Dec. 26, 2000
Arizona looks to remain undefeated in the Fiesta Bowl Classic when it playshost to Butler in the opening round on Thursday.
Arizona (6-3), which has won all 30 games in the tournament dating to 1985,fell to No. 10 in the poll this week. The Wildcats snapped a two-game losingstreak with an 88-75 victory over LSU last Thursday.
The Wildcats outscored the Tigers 44-28 in the second half.
'This is a coming out game for a lot of us,' point guard Jason Gardnersaid. 'I think you will see a different team now.'
Olson benched Gilbert Arenas and Loren Woods at the start of the gamebecause he said he didn't like their effort in practice. However, both playedbig roles in the second-half surge.
Arenas scored the first 10 points during a decisive 17-2 run. He had 16 ofhis season-high 24 points in the second half after going just 2-for-12 from thefield in Arizona's 81-73 loss to Illinois on Dec. 16.
'Gilbert is a scorer,' Woods said. 'He is one of the best scorers in thenation. His confidence was shaken after the last game. He definitely was bigfor us.'
While the Wildcats have been trying to get in sync with each other, Butler(5-3) has been playing well. The Bulldogs' three loses have come by an averageof 2.7 points.
Butler is coming off an 84-60 win over Santa Clara on Dec. 20. As a team theBulldogs are shooting a robust 50.1 percent (205-of-409) and are averaging 75.3points per game, including at least 70 points in all but one of their games.
Butler is a balanced team with six players averaging in double-figurescoring, led by LaVall Jordan's 12.9 per game
This is just the second meeting between the two schools. Arizona won 108-92in 1970.
Mississippi State faces Louisiana-Lafayette in the other opening-round game.
By DOUG FEINBERG
AP MegaSports Writer