Game 15: No. 24 Arizona (10-4, 3-1) at Oregon State (8-6, 1-2)
Date: Thursday, Jan. 12, 2006
Time: 7 p.m. PST
Location: Gill Coliseum (10,400), Corvallis, Ore.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSNAZ (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)
Game Data: Twenty-fourth-ranked Arizona (10-4, 3-1 Pac-10) heads north to Oregon to face Oregon State (8-6, 1-2 Pac-10) ... The Wildcats begin what could be a very telling portion of the schedule, as six of the team’s next eight games are away from home ... During the Lute Olson era, Arizona has been the Pac-10’s best road team, posting a 134-66 (.670) record in conference games since the start of the 1983-84 campaign ... UA leads the league with an average of 10.93 steals per game.
The Rankings: Arizona slipped to No. 24 in the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll (No. 23) after a two-week absence. 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 751-260 (.743) and 559-168 (.769) 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 (308) of any coach in league history ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.778/308-88) 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 328-34 (.906) in McKale Center and have won 256 of its last 274 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon ... Olson is 40-7 against Oregon State.
Last Time Out: Mustafa Shakur’s team-high 17 points led a balanced offensive attack as Wildcats earned a 74-63 win Saturday over USC. 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.
Scouting Oregon State: The Beavers bring an 8-6 record (1-2 Pac-10) into tonight’s game following Saturday’s 72-64 win at California. OSU is a perfect 4-0 at home this season. As a team, Oregon State shoots 45.7 percent from the field (332-of-727), including 35.6 percent (73-of-205) from three-point range, while averaging 68.8 points per game. Opponents shoot at a 41.7 percent clip and averaging 68.3 points per game. Three Beavers average in double figures, led by Chris Stephens’ 14.4 ppg mark.
The Series: Tonight’s game is the 60th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 43-16 series advantage. UA has won 10 of the last 11 meetings in the series, which dates back to Jan. 28, 1975, including the last get-together, 90-59, in Los Angeles on March 11, 2005. All-time, Arizona is 24-5 in series games played in Tucson, 17-11 in Corvallis, Ore., and 2-0 in neutral-site games. Please see page 102 in the UA media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Arizona 90, Oregon State 59, March 11, 2005: Five Wildcats finished in double figures to lead a balanced offensive attack as Arizona claimed a 31-point win over Oregon State. Channing Frye and Salim Stoudamire scored 17 points apiece to lead UA, as the squad shot 59.3 percent from the field (35-of-59) for the game. Arizona used a 12-0 run to open the second half and break open what was a tight game. The Wildcats shot 68.8 percent from the field (22-of-32) in the second half to post the largest winning margin in Pac-10 Tournament history.
Strong Contributions: Ivan Radenovic helped Arizona to a split against the Pac-10’s Southern California schools last week by averaging 13.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in the two games. Radenovic connected on 60.0 percent of his attempts from the floor (12-of-20) and added a blocked shot and a steal in the effort. He opened the week with 17 points (7-of-10 FGs), eight boards and three assists against UCLA, and followed that up with 10 points (5-of-10 FGs), nine rebounds, and four assists Saturday vs. USC. He is riding a season-long streak of three consecutive double-figure scoring games and his 17 points Thursday were the most for him since Nov. 21 vs. Connecticut. On the season, Radenovic is averaging 9.1 points and a team-leading 6.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 46.6 percent from the field.
On Target: Arizona enjoyed its best shooting week of the season by connecting on 52.7 percent (59-of-112) of its field goal attempts in the games vs. UCLA and USC. For the first time this season, Arizona shot better than 50 percent from the field in back-to-back games, including a season-best 52.8 percent (28-of-53) Saturday vs. USC. The Wildcats have shot 50 percent or better four times this season and all of those efforts have come at home.
Good “D” Leads to “W”: Two days after UCLA shot 60.8 percent from the floor, Arizona bounced back to hold USC to 37.5 percent (21-of-56), including 33.3 percent in the second half. It marked the seventh time this season that Arizona has held an opponent to less than 40 percent shooting. On the season, opponents are shooting 42.8 percent from the field. The Wildcats are a spotless 7-0 this year when shooting better than the opposition.
Tough on the Outside: Despite collecting a season-low three steals on Saturday, Arizona’s defense did a nice job of keeping USC away from the basket. During the second half, 17 of the Trojans’ 30 field goal attempts were from behind the arc. Only four USC field goal attempts in the final 20 minutes came inside the lane. Through 14 games, UA opponents shoot just 32.3 percent (80-of-248) from three-point range.
Coming Around: Arizona’s strong shooting in Saturday’s win was buoyed by a season-best effort from three-point range in which the Wildcats connected on 50.0 percent (7-of-14) of its three-point attempts. It was just the second time this season that Arizona has shot 50 percent from three-point range (Dec. 19 vs. Sam Houston State). UA’s guards led the way, as the trio of Chris Rodgers (3-of-6), Mustafa Shakur (2-of-2) and Hassan Adams (1-of-1) were a combined 6-of-9 from behind the arc.
Rebound Advantage: Led by Ivan Radenovic’s nine rebounds, Arizona managed to post a 34-33 rebound advantage in Saturday’s win. It marked the sixth time this season that the Wildcats have outrebounded the opposition. UA is 5-1 when accomplishing the feat.
A Helping Hand: The Wildcats’ perimeter play should receive a boost this week as Jawann McClellan is expected to return to action this week, possibly as early as Thursday at Oregon State. McClellan, a 6-foot-4 sophomore guard from Houston, Texas, was academically ineligible during the first semester. He averaged 5.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in 30 games last season, while shooting 46.8 percent from the floor.
Balanced, Finally: Arizona accomplished something in both games last week that it hadn’t all season ?- five players finished in double figures, including all five starters on Saturday. Against the Trojans, UA starters combined for 64 of the team’s 74 points, while shooting 25-of-45 (.556) from the field.
Second Half Scoring: The Wildcats opened the second half Saturday against USC with a 25-11 run (over 9:27) to break open what was a close game. Second half surges are nothing new to the Cats, as the team enjoys 10.0 scoring margin over the opposition in the second half (41.0-31.0). The opposition has actually outscored Arizona in the first half through 14 games, 451-450, but Arizona has turned the tables in the second half, 574-434.
Bouncing Back: After posting a zero-point, two-rebound effort in Thursday’s loss to UCLA, junior guard Mustafa Shakur rebounded with 17 points, five rebounds and four assists Saturday vs. USC. Shakur connected on 7-of-8 field goal attempts against the Trojans, including 2-of-2 from three-point range, in 32 minutes. On the year, Shakur is averaging 10.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.
Three-for-Three: Junior Ivan Radenovic has upped his productivity of late by averaging 13.0 points and 7.3 rebounds in his last three games. The native of Belgrade, Serbia-Montenegro, has connected on 15-of-28 (.536) field goal attempts and passed our eight assists. He’s finished in double figures in each of those games after failing to do so in the previous five games.
Among the Leaders: Following a slow start, forward Marcus Williams turned things around nicely and leads the team and ranks sixth in the conference with a 54.2 field goal percentage. In his first five game, the 6-foot-7 freshman connected on 35.5 percent of his attempts (11-of-31) and averaged 5.2 points and 2.6 rebounds. In the nine games since, Williams is shooting 58.0 percent (51-of-88) from the floor and averaging 14.4 points and 3.9 rebounds.
Using the Bench: Saturday’s win saw the UA use all 12 active players on the roster for the first time since Dec. 19 with the bench combining for 38 minutes played. Of the reserves, sophomores Daniel Dillon and Bret Brielmaier each tallied three points and three rebounds. Dillon knocked down a trey and equaled a career-high with three boards, while Brielmaier posted his most productive day since Nov. 27 (Virginia).
Just a Comparison: Much has been made (at least in Tucson) of Arizona’s record and the fact that the Wildcats saw its streak of consecutive regular season appearances in the Associated Press poll end this season. Through 14 games, Arizona’s 10-4 record compares favorably to the program’s last two Final Four teams (1997 and 2001), who were 10-4 and 9-5, respectively, at the same point of the season.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 146-18 (.890) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona is 4-0 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)
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: Following tonight’s game, Arizona heads takes on Oregon in Eugene. The game, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 12, will tip-off at 3 p.m. PST and can be seen on Fox Sports Net.