Feb. 4, 2003
Date: Thursday, Feb. 6, 2003
Time: 7:30 p.m. PST
Location: Bank of America Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion (10,000), Seattle, Wash.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSN (Steve Physioc/Marques Johnson)
Game Data: Second-ranked Arizona (16-2, 8-1 Pac-10) opens the second half of the Pac-10 season on the road Thursday at Washington (8-10, 3-6 Pac-10) ... The Wildcats are 7-5 in its last 12 trips to Seattle, but have won the last three consecutive ... Expect a tight game as those last 12 games in Seattle have been decided by an average of 9.1 points ... Rebounding could tell the story in this game, as Arizona leads the league with a +8.6 rebound margin and Washington ranks 10th at -3.1 ... Luke Walton is two points away from becoming the 32nd player in Arizona history to score 1,000 career points.
The Rankings: Arizona slipped to No. 2 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls after spending Jan. 20-Feb. 2 in the No. 1 position. The Cats also spent the first six weeks of the season as the nation's top-ranked club. UA has been ranked in 264 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 679-237 (.741) and 487-145 (.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 (270) 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 (.778/270-77) 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 29-11 against Washington, including a 11-7 mark at Bank of America Arena.
Last Time Out: Jason Gardner's team-high 18 points led a balanced UA attack as the Wildcats claimed sole possession of first place in the Pac-10 with a 95-80 win over California on Feb. 1. Gardner, who hit 6-of-10 field goal attempts, was one of six Wildcats to finish in double figures. Arizona used a 7-1 run over the last 2:24 of the first half to push the lead to double figures then quickly ran it out to 18 points with 17:40 remaining in the second half. Channing Frye tallied his second double-double of the year with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Scouting Washington: The Huskies (8-10, 3-6 Pac-10) enter Thursday's game having won its last two Pac-10 home games. In fact, all three of UW's league wins have come at Bank of America Arena. As a team, Washington shoots 41.5 percent from the floor, 35.4 percent from three-point range, grabs 35.5 rebounds per game, and averages 71.0 points per game. Individually, Will Conroy leads the Huskies with a 13.3 points per game average, while Doug Wrenn chips in with averages of 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds.
The Series: Today's game marks the 51st meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 35-15 series advantage. Arizona has won seven consecutive games in the series, which dates back to Dec. 29, 1964, including a 79-61 win over the Huskies in Tucson on Jan. 11. All-time, Arizona is 20-4 in series games played in Tucson, 14-11 in Seattle and 1-0 in neutral-site games. See page 125 of the UA media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Arizona 79, Washington 61, Jan. 11, 2003: Arizona used a 9-0 run midway through the first half to break away from a pesky Washington club that forced five ties through the game's first 10 minutes. Salim Stoudamire scored 13 of his game-high 23 points in the first half to lead the Cats as it slowly built as much as a 21-point lead. Jason Gardner added 11 points and a season-high nine assists, while Andre Iguodala added four points, four rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Making the Cut: Seniors Jason Gardner and Luke Walton were among 30 players that were included on the John R. Wooden Award's Midseason Top 30 list. Arizona is one of only two schools in the nation (Kansas) to have two players appear on the midseason list. Through 18 games, Gardner is averaging a team-leading 15.0 points per game to go with 3.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists, while Walton is averaging 8.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 14 games played.
Production from the Point: Jason Gardner kept Arizona in first place in the Pac-10 by averaging 20.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists in a pair of games last week. He shot 50 percent from the floor (13-of-26) and collected four steals as well. Gardner opened the week with a 22-point, six-assist performance in 40 minutes Thursday against Stanford. He followed that with and efficient 18 points in a 15-point win over No. 20 California. Gardner connected on 6-of-10 field goals, 3-of-5 from three-point range, to go with five rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Most impressively, he did not commit a turnover in 36 minutes of action.
Against the Best: Arizona improved to 5-0 this season against ranked teams with its 95-80 win over No. 20 California, which improved Lute Olson's record at Arizona against ranked opponents to 90-57 (.612). The Wildcat win Saturday also gave it a 8-1 record at the midway point of the Pac-10 schedule. Over the last five seasons, the team in first place at the turn has gone on to win the Pac-10 regular-season title.
Long Range Accuracy: Arizona posted a season-high .524 three-point field goal percentage (11-of-21) in Saturday's game vs. California. It marked just the second time this season that the club has reached double figures from behind the arc (13 vs. Northern Arizona). The UA starters were a combined 9-of-15 (.600) from three-point range.
The Guy Can Pass: On the subject of assists, senior Luke Walton collected six in just 13 minutes against California to surpass the 500-assist plateau in his career. In his 115-game career, Walton now has 504 career assists (4.4 apg). He is the sixth player in Arizona history to register 500 career assists.
Balanced Attack: Led by Jason Gardner's 18 points, Arizona placed six players in double figures, marking the sixth time this season the team has accomplished the feat. Six in double figures is the most since the season opener against Western Kentucky when Arizona placed seven players in double figures.
Teaming Up: The freshman duo of Hassan Adams and Andre Iguodala combined for 20 points and four rebounds to lead Arizona productivity off the bench. In Saturday's 15-point win, Arizona's bench outscored California's 35-15. On the season, the Arizona bench averages 29.4 points per game.
Zeroing In: Jason Gardner passed out a game-high seven assists in Saturday's game against California and committed zero turnovers in 36 minutes played. It marked the 10th time in Gardner's career that he has played at least 30 minutes and committed zero turnovers. Through 18 games, Gardner has 93 assists against 54 turnovers, which is good for a 1.72 assist:turnover ratio. Incidentally, Gardner's zero turnovers Saturday against California helped Arizona tally a season-low eight turnovers as a team. Arizona has a 1.14 assist:turnover ratio as a team.
On the Rebound: After being outrebounded for the first time in 10 games Thursday against Stanford, Arizona responded by posting a 44-36 rebounding edge over California. Arizona is 15-0 this season when outrebounding the opposition and posts a +8.6 rebound on the season.
Double-Doubles: Channing Frye recorded his second double-double of the season (eight career) with 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds Saturday against California. It was Arizona's fifth double-double of the season.
Coming Back Strong: Rick Anderson rebounded from a season-low four points Thursday vs. Stanford with a solid 15-point, seven-rebound performance Saturday against California. The senior forward from Long Beach, Calif., connected on 6-of-8 field goal attempts, including all three attempts from behind the arc. The effort raised his season field goal percentage to .586, while his three-point FG percentage now stands at .441.
Just Doing His Job: Salim Stoudamire posted connected on 3-of-6 three-point attempts Saturday en route to 15 points against California which was his ninth double-figure effort of the season. Stoudamire's accuracy continues to improve, as he is shooting 53.3 percent (40-of-75) from the field over his last eight games, including 47.9 percent (23-of-48) from three-point range. His 36 treys on the season rank second on the squad to Jason Gardner's 40.
Roller Coaster: Arizona's free throw shooting has proven to be quite an adventure this season, as the team is shooting just 67.4 percent (308-of-457) from the line. After shooting just 14-of-26 (.538) from the line against Stanford, the Wildcats rebounded to make a season-high 26 free throws in 35 attempts (.743) Saturday vs. California. UA made its first 11 attempts, missed five of the next eight, before settling down and making 12-of-16 in the second half.
That's More Like It: After a pair of sub-par performances, sophomore Isaiah Fox rebounded with a solid effort against California. The 6-foot-9 center from Santa Monica, Calif, tallied nine points and five rebounds against the Golden Bears. Fox leads Arizona with a .621 field goal percentage (.633 in conference play). Productivity out of the center spot is key for the Cats, as Fox and Channing Frye combined to average 16.2 points and 12.0 rebounds in Arizona's 16 wins and 5.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in UA's two loses.
Chipping In: Freshman Chris Rodgers continues to make positive contributions with each appearance. In two games last week, Rodgers' totals of seven points, two rebounds and three assists may seem modest, but he has shown an ability to be a strong defensive presence. Recently, his versatility has allowed him to be used as a back-up shooting guard as well. On the season, Rodgers is averaging 2.9 points, 0.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists to go with 10 steals and a 1.5 asssit:turnover ratio.
More Milestones: Jason Gardner equaled a season-high with four steals Saturday to boost his career total to 201 pilfers. He is just the fourth player in school history to collect 200 steals in a career and currently ranks third on the UA career list behind Jason Terry (245) and Reggie Geary (208). The senior guard also moved into sixth place on the school's career scoring list with 1,782 points. Just ahead of Gardner in the No. 5 spot is Michael Dickerson at 1,791 points.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 74-7 (.914) 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 concludes the road trip with a Saturday night visit to Pullman, Wash. The Cats take on Washington State on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. PST. The game will be carried on Fox Sports Net Arizona.