stoudamire hit 7-of-9 field goal attempts in the game, including 7-of-8 from three-point range as the Wildcat shot better than 50 percent from the field for just the second time this season. UA forced 24 turnovers and had a season-best 16 steals in building as much as a 43-point lead.
Scouting Eastern Washington: The Eagles enter Tuesday’s game with a 2-8 record and riding a six-game losing streak after an 83-70 loss to Gonzaga on Dec 21. EWU shoots 43.2 percent from the field (230-of-533), posts a -3.1 rebound margin and is being outscored by 10.4 points per game. Individually, three players average in double figures, led by Mark Axton, who averages 19.4 points per game. Matt Nelson chips in with per game averages of 10.3 points and a team-leading 8.3 rebounds.
The Series: Tuesday’s game marks the first meeting of the two schools. All-time, Arizona is 95-32 (.748) against schools that currently reside in the Big Sky Conference.
Fiesta Bowl Classic Schedule: The 20th annual Fiesta Bowl Classic presented by Bank One is scheduled for Dec. 28 & 30 in Tucson. The first round matchups feature Butler vs. Richmond at 4 p.m. MST and Eastern Washington vs. Arizona at 6:30 p.m. Consolation and championship games will be played Thursday, Dec. 30, at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. MST, respectively.
Bouncing Back Nicely: Salim Stoudamire certainly bounced back nicely with 23 points in just 20 minutes vs. Manhattan after being held scoreless in his last appearance against Utah. In the games immediately following a Stoudamire goose egg, the 6-foot-1 guard from Portland, Ore., averages 22.7 points. In those three games, Stoudamire has connected on 22-of-32 field goal attempts (.688), including 15-of-20 (.750) from three-point range, to go with eight assists. Against Manhattan, he matched a career high with seven treys and was 7-of-9 from the field, including 7-of-8 from three-point range.
That’s Productive: Following a game in which Arizona mustered its lowest point total in nearly 20 years, the UA offense exploded for a season-high 107 points in the 30-point win over Manhattan. Not only did the team need just 16 minutes to match the offensive output from the Marquette game (48), but it managed to equal or surpass that total in both halves, including a season-high 57 points in the first half. All-time, Arizona is 93-4 (.959) when topping the century mark, including 56-0 under Lute Olson.
Fast Start: Arizona opened the Manhattan game by connecting on 14 of its first 21 field goal attempts en route to 60 percent shooting (21-of-35) in the first half. The Cats cooled off a bit in the second half, but still managed to shoot 52.2 percent (35-of-67) for the game, marking just the second time the squad has topped the 50-percent plateau in 2004-05. Not surprisingly, UA has shot 60 percent or better in the first half of both of those games, including a .607 (17-of-28) figure on Nov. 18 vs. Wright State.
Clamping Down: The defense was in order in last Tuesday’s win over Manhattan, as the Cats forced a season-high 24 turnovers, including 15 in the first half. UA converted those 15 first-half Jasper turnovers in 21 points.
Stop Thief: Arizona’s defensive effort resulted in a season-high 16 steals vs. Manhattan. Three players (Chris Rodgers, 4; Jawann McClellan, 2) notched career highs, including Mustafa Shakur, who tallied six pilfers in his 20 minutes of action. The last time Arizona collected as many as 16 steals in a game came on Nov. 23, 2002, in a 107-68 win over Western Kentucky. The last UA player to register six steals in a single game was Gilbert Arenas against Michigan State on March 31, 2001.
On the Rise: One thing that continues to plague the Wildcats this season is its shooting percentage. Through 10 games, Arizona is shooting just 41.2 percent (267-of-648) from the field. On the season, Arizona is 5-0 when outshooting the opposition. Arizona’s 52.2 percent effort Dec. 21 vs. Manhattan raised its season field goal percentage by 13 points.
Not So Close: After seeing five of its previous six games decided by five points or less, Arizona enjoyed a not so close one against Manhattan. The 30-point win was Arizona’s largest winning margin of the season and was just the second win by 20 or more points. Last year, Arizona was 8-0 in games decided by 20 points or more.
Production from Everywhere: Whether its in the starting lineup or off he bench, junior Chris Rodgers has definitely been productive. Against Manhattan, Rodgers tallied seven points, four assists and four steals in just 20 minutes. On the season, Rodgers has an assist:turnover ratio of better than 4:1 and is averaging one turnover every 38 minutes.
Hold Them Down: To date, the Wildcats are holding the opposition to just 28.4 percent (52-of-183) from three-point range, posting a +4.8 rebound margin and forcing 2.4 more turnovers per game.
On the Glass: Arizona is 7-0 this season when outrebounding the opposition, and four times the squad has posted at least a +10 rebound margin. UA has outrebounded nine of 10 opponents in 2004-05.
Heating Up: Over the last five games, Arizona has warmed up from the free throw line, not just in percentage, but also in the number of attempts. In that span, Arizona is shooting an impressive 82.5 percent from the line (85-of-103) and has outscored the opposition by 27 (85-58). Perhaps most impressively, however, is the fact that Arizona is getting to the free throw line far more often. Arizona has averaged 20.6 free throw attempts over its last five outings, compared to 13.6 attempts in the first five games.
Balanced Attack: Arizona’s 105-75 win last Tuesday allowed the entire active roster to see action. Of the 12 players to see action, 11 received double-figure minutes, and 10 of those players scored. Four players finished with double-figure point totals, improving the UA record to 4-0 this year when that many players tally at least 10 points.
From Behind the Arc: Bolstered by Salim Stoudamire’s 7-of-8 shooting from behind the arc, Arizona posted season-high totals of 13 three-point field goals and a .619 percentage (in 21 attempts) against Manhattan. It’s the first time the team has reached double figures this season from three-point range. The last time Arizona shot better than 60 percent from three-point range came on Feb. 19, 2004, in a 100-87 win at Oregon, where the Cats shot .625 (10-of-16) from downtown. Not coincidentally, Stoudamire was 6-of-8 from behind the arc in that game.
A time to Share: When 10 players register an assist, it’s not hard to see how Arizona racked up a season-best 22 assists against Manhattan. It marked the first time in 13 games dating back to last season that Arizona had passed out 20 or more assists. Of those 10 players to garner an assist, six had two or more.
In the Middle: Senior center Channing Frye posted his third double-double of the season (24th career) with 18 points and 11 rebounds against Manhattan. The 6-foot-11 Phoenix native has averaged a team-leading 15.0 points and 10.2 rebounds over his last five games to go with a .500 (27-of-54) field goal percentage. Frye has grabbed at least 11 rebounds three times in the last five games.
Hard Work Pays Off: It wasn’t too long ago that Bret Brielmaier was a walk-on hoping to fit in. Now he’s practically a regular after appearing in his fifth consecutive game Dec. 21 and finishing with five points and five boards. Olson recently said of his 6-foot-6 freshman, “There isn’t a point of the game where I wouldn’t feel comfortable with him because he’s not going to make silly mistakes. He checks out well on the glass and he works very hard defensively.”
Always on the Run: Arizona has made a name for itself with an ability to embark on some large scoring runs. Five times during the 2004-05 season UA has posted a scoring run of more than 15 points. Here is a look at the list:
21 points ?- 29-8 run over 8:58 vs. Manhattan, Dec. 21
19 points ?- 27-8 run over 8:10 vs. Wright State, Nov. 18
18 points ?- 20-2 run over 8:11 vs. San Diego, Nov. 16
16 points ?- 18-2 run over 5:00 vs. Wyoming, Nov. 30
16 points ?- 23-7 run over 5:59 vs. Manhattan, Dec. 21
Tops in the Pac-10: In the annual poll of media members who regularly cover the Pac-10 Conference, Arizona was selected as the team to beat for the league title. The Cats received 19 of a possible 26 first-place votes and 253 points overall. Washington (237), Stanford (194) and Oregon (167) rounded out the top four places. It is the 10th time since 1989-90 that UA has been the predicted winner in the preseason poll.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 128-16 (.889) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. The Cats are 4-0 this season when topping the 80-point plateau.
Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period. Fendi Onobun (F, 6-7, 215) from Houston, Texas, Alief Taylor High School; J.P. Prince (G, 6-6, 183) from Memphis, Tenn., White Station High School; and Marcus Williams (F, 6-6, 190) from Seattle, Wash., Roosevelt High School, will join the squad next fall.
Up Next: Pending the outcome of today’s action, Arizona will take on either Butler or Richmond in the Fiesta Bowl Classic consolation or championship game. Game times on Thursday are set for 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. MST.