Men's Basketball Returns Home vs. Oregon
Arizona (13-9, 6-5 Pac-10) returns home looking to snap a three-game losing streak Thursday against Oregon (10-13, 4-7 Pac-10) ... It is the Wildcats? first home game since Jan. 21 ... UA will enjoy the comforts of McKale Center for the majority of t
Game 23: Arizona (13-9, 6-5) vs. Oregon (10-13, 4-7)
Date: Thursday, Feb. 9, 2006
Time: 6:30 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSNAZ (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)
ONLINE: Subscribers to All-Access, Arizona's premium multimedia service, can watch a delayed webcast of the McKale Center production of the game with Brian Jeffries and Ryan Hanson calling the action beginning at 10:30 p.m. (MST). Live audio is also available to subscribers. Note: Game is not available immediately following its conclusion due to Pac-10 television contract blackout restrictions.
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Game Data: Arizona (13-9, 6-5 Pac-10) returns home looking to snap a three-game losing streak Thursday against Oregon (10-13, 4-7 Pac-10) ... It is the Wildcats’ first home game since Jan. 21 ... UA will enjoy the comforts of McKale Center for the majority of the rest of the regular season as 71.4 percent (5-of-7) of the remaining games will be played at home ... Obviously, location makes a difference as UA averages 78.3 points per game and posts a +12.3 scoring margin in nine home games, and averages 72.9 ppg and posts a +0.5 scoring margin in 10 road games this year.
The Rankings: For the fourth 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 754-265 (.740) and 562-173 (.765) 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 (.772/311-92) 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 34-11 against Oregon.
Last Time Out: UCLA jumped out to an early double-figure lead, grew it to as much as 24 points, and had to withstand a strong Arizona rally in the 84-73 win Saturday in Los Angeles. Once again, Arizona struggled with turnovers, committing 13 miscues, and UCLA held a 16-4 free throw advantage in the first half. UA managed to cut the deficit to seven points with seven minutes to go, but could get no closer. The 11-point margin of victory was UCLA’s largest over Arizona since 1983.
Scouting UCLA: The Ducks enter tonight’s game with a 10-13 record (4-7 Pac-10) following Saturday’s 62-60 home loss to California. As a team, Oregon shoots 45.0 percent from the field (577-of-1281), including 31.8 percent (143-of-449) from three-point range, while averaging 68.0 points per game. Opponents shoot at a 43.6 percent clip and are averaging 64.0 points per game. Two Ducks average in double figures, led by Malik Hairston’s 14.4 ppg mark.
The Series: Tonight’s game is the 57th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 37-19 series advantage. UA has won six of the last seven meetings in the series, which dates back to Jan. 12, 1979, but the Ducks won the last meeting, 73-68, on Jan. 14 in Eugene. All-time, Arizona is 22-5 in series games played in Tucson, 15-13 in Eugene, and 0-1 in neutral-site games. Please see page 102 in the UA media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Oregon 73, Arizona 68, Jan. 14, 2006: Oregon shot 55.1 percent from the field, including 71.4 percent in the second half and used a 33-29 rebound advantage to secure the five-point win. UO’s rebound advantage led to 19 second-chance points as the Ducks built as much as an 11-point lead. Arizona battled back to tie the game for the final time with 3:24 remaining, but was outscored 9-4 down the stretch.
Simply Put: Arizona is 8-1 at McKale Center this season.
Center of Attention: In a pair of games last week, Kirk Walters averaged 10.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots. He connected on 72.7 percent of his field goal attempts (8-of-11), 5-of-his-10 free throws, and added a steal in the effort. He opened the week with seven points (2-of-5 FGs), a career-high eight boards and three blocked shots at USC, and followed that up with a career-high 14 points (6-of-6 FGs), five rebounds and a steal Saturday at UCLA. On the year, Walters averages 5.9 points, 3.7 boards and 4.3 assists per game, while shooting 55.3 percent from the field.
Dubious Distinction: Saturday’s defeat gave Arizona a three-game losing streak, which is the program’s first such streak since the final three games of the 1991-92 season, including an NCAA Tournament loss. The last time a Lute Olson-coached team lost three consecutive regular-season games came Feb. 4-13, 1984, in Olson’s first season at Arizona. That team finished with an 11-17 record. Additionally, Arizona has finished conference play with more than five losses just five times in the 22 previous seasons since Olson’s arrival in 1983-84.
Turnabout: For most of the season, Arizona has done a great job of forcing turnovers and converting them into points. Through 22 games, Arizona forces its opponents into an average of 20.5 turnovers per game. In two games last week in Los Angeles, Arizona committed 41 turnovers and lost the points-off-turnovers battle, 52-28. The Bruins held a 20-4 advantage in the first half of Saturday’s loss.
Not at Home: Speaking of turnovers, Arizona committed more turnovers than both USC and UCLA last week. Entering play last week, Arizona had committed more turnovers than the opponent only once this season. Each of the three occurrences have come on the road. Additionally, 26 of Arizona’s 41 total turnovers at USC and UCLA were committed in the first half.
On target: The Wildcats shot a season-best 58.0 percent from the field Saturday (29-of-50), aided by a season-high 58.3 percent effort (14-of-24) in the first half, to mark the firs time UA had topped the 50-percent plateau in eight games. Arizona has shot 50 percent or better from the field just five times in 2005-06 and Saturday’s effort at UCLA was the first time the club had accomplished the feat on the road. Incidentally, Arizona shot better than 50 percent in both halves at UCLA, the third time the Cats have done that this season.
Coincidence?: Just days after head coach Lute Olson spoke of getting away from the three-point shot, Arizona attempted just 18 attempts from behind the arc in the two games this week (made five), including a season-low eight attempts at UCLA. By comparison, Arizona attempted an average of 15.6 three-point attempts in 22 games this season. Perhaps not coincidentally, in Arizona’s 24-7 run in the second half Saturday at UCLA, the Cats hit 9-of-13 field goals and buried all six free throws but not one of those field goals was a three-pointer.
Steal Away: Arizona collected 12 steals in Saturday’s game at UCLA, it’s highest total in five games. It is the 14th time in 22 games that the Cats have garnered 10 or more steals in a game. This season, Arizona leads the Pac-10 by averaging 10.2 steals per game. Each of Arizona’s top six players have double-figure steals totals in 2005-06 and three have 20 or more.
Pitching In: Arizona got a collective boost from its inside guys on Saturday, as Ivan Radenovic, Kirk Walters and Bret Brielmaier combined for 29 points, 11 rebounds and three steals. The trio combined to hit 12-of-13 field goal attempts.
Getting Better: In addition to notching 13 points (5-of-6 FGs) and four rebounds at UCLA, forward Ivan Radenovic passed out a career-high six assists in a career-high equaling 37 minutes. His field goal shooting has also picked up lately, as the junior has connected on 40-of-86 (.465) of his field goal attempts over his last 10 games. On the season, Radenovic is averaging 9.9 points and 6.4 rebounds, while shooting 39.4 percent from the field.
On the Rise: Pac-10 Freshman-of-the-Year candidate Marcus Williams found numerous ways to be productive at UCLA. The 6-foot-7 forward from Seattle struggled from the floor, connecting on 4-of-12 attempts, but finished with 11 points, which was his 14th double-figure scoring effort this year. Williams also collected five rebounds and equaled a season-high with five assists against UCLA. Williams averages 11.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game in 2005-06. His 14 double-figure scoring games ranks second on the team, while his 96 total rebounds rank third.
Hitting Shots: Junior Kirk Walters continues to develop into a productive centerpiece, and he’s doing it on the fly. Against UCLA, the 6-foot-10 Walters finished with 14 points and five rebounds in 28 minutes. The native of Grand Rapids, Mich., connected on all six field goal attempts, which was a UA season-best effort this season and only the second time Walters has been perfect from the field with three or more attempts in his career. He’s shooting 55.3 percent (52-of-94) from the field this season.
From the Bench: Freshman Fendi Onobun also continues to be productive. Against the Bruins, Onobun notched two points, two rebounds, his first two collegiate blocked shots and an assist. On the season, the 6-foot-6 forward is averaging 4.2 points, 2.0 rebounds and is shooting 70.6 percent (12-of-17) from the field. Onobun has scored points in five of six appearances this season.
Start at One: Two days after being held out of double-figures for the first time this season, Hassan Adams rebounded with 19 points against UCLA. The Los Angeles native connected on a season-best 8-of-10 field goal attempts and scored 12 of those 19 points in the second half. Adams leads both Arizona and the Pac-10 Conference with averages of 19.0 points and 2.77 steals per game.
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: Facing it’s largest deficit of the season (24 points with 18:02 to go in the second half) at UCLA, Arizona responded with a 24-7 run over the next 9:53 to cut the deficit to seven points. It was the Wildcats’ seventh scoring run of 15 or more points this season:
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)
24-7 run over 9:53 at UCLA, Feb. 4 (UA 9-of-13 FG, 6-of-6 FT in run; UCLA 3-of-10 FG)
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. 11, when the Wildcats host Oregon State. The contest is scheduled to tip-off at 11:30 a.m. MST and be televised FSN Arizona.