Jan. 3, 2003
Date: Saturday, Jan. 4, 2003 Time: 8 p.m. PST Location: Gill Coliseum (10,400), Corvallis, Ore. Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen) TV: FSNA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)
GAME DATA: Fourth-ranked Arizona (8-1, 1-0 Pac-10) looks to pick up a sweep of the Oregon schools for the first time since 1997-98 Saturday at Oregon State (7-3, 0-1 Pac-10) ... The Wildcats have three wins in its last four trips to Corvallis when it is the back half of the weekend schedule ... Since the start of the 1998-99 season, Arizona is 3-5 on the two-game Oregon road trip ... Over the last 20 seasons, no Pac-10 team has as many as Arizona's 113 road wins ... UA hasn't started 2-0 in the Pac-10 since 1999-2000 ... Arizona has outrebounded seven of nine opponents and outshot eight of nine.
THE RANKINGS: Arizona held firm at No. 4 in the both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. The Cats check in at the four spot after spending the first six weeks of the season as the nation's top-ranked club. UA has been ranked in 259 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 671-236 (.740) and 479-144 (.769) 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 fourth most Pac-10 wins (263) in history, trailing UCLA's John Wooden (304, 1949-75), Oregon State's Slats Gill (276, 1929-64) and Washington's Hec Edmundson (266, 1921-47) ... He has the second-best conference winning percentage 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 15 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 24 overall in his career, making him one of only five head coaches in NCAA history to record 24 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 286-29 (.908) in McKale Center and have won 214 of its last 228 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner ... Olson is 34-6 against Oregon State, including a 14-5 mark at Gill Coliseum.
LAST TIME OUT: Arizona used a 50-28 advantage on the glass to erase an 11-point deficit with 14:32 to play Thursday in the team's 81-72 win over ninth-ranked Oregon. Jason Gardner drained a three-pointer with 2:13 to play to give the Wildcats the lead for good. Thirteen of Gardner's game-high 21 points came in the second half, and the senior point guard was responsible for igniting the key run as he hit treys on consecutive possessions. All told, the 13-2 UA run covered 2:41. Arizona posted a 31-16 advantage on the glass in the second half as Arizona outscored Oregon, 44-31, in the second half to snap Oregon's 23-game homecourt win streak. It was Arizona's first win in Eugene since Jan. 21, 1999.
SCOUTING OREGON STATE: The Beavers look to get on the positive side of the ledger after Thursday's 67-47 home loss to Arizona State. OSU shot 33.3 percent from the floor, scored 18 second-half points, and was outrebounded 42-27 in the loss to the Sun Devils. Overall, Oregon State shoots 43.9 percent from the field, averages 37.1 rebounds per game and 67.7 points per game. Individually, four Beavers average in double figures, led by Philip Ricci's 16.9 ppg average. Ricci also leads the club with 7.7 rebounds per game.
THE SERIES: Tonight's game marks the 53rd meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 37-15 series advantage. Arizona has won six of the last seven in the series, including a 93-87 win in McKale Center on Jan. 6, 2002, in the last meeting. The series dates back to Nov. 28, 1975. All-time, Arizona is 21-5 in series games played in Tucson, 15-10 in Corvallis and 1-0 in neutral-site games. See page 124 of the UA media guide for more series information.
LAST MEETING: Arizona 93, Oregon State 87, Jan. 6, 2002: Jason Gardner scored 23 of his career-high 34 points in the second half as Arizona erased a 21-point first-half deficit in defeating Oregon State. Trailing 57-38 with 19:33 to go in the second half, the Wildcats went on a 24-6 run to get back into the game, then took the lead for good at the 4:16 mark on a Gardner trey. He scored 14 of Arizona's last 18 points. Channing Frye added 18 points and 11 rebounds, while walk-on Anas Fellah played 10 solid minutes in a relief role. It was the largest comeback in the Lute Olson era.
HELLO OLD FRIEND: It's a reunion of sorts as former UA assistant coach Jay John takes on former mentor Lute Olson in Saturday's game. It marks only the third time in Olson's 30-year coaching career that he has faced a former assistant. It first happened with former California head coach Dick Kuchen, who was an Olson aide at Iowa. The met four times during the 1983-84 and 1984-85 campaign, the first of which came in a 56-50 win in Tucson on Feb. 2, 1984. The other meeting came Jan. 8, 1994, when Arizona defeated Marquette, 94-80, in Phoenix. At the time, Marquette was coached by former UA assistant Kevin O'Neill. Olson is 4-1 in games against former assistants.
MR. BIG SHOT: He may have been in a bit of a shooting slump, but as he has done throughout his career, Jason Gardner continues to hit big shots for the University of Arizona. Entering Thursday's game at Oregon, Gardner was shooting just 29.0 percent from the floor (16-of-55), but he hit a slew of key buckets against the Ducks mostly from three-point range. The senior guard was 6-of-16 from the floor, including 4-of-8 from behind the arc, and three of those treys were huge in the come-from-behind win. Two of his treys ignited an 11-0 run which enabled the Cats to erase a 57-46 with 14:32 remaining, and his final three-pointer gave UA the lead for good with 2:13 to play.
RECORD BREAKER: Jason Gardner's second trey of Thursday's game was a record setter. At the 14:14 mark of the second half, the Indianapolis native sank the 273rd three-pointer of his career, which set a new school record. Gardner's career total (now 275) surpassed Damon Stoudamire's 272 treys from 1992-95.
ON THE GLASS: One of Arizona's goals every game is to control the boards. Well, the Wildcats certainly accomplished that feat Thursday, as UA outrebounded Oregon, 50-28 on the glass. The 50 rebounds, which equaled a season high, included a season-best 23 offensive rebounds. Arizona's +22 rebound margin was its best of the season. Nine of the 10 players to see action grabbed at least three rebounds and five Cats grabbed at least five. Arizona did its job in the second half, as it posted a 31-15 rebound advantage.
RISING TO THE OCCASION: Not only did Arizona defeat its second top-10 ranked opponent this season, but the Cats' victory Thursday also ended Oregon's 23-game homecourt win streak. Overall, Arizona is 3-0 this season against ranked opponents. Over the last two seasons, UA is 13-7 against ranked teams.
RISING UP: Maybe it's a personal challenge, but Jason Gardner has outplayed two players tabbed as some of the nation's best point guards recently. In wins over Texas and Oregon, Gardner has outscored T.J. Ford and Luke Ridnour 34-29 and hit the decisive shots in both contests. Ford (9) and Ridnour (7) combined to pass out seven more assists than Gardner, but more importantly Gardner has committed half as many turnovers (7) in his 72 minutes played compared with 14 for Ford (6) and Ridnour (8) combined. Most importantly, Gardner walked off the court as the victor.
ROAD GAMES BEAR SIMILAR FEATURE: Maybe that LSU loss was a learning experience, but Arizona last two road games have shared similar features. In the one-point loss in Baton Rouge on Dec. 21, Arizona trailed by as many as 15 points before a late run gave the team a chance to win on the final possession. The Cats trailed 57-46 with 14:32 to go Thursday night before outscoring Oregon 35-15 down the stretch to win by nine. Interestingly, the last time Arizona met Oregon State (in Tucson), the Wildcats erased a 19-point second half deficit in a six-point win.
ON TARGET: UA's modest totals of eight three-point field goals and 17 attempts (.471) marked a season high. It was the fourth time this year that Arizona has shot better than 40 percent from three-point range and just the second time it has done it in consecutive games.
FROM THE LINE: In what was a tightly-contested and well-played game, it wasn't surprising that Arizona attempts a season-low total of 19 free throws (13 made). Arizona still managed to make five more free throws (13) than Oregon attempted (8). The two teams combined for 27 free throws, the second fewest of the season (26 on Nov. 27).
STEPPING UP: Senior Rick Anderson stepped it up with a solid performance in Luke Walton's absence. The senior from Long Beach, Calif., tallied 15 points (5-of-10 FGs) and eight rebounds. Included in the effort was 3-of-6 shooting from three-point range. The three treys marked a season high and equaled a career best.
BIG IN THE MIDDLE: Sophomore Isaiah Fox chipped in with another strong effort on Thursday with a 12-point, three-rebound performance. The center from Santa Monica, Calif., hit 6-of-8 shots from the floor and scored eight of his career-high-equaling 12 points in the second half. All told, Fox is leading the Wildcats with a 66.7 field goal percentage. Thursday's game marked Fox's fourth double-figure effort of the season.
STRONG DOWN THE STRETCH: Andre Iguodala certainly made his presence felt down the stretch Thursday night, as the freshman registered steals on back-to back possessions with less than four minutes remaining. All told, Iguodala tallied four points, seven rebounds, a career-high five assists and two steals in the win over the Ducks. Iguodala's five assists were the most for him since the season opener, when he tallied four against Western Kentucky.
LEADER ON THE GLASS: Arizona's balanced rebounding attack Thursday was spearheaded by freshman Hassan Adams. The freshman guard grabbed a career-best nine boards, including seven offensive, against Oregon. In addition to is effort on the glass, Adams also scored 12 points, his seventh double-figure game of the season.
TOPPING 20: Jason Gardner's 21-point night marked his second 20-point scoring game of the year. It was his seventh double-figure effort of 2002-03 and 83rd of his career. In his three-plus seasons in Tucson, Gardner has 27 career games with 20 or more points.
SCORING 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 68-7 (.907) 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 return to Tucson for its Pac-10 Conference home opener. Arizona hosts Washington State on Thursday, Jan. 9, in McKale Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. MST and will be televised nationally by Fox Sports Net.