Stanford and Arizona Meet In Crucial Pac-10 Matchup

Feb 28, 2002

Tucson, AZ - As the regular season nears a close and the Pac-10 race continues to remainjumbled at the top with six teams still in the title hunt.

Two of the contenders meet when Arizona plays host to Stanford on Thursday.

Both of these squads have had their troubles recently. Fourteenth-rankedArizona (18-8, 11-5 Pac-10) has lost two of three, while No. 19 Stanford (17-8,10-6) is on a two-game losing streak. Oregon leads the conference at 12-4.

The Wildcats, however, recently broke their own two-game skid with an 83-75win over Arizona State on Wednesday. The win avenged Arizona's 88-72 loss tothe Sun Devils on Jan. 23.

'I think we were going down and trying to get them back after what happenedinstead of going down and playing our game,' said Arizona guard SalimStoudamire, who had 24 points and scored Arizona's final two baskets to securethe win.

Coming off one close win, Arizona will probably be in for another dogfightwhen it welcomes Stanford to the McKale Center. In the teams' first meeting onFeb. 2, the Wildcats emerged with an 88-82 overtime win at Maples Pavilion.

'With Stanford coming up, this has been a great series and I'm sure it willbe the same on Thursday,' Arizona coach Lute Olson said. 'The problems you'redealing with start with the first two names out of your mouth: Casey Jacobsenand Curtis Borchardt. Both of them created a lot of problems for us up there.'

Jacobsen and Borchardt have been creating problems for opponents all season.All-America candidate Jacobsen averages a team-high 22.6 points, whileBorchardt scores 16.5 points per game.

But Jacobsen and Borchardt were not enough to prevent back-to-back losses toSouthern California and UCLA last week.

'I think our confidence had been shaken a little,' Stanford coach MikeMontgomery said. 'Against UCLA, we just weren't confident, no one seemed towant to shoot and we spent the game trying to drive in against a zone. USCplayed really well and just flat out beat us.'

Montgomery also noted the extreme competitiveness of the Pac-10 this seasonand how it has affected his squad's chance at a conference title.

'One week ago we were No. 10 in the nation and faced the prospect ofwinning two games at home and then going to Arizona to try and win a conferencechampionship,' he said. 'It just goes to show there aren't any guarantees andyou have to continue to be competitive.'

Arizona leads the all-time series with Stanford 41-20.

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