Men's Basketball Game Notes

Dec. 27, 2001

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Date:  Friday, Dec. 28, 2001	                                    Time:  6 p.m. MSTLocation:  Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.Radio:  Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls)	    TV:  FSNA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)

Game Data: No. 14 Arizona (6-3, 1-1 Pac-10) opens play in the 17th annual Fiesta Bowl Classic honoring Bobbi Olson, presented by Bank One and Tucson Electric Power Friday vs. Pepperdine (5-5, 0-0 WCC) ... The tournament underwent the name change on Nov. 1 to honor the memory of Bobbi Olson and raise awareness for the Bobbi Olson Endowment and the fight against ovarian cancer ... All-time, Arizona has a 31-1 record in the Fiesta Bowl Classic with the lone defeat coming in last year's championship game, a 75-74 loss to Mississippi State.

The Rankings: After a split in Oregon last week, Arizona fell to No. 14 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and to No. 16 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. The Cats were unranked in both preseason polls. Arizona has been ranked in 242 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.

Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 19th season at Arizona and his 29th overall as a college head coach with a career record of 645-228 (.739) and 453-136 (.769) at Arizona ... He recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona during the 2000 campaign and has the fourth most Pac-10 wins (251) in history, trailing UCLA's John Wooden (304, 1949-75), Oregon State's Slats Gill (276, 1929-64) and Washington's Hec Edmundson (266, 1921-47) ... He has the second-best conference winning percentage in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74) ... During his 19-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 and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 17 years in a row, which is the 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 14 years (377-87/.813) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 35 NBA Draft picks, including 20 at Arizona - 15 alone since 1990 ... A Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame finalist in each of the last two years, Olson has led UA to 14 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 23 overall in his career, making him one of only seven head coaches in NCAA history to record 23 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 271-27 (.909) in McKale Center and have won 199 of its last 211 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Jay John ...Olson is 2-0 vs. Pepperdine.

Last Time Out: Oregon equaled a McArthur Court record with 13 three-point field goals and shot 54 percent from the floor in handing Arizona a 105-75 defeat, the worst for UA in the Lute Olson era, on Dec. 22. The Ducks opened up a 10-point lead at the half on the strength of 66.7 percent shooting from behind the arc (8-of-12) and did nothing but extend the lead in the second, as the Wildcats could muster just 40.6 percent shooting for the game. Jason Gardner did manage to score his 1,000th career point in the contest, finishing with a team-high 19 points.

Scouting Pepperdine: The Waves enter the Fiesta Bowl Classic with a 5-5 record after a 98-55 win over Point Loma on Dec. 21. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Pepperdine, who had previous wins over UCLA, USC and Long Beach State. As a team, Pepperdine averages 78.5 points per game and attempts more than 21 three-point field goals per game. The Waves also force 19.9 turnovers per contest. Pepperdine is led by Jimmy Miggins, who averages 15.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He is one of three players on the squad with a double-figure scoring average.

The Series: Tonight's game marks the fifth meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 4-0 series advantage. The two schools first met Dec. 4, 1964, a 78-49 UA win in Tucson. Arizona won the last meeting, 80-66, in the first round of the Fiesta Bowl Classic on Dec. 27, 1990. All-time, Arizona is 4-0 in series games played in Tucson, 0-0 in Malibu, and 0-0 in neutral-site games.

Last Meeting: Arizona 80, Pepperdine 66, Dec. 27, 1990. Sean Rooks scored a game-high 26 points and added 11 rebounds as the Wildcats picked up the 14-point win in the opening round of the 1990 Fiesta Bowl Classic. Led by Rooks, who was 9-of-13 from the floor, UA connected on 18-of-31 (.581) of his field goal attempts in the second half to break open what was a tight game at halftime.

Scheduling Quirk: It seemed to be a long time coming, but Arizona has finally returned home to play its second home game of the year. The team opened the 2001-02 season by playing eight of its first nine games away from the comforts of the McKale Center. How rare is that? The last time UA played just one home date prior to Christmas came during the 1944-45 campaign.

Playing Like a Veteran: What would that Oregon road trip been like without Channing Frye? The freshman from Phoenix averaged 18.0 points and 12.5 rebounds in the two games. He shot .579 (11-of-19) from the floor, .875 (14-of-16) from the line and added two assists, two blocks and two steals. The effort raised his season averages by 2.9 points and 1.9 rebounds.

Shooting Straight: Bolstered by his strong performance last week, Channing Frye continues to hold one dubious distinction. He is the only UA player on the roster with a shooting percentage better than 50 percent (based on a significant number of attempts). On the year Frye is shooting .543 (25-of-46) from the floor, 53 points better than the next closest player (.490/Rick Anderson).

A Greater Opportunity For Rebounds: While Arizona's .412 shooting percentage is somewhat alarming (it would be the program's worst FG percentage since 1962-63), what could be more troubling is that the Wildcats have shot so poorly in each of its losses. In the games against Kansas, Michigan State and Oregon, Arizona is a combined 74-of-207 (.357) from the floor, including 24-of-79 (.304) from three-point range. In comparison, the team is 140-of-313 (.447) in its five wins. The Cats have topped the 50 percent plateau just once (Purdue) this season.

Reaching a Milestone: With a trey just 1:14 into the game at Oregon, junior Jason Gardner became just the 31st player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Just ahead of Gardner on the UA career scoring list is Matt Othick, who scored 1,055 points from 1989-92.

Snapping Out of It: Despite connecting on just 12-of-50 (.240) FG attempts in his last six games, freshman guard Salim Stoudamire is showing signs of snapping out of his shooting slump. He hit 4-of-7 field goals last week at Oregon, including 2-of-3 from three-point range and finished with 12 points. It marked the first time since the Texas game on Nov. 17 that Stoudamire has shot 50 percent or better from the field this season.

In December: Arizona is 104-35 (.748) under Lute Olson in December, including a 64-18 (.780) mark since the 1990-91 season.

Similar Features: Friday's game should be entertaining from a three-point perspective, as both teams have proven to be reliant on the trey. This season, Pepperdine has attempted 21.1 three-pointers per game, while Arizona shoots an average of 20.6 three-point field goals. All told, 32.7 percent of Pepperdine's overall field goal attempts and 28.3 percent of its points come from behind the arc, compared to 32.4 and 26.7 percent respectively for Arizona.

Mr. Clutch: While quietly going about his business of averaging 13.9 points and 6.6 rebounds (both rank second on the squad), Rick Anderson has also managed to hit some big shots for the Wildcats this season. He opened the year by hitting the game-winning free throws against Maryland and scoring the team's final six points in the win over Florida. Anderson struck again against Oregon State on Dec. 20, hitting a running one-hander with just over a minute to go to lift the Cats to a three-point win.

40-Minute Men: Luke Walton joined Jason Gardner as the only UA players to play all 40 minutes of a game this season on Dec. 20 at Oregon State. It marked the first time that Walton has logged 40 minutes of action, while Gardner has accomplished the feat five times this season and 14 times in his career. Those numbers aren't surprising as the duo is playing a combined 74.7 minutes per game this season.

Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 47-4 (.922) since the start of the 1998-99 season when scoring at least 80 points. Last year, the Cats were a spotless 17-0 when scoring at least 80 points. UA has scored at least 80 points 21 times in Fiesta Bowl Classic history.

Doubling Up: Jason Gardner continues to lead the squad with his 21.8 points per game average and has scored in double figures in all nine games this season. That marks the longest streak of consecutive games in double figures in his 79-game career.

Season Debut: Sophomore Jason Ranne saw his first action of the season in the team's last outing, logging one minute in the loss at Oregon. The Tulsa, Okla., native missed his only attempt from the field.

On the Glass: Through the first nine games of the season, Arizona has posted a +1.6 rebound margin. Despite playing as many as four freshmen on the front line this season, Arizona has averaged 40.6 rebounds per game. Four UA players are averaging 5.0 rebounds per game or better in 2001-02.

Assist:Turnover Ratio: One positive to in last week's Pac-10-opening road trip was the fact that the Cats managed to post a positive assist:turnover ratio (13:11) at Oregon State, marking just the fourth time the team has been on the positive side of the ledger. In that game, the team also committed a season-low 11 turnovers. On the year, Arizona has one less assist (128) than turnovers (129).

Steals, Please: One statistic not as prominent in the UA attack has been the steal. Last week the club tallied 16 thefts at Oregon State and Oregon and are averaging 7.22 steals per game, 0.64 less than last year. Luke Walton and Jason Gardner each equaled a season high with three steals in Oregon last week.

Return Engagement: Pepperdine and West Virginia are each making its second appearance in the Fiesta Bowl Classic, which makes them one of six schools other than Arizona to make more than one appearance in the Classic. Since 1985, only Penn State (three times), Florida, Rutgers and Texas Tech have also made return trips to this holiday tournament.

Roll Call: With Valparaiso's appearance in the 17th annual Fiesta Bowl Classic, the state of Indiana moves into third place in terms of teams represented in the Fiesta Bowl Classic (not counting Arizona). The Crusaders are the fourth team from the Hoosier State to make an appearance in this tournament, joining Purdue, Evansville and Butler. Pennsylvania (8) and North Carolina (5) lead the way in filling the tournament field.

Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed two student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November Early Signing Period. Hassan Adams (G, 6-4, 205) from Los Angeles, Calif., Westchester High School and Chris Rodgers (G, 6-4, 190) from Portland, Ore., Woodrow Wilson High School will each play for the Wildcats next fall.

Up Next: Arizona will next be in action on Sunday, Dec. 30, facing either Valparaiso or West Virginia in the consolation or championship game of the 17th annual Fiesta Bowl Classic, honoring Bobbi Olson. The consolation game is scheduled to begin at 11:45 a.m. MST with the championship game following at 2 p.m.

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