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Men's Basketball Game Notes at USC, 2/2/2006
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/01/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Game 21:  Arizona (13-7, 6-3) at USC (14-6, 5-4)

 

Date:  Thursday, Feb. 2, 2006

Time:  7:30 p.m. PST

Location:  Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena (16,161), Los Angeles, Calif.

Radio:  Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)

TV:  FSNAZ (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)

 

Game Data:  Arizona (13-7, 6-3 Pac-10) opens the second half of the Pac-10 schedule Thursday at USC (14-6, 5-4 Pac-10) in the Wildcats’ final appearance at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena ... Tonight’s game is the first of what shapes up to be a key weekend in Southern California as the Wildcats will be at home for five of its last seven conference games once this road trip concludes ... UA hasn’t scored more than 70 points in back-to-back games since Jan. 5-7 ... Arizona is 4-0 this season in road games when the team scores 70 or more points.

 

The Rankings:  For the third consecutive week, Arizona remained unranked in both the Associated Press Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.  The Cats saw its string of 312 consecutive regular-season AP poll appearances end on Dec. 19.

 

Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 23rd season at Arizona and his 33rd overall as a college head coach with a career record of 754-263 (.741) and 562-171 (.767) 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 750th collegiate victory on Dec. 31, 2005, and became Arizona’s career victories leader (510) on Jan. 17, 2004 ... He has the most Pac-10 wins (311) of any coach in league history ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.776/311-90) and second-most league championships won (11) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only UCLA’s John Wooden (.810/304-74/16 titles)  ... During his 23-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 11 Pac-10 Conference titles, four Pac-10 Tournament crowns (1988, ?'89, ?'90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for 21 consecutive seasons, 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 18 years (479-118/.802) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 49 NBA Draft picks, including 30 at Arizona ?- 21 alone since 1990 ... He’s led UA to 18 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 27 overall in his career, making him one of only four head coaches in NCAA history to record 27 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 329-34 (.906) in McKale Center and have won 257 of its last 275 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon ... Olson is 39-11 against USC.

 

Last Time Out:  North Carolina broke open a tie game by scoring the last eight points of the first half and then used 58.1 percent shooting in the second half to put it away in the 86-69 win Saturday in Chapel Hill.  The Tar Heels connected on 18-of-31 field goal attempts after the break to stretch its lead to as many as 20 points in posting its third-highest point total of the season.  Mustafa Shakur led the Wildcats with 18 points.

 

Scouting USC:  The Trojans enter tonight’s game with an 14-6 record (5-4 Pac-10) following Saturday’s 84-78 win at Oregon.  As a team, USC shoots 44.3 percent from the field (501-of-1131), including 35.6 percent (125-of-351) from three-point range, while averaging 69.4 points per game.  Opponents shoot at a 41.4 percent clip and are averaging 64.6 points per game.  Three Trojans average in double figures, led by Nick Young’s 17.2 ppg and 6.3 rpg marks.

 

The Series:  Today’s game is the 87th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 53-33 series advantage. UA has won 14 of the last 17 meetings in the series, which dates back to 1922, including the last get-together, 74-63, in Tucson on Jan. 7. All-time, Arizona is 27-8 in series games played in Tucson, 23-25 in Los Angeles, and 3-0 in neutral-site games. Please see page 103 in the UA media guide for more series information.

 

Last Meeting:  Arizona 74, USC 63, Jan. 7, 2006:  Mustafa Shakur’s team-high 17 points led a balanced offensive attack as Wildcats earned an 11-point win.  All five Arizona starters finished in double figures and the team shot a season-best 52.8 percent from the floor.  A 25-11 UA run to open the second half put the game out of reach, while UA limited USC to just 33.3 percent shooting (10-of-30) after the halftime break.  Shakur, who hit 7-of-8 field goals, also added five boards and four assists.

 

Leading the Way:  In a pair of games last week, Mustafa Shakur averaged 17.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists.  He connected on 52.4 percent of his field goal attempts (11-of-21), 83.3 percent (10-of-12) of his free throws, and added four steals in the effort.  He opened the week with 17 points (5-of-8 FGs), six boards and four assists at Arizona State, and followed that up with a team-high 18 points (6-of-13 FGs), two rebounds, four assists, and two steals Saturday at North Carolina.  He knocked down all five free throws in 34 minutes against the Tar Heels.  On the season, Shakur is averaging 11.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, while shooting 45.9 percent from the field.

 

Should We Call Chicken Little?:  Arizona split a pair of games last week to move its record to 13-7 overall and 6-3 in Pac-10 play, which was good for a share of second place, one game behind UCLA, at the midpoint of the conference schedule.  Five of UA’s last nine league games will be at home, including the last three consecutively.

 

Ebb and flow:  It was another up-and-down week for the Arizona offense scored 80 points in Wednesday’s win over Arizona State and was limited to 69 against North Carolina.  The 70-point plateau has proven to be key for the Wildcats while on the road.  As mentioned earlier, the Wildcats are 4-0 this season when scoring 70 or more on the road and 0-4 when failing to do so, and have not scored 70 points in consecutive games in its last six outings.

 

Usually these are closer:  Saturday’s 86-69 loss to North Carolina was UA’s worst of the season.  Prior to Saturday, just one of Arizona’s losses had been by 10 points (Jan. 12 at Oregon State) with four losses of six points or less.

 

A Top-10 Guy:  With 12 points against North Carolina Hassan Adams moved into sole possession of 10th place on Arizona’s career scoring list.  In his 119-game career, Adams has scored 1,635 points (14.0 ppg).  He also ranks in the top 10 in four other categories:  field goals (5th/680), field goal attempts (5th/1,355), blocked shots (9th/82), and steals (3rd/213).

 

Erratic:  Arizona struggled offensively in Chapel Hill, N.C., shooting just 42.6 percent (29-of-68) from the field and scoring 69 points. Additionally, UA tallied just 12 assists, turned it over 12 times and attempted a season-low seven free throws (made five).  Conversely, North Carolina shot 56.7 percent (34-of-60) from the field and passed out 23 assists.  UNC’s 13 turnovers Saturday were the fewest for a UA opponent this season.  On the year, Arizona opponents are averaging 21.1 turnovers per game.

 

In the Middle:  Junior Kirk Walters posted a nice effort vs. North Carolina as he posted career-high totals of eight rebounds, three steals and 33 minutes played to go with six points (3-of-4 FG) and two blocked shots.  On the year, Walters is averaging 5.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots per game, while shooting 53.0 percent (44-of-83) from the floor.  Currently, he is the only Wildcat regular to be shooting better than 50 percent from the field.

 

Numbers Don’t Lie:  While it would be expected that the statistics would favor the opposition in UA losses, but these differences are striking.  In Arizona’s 13 wins, UA opponents are shooting just 40.1 percent (299-of-746), including 30.8 percent (76-of-247) from three-point range, while averaging 62.9 points per game.  In Arizona’s seven losses, opponents  are shooting 54.8 percent (193-of-352) from the field, and 48.5 percent (48-of-99) from behind the arc, while averaging 77.3 points per game.  All told UA has a +14.5 scoring margin in its wins and a -7.7 scoring margin in the losses.

 

Key to Victory:  Field goal percentage has been a key stat when looking at Wildcat success.  Arizona is 10-6 when shooting less than 50 percent this season and 5-7 when shooting worse than the opposition.  The Cats are a spotless 8-0 when outshooting the opponent.

 

And they’re Off:  Fast starts are definitely helpful to the Cats are 10-4 this year when tied or leading 10 minutes into the game, and UA is 10-0 when leading at the half.

 

Forward March:  Freshman Fendi Onobun also put forth a good effort in Saturday’s game.  In just his fourth college game, the 6-foot-6 forward tallied two points, four rebounds and two steals in 16 minutes at North Carolina.  He’s averaging 3.5 points and 1.8 points, while shooting 7-of-12 (.583) from the floor.

 

Toeing the Line:  Junior Mustafa Shakur has picked up his productivity over the last 10 games, as the junior is averaging 13.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.  He’s connected on 82.9 percent (34-of-41) free throws in that span and has seven double-figure scoring efforts to his credit.  The effort from the stripe has improved Shakur’s season-long free throw percentage to 80.3 percent (61-of-76), making him the only Wildcats shooting better than 80 percent from the line.

 

We Don’t Need It:  As Lute Olson said earlier in the week, “We’re just at a point where we need to concentrate on the things we do well and eliminate the things we don’t do well.”  He was addressing the Cats’ three-point shooting efforts.  Through 20 games, Arizona ranks last among Pac-10 teams with a 31.3 three-point field goal percentage (102-of-326).  Individually, four Wildcat regulars are shooting worse than that from behind the arc.  If the three-point field goal attempts were removed from UA’s season-long shooting statistics, the field goal percentage would rise to 47.2 percent (451-of-955).  Incidentally, no UA player on the active roster is averaging better than 0.75 made treys per game in 2005-06.

 

On the Glass:  Through the first run through the conference slate, Arizona has had its share of problems on the glass.  In those nine games, Arizona has been outrebounded in six of them (seven of the last 10 counting the North Carolina game).  While the cumulative rebound deficit is only one, it does indicate a problem that historically is one of UA’s strong suits.  Overall, Arizona has been outrebounded 13 times in 20 games and is 7-6 when outrebounded by the opposition this season.

 

Respectable:  In conference play, Arizona is shooting 70.0 percent (133-of-190) from the line, 1.3 percent better than its season-long percentage (.687).

 

Scoring 80:  Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 148-18 (.892) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points.  Arizona is 6-0 this season when scoring 80 or more points.

 

Always On the Run:  Throughout the season, Arizona has shown the ability to post large scoring runs with some regularity:

29-1 run over 10:43 vs. Virginia, Nov. 27 (UVa went 0-of-12 with seven turnovers during the run)

33-15 run over 10:26 vs. Sam Houston State, Dec. 19 (UA 13-of-20 in run)

22-6 run over 8:19 at Oregon State, Jan. 12 (Seven TO and just 7 OSU FG attempts in run)

21-6 run over 7:12 vs. Michigan State, Nov. 23 (no MSU field goals in last 5:44 of regulation)

20-4 run over 9:10 vs. Kansas, Nov. 21 (KU hits 3-of-first-12 FG attempts with nine TO)

21-5 run over 7:57 at Houston, Dec. 3 (two UH FGs in last eight minutes of first half)

21-9 run over 12:23 vs. Connecticut, Nov. 22 (UA hits 7-of-11 FG in run)

25-11 run over 9:27 vs. USC, Jan. 7 (USC 4-of-13 FG, eight turnovers during run)

26-13 run over 13:04 vs. Saint Mary’s, Dec. 10 (nine SMC turnovers during run)

38-27 run over 13:52 at Washington, Dec. 31 (UA makes 10-of-first-14 FG to ignite 2nd half run)

 

Early Signees:  Coach Olson and his staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period.  Chase Budinger (F, 6-7, 190) from Carlsbad, Calif., LaCosta High School; Jordan Hill (F, 6-8, 210) from Atlanta, Ga., The Patterson (N.C.) School;  and Nic Wise (G, 5-10, 180) from Kingwood, Texas., Kingwood High School, will join the squad next fall.

 

Up Next:  Arizona will next be in action on Saturday, Feb. 4, when the Wildcats travel to Westwood to take on UCLA.  The contest will tip-off at 1 p.m. PST and be televised nationally by Fox Sports Net.

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