Feb. 12, 2003
Date: Thursday, Feb. 13, 2003
Time: 8:30 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls)
TV: FSN (Steve Physioc/Marques Johnson)
Game Data: Top-ranked Arizona (18-2, 10-1 Pac-10) returns to McKale Center to open its penultimate homestand Thursday against UCLA (5-14, 2-8 Pac-10) ... How's this for balance? Twenty games into the season five Wildcats are averaging 10 or more points and 10 are averaging at least 12 minutes per game ... Arizona has won five straight games against the Bruins in McKale Center by an average of 15.8 points ... Four Wildcats are shooting better than 50 percent from the field ... Tonight's game is Arizona's ninth national television appearance of the season.
The Rankings: Arizona returned to the top spot in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls after spending last week in the No. 2 position. The Cats have been the top-ranked team in nine of 14 AP polling periods this season. UA has been ranked in 265 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 681-237 (.742) and 489-145 (.771) 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 (272) 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 (.779/272-77) 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 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 290-30 (.906) in McKale Center and have won 218 of its last 233 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner ... Olson is 23-18 against UCLA, including a 14-5 mark at McKale Center.
Last Time Out: Arizona got the job done when it needed to in posting a 75-62 win Saturday at Washington State. It was Arizona's 36th consecutive win over WSU. The Wildcats outscored the Cougars 21-8 and held WSU to 3-of-16 shooting over the final 7:15 to remain unbeaten on the road in Pac-10 play. Jason Gardner led four Arizona players in double figures with 19 points to go with four steals, while Channing Frye chipped in with 15 points, four rebounds and three blocked shots.
Scouting UCLA: The Bruins (5-14, 2-8 Pac-10) enter Thursday's game riding high after snapping a nine-game losing streak with a 71-70 win at Georgetown on Feb. 8. Through 19 games, UCLA is averaging 75.1 points per game and a +0.7 rebound margin, while shooting .453 (532-1174) from the floor. The Bruins rank fourth in the Pac-10 in rebound offense at 37.4 boards per game. Individually, senior Jason Kapono leads the club with a 16.8 points per game average, while Andre Patterson leads the team with a 5.3 rebounds per game average.
The Series: Today's game marks the 64th meeting of the two schools with UCLA holding a 37-26 series advantage. The teams have alternated win in each of the last five games with UA winning the last, an 87-52 decision in Los Angeles on Jan. 18. Arizona has won five consecutive home games in the series, which dates back to Feb. 19, 1923. All-time, Arizona is 15-11 in series games played in Tucson, 10-25 in Los Angeles and 1-1 in neutral-site games. See page 125 of the UA media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Arizona 87, UCLA 52, Jan. 18, 2003: Salim Stoudamire led five Wildcats in double figures as Arizona rolled to the 87-52 win. The 35-point defeat was UCLA's largest in Pauley Pavilion history. Stoudamire connected on 8-of-13 attempts en route to a game-high 19 points. The Arizona defense held UCLA to a season-low 31.8 percent shooting for the game, including 25 percent shooting and 18 points in the first half. It marked UA's first sweep of Los Angeles since 1992-93.
Leading the Way: Channing Frye led Arizona to a road sweep of the Washington schools by averaging 19.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in two games last week. The sophomore center also shot .615 from the field (16-of-26) while adding a pair of assists and steals. He opened the week Thursday at Washington by posting his second consecutive double-double with a career-high 24 points and 12 rebounds in the overtime win in Seattle. Frye connected on a career-best 10 field goals (in 16 attempts) in the contest and scored 15 of his 24 points after halftime. He followed that with a 15-point, four-rebound, three-block performance in Saturday's win at Washington State. Frye hit 6-of-10 FG attempts in the game and three of his four boards were offensive. On the season, Frye is averaging 10.6 points and a team-leading 7.3 rebounds per game while shooting 56.7 percent from the field.
Not to be Outdone: Salim Stoudamire also posted another strong week by averaging 19.0 points and 2.0 assists in the two victories. The sophomore guard from Portland, Ore., connected on 13-of-22 (.591) field goal attempts, including 8-of-12 (.667) from three-point range. He was especially clutch in Thursday's win over Washington, as he tallied a game-high 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting in a career-best 43 minutes played. His trey with 1:18 remaining in overtime gave Arizona the lead for good. He's averaging 17.6 points per game in his last three outings and now ranks second on the club with a 13.0 points per game average.
Onward and Upward: With his first field goal on Saturday at Washington State, Jason Gardner moved past Michael Dickerson (1994-98) into fifth place on the Arizona career points scored list. Through 124 career games, Gardner has tallied 1,809 career points (14.6 ppg). Just ahead of Gardner in fourth place is Damon Stoudamire, who totaled 1,849 points from 1991-95.
Locked Down: Field goal percentage defense continues to be a strong suit for the Wildcats. Arizona held both Washington and Washington State to less than 40 percent shooting, which marked the ninth time UA has held an opponent to less than 40 percent from the field. For the week, Arizona held the Huskies and Cougars to a combined .381 (53-of-139) FG percentage, and are limiting the opposition to just .411 shooting overall. In Saturday's game at Washington State, Arizona forced WSU into 3-of-16 (.188) shooting over the game's last 7:15, including a decisive stretch covering 5:34 where the Cougars hit just 1-of-11 attempts.
Stepping Up: Freshman Andre Iguodala continues to make his presence felt in more areas than the scoring column. The Springfield, Ill., native averaged 7.0 points in two games last week, but also chipped in with 10 rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal. On the season, Iguodala is averaging 6.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, while ranking second on the team with 27 steals and third with 42 assists.
Thievery: Jason Gardner collect four steals in Saturday's win, which marked the third time this season that the senior has collected at least four pilfers in a game. Gardner, who leads Arizona in scoring (297 points/14.9 ppg), minutes played (681/34.0 mpg), assists (103/5.2 apg) and steals (39/1.95 spg), is also averaging a career-best 4.0 rebounds per game. He continues to be of the nation's elite players and is averaging 18.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.2 steals over his last five games.
Millennium Man: Senior Luke Walton's 25 points scored this week push him past a significant milestone, as he now has scored more than 1,000 career points. The majority of Walton's 1,023 career points have come over the last two seasons, as he has averaged 13.4 points in 47 games since the start of his junior season. In that span, he has scored 632 of his 1,023 career points. Incidentally, Walton, Jason Gardner, Damon Stoudamire and Matt Othick are the only players in Arizona history to notch more than 1,000 points and 500 assists in a career.
Knock 'Em Down: Bolstered by Luke Walton's 11-of-13 (.846) performance from the free throw line last week, Arizona connected on a respectable 75.4 percent (43-of-57) of its charity tosses. That includes a 79.3 percent (23-of-29) effort Saturday at Washington State. In the last five games, UA is shooting 105-of-144 (.729) from the line.
Better With Age: Salim Stoudamire seems to get more accurate with each passing game, as he is shooting 54.6 percent (53-of-97) from the field over his last 10 games, including 51.7 percent (31-of-60) from three-point range. His 44 treys on the season lead the team, and the improved shooting has boosted his season scoring average to 13.0 points per game.
Pencil Him In: A start tonight against the Trojans would be the 124th appearance in the UA starting lineup for senior Jason Gardner, which would move him past Anthony Cook (1985-89) into second place on the UA career starts list. Only Sean Elliott, who started all 133 games from 1985-89, has started more games than Gardner.
Block Party: Five different UA players chipped in to help the squad register a season-high eight blocked shots in the win at Washington State. In addition to Channing Frye's game-high three, Rick Anderson (2), Luke Walton (1), Hassan Adams (1) and Andre Iguodala (1) each boosted the UA total. On the season, Arizona is averaging 4.15 blocked shots, a figure that ranks second in the Pac-10.
Still A Presence: Despite posting a season-low nine points in two games last week, senior Rick Anderson still managed to make solid contributions elsewhere on the court. The forward from Long Beach, Calif., collected 10 rebounds, and added six assists, three blocks and three steals. Anderson does rank fifth in the Pac-10 with a 56.8 field goal percentage.
Follow the bouncing ball: The combination of Jason Gardner and Andre Iguodala shared team honors Saturday as each grabbed seven rebounds at Washington State. It marked the fourth time that each has led the club on the boards, and was Gardner's fifth time this season with seven or more rebounds. Both players' efforts on the glass have been key for the Cats, as Iguodala ranks third with a 5.1 rebounds per game average while Gardner's 4.0 rpg mark is a career high.
Deserving of Recognition: Records indicate that the list of Arizona 1,000-point career scorers on page 137 of the UA media guide is incomplete. Four players were mistakenly left off the list some time ago. With Luke Walton joining the group last week, Arizona's 1,000 point club now numbers 36. Here are the corrections:
Rnk Player Years GP FG-FGA 3FG-A FT-FTA Points Avg. 32. Roger Johnson 1950-53 85 401-1021 244-390 1046 12.3 33. Joe Skaisgir 1961-62 52 407-977 220-325 1034 19.8 Albert Johnson 1963-65 78 391-935 252-416 1034 13.3 35. Luke Walton 1998-2003 117 363-854 51-191 246-361 1023 8.7 36. Matt Muehlebach 1988-91 128 322-679 163-389 199-251 1006 7.9
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 75-7 (.915) 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 hosts USC Saturday in a nationally-televised affair. The Feb. 15 game is scheduled for an 11 a.m. MST tip-off and can be seen on CBS-TV.