Men's Basketball Game Notes

Jan. 21, 2002

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Date:  Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2002                                 Time: 8:30 p.m. MSTLocation:  Wells Fargo Arena (14,198), Tempe, Ariz.Radio:  Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)	TV:  FSN (Barry Tompkins/Dan Belluomini)

Game Data: No. 10 Arizona (13-4, 6-2 Pac-10) hopes to continue its winning ways Wednesday at intrastate rival Arizona State (10-7, 3-5 Pac-10) ... The Cats enter play this week with a season-best five-game win streak and have won 12 consecutive games against the Sun Devils ... Arizona has scored 90 or more points in four of the last five games and has averaged 90.4 points in that span ... Despite winning its last five games, Arizona has been outrebounded in four of those contests ... Since the start of the 1983-84 season, Arizona has more Pac-10 road wins (110) than any other league school.

The Rankings: After picking up a sweep of the Los Angeles schools last week, Arizona rose to No. 10 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 12 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. The Cats were unranked in both preseason polls. Arizona has been ranked in 246 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 652-229 (.740) and 460-137 (.771) 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 (256) 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 276-28 (.908) in McKale Center and have won 204 of its last 217 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Jay John ...Olson is 32-5 vs. Arizona State, including a 15-3 mark at Wells Fargo Arena.

Last Time Out: Arizona used a 27-2 run to overcome a 20-point second half deficit and defeat UCLA, 96-86, last Saturday. Trailing 73-53 with 13:41 to go, the Cats erased 18 points over the next 3:18 and eventually took a five-point lead before the run ended. After a blistering first half in which the Bruins built a 58-43 halftime lead, UCLA shot just 33.3 percent in the second half and scored only 28 points in the second half. Channing Frye and Jason Gardner each scored 19 points to lead five UA players in double figures.

Scouting Arizona State: The Sun Devils enter play this week with a 10-7 record (3-5 Pac-10) after Saturday's 81-73 loss to USC. As a team, ASU averages 77.1 points per game, shoots 45.7 percent from the floor and posts a +4.0 rebound advantage. The Sun Devils also limit opponents to just 71.1 points per game and force 18.9 turnovers per game. Senior Chad Prewitt leads the team with averages of 20.5 points and 7.8 rebounds in Pac-10 play.

The Series: Tonight's game marks the 199th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 126-72 series advantage. The Wildcats have won 12 straight games in the series, which dates back to 1914, including an 88-58 decision last season in Wells Fargo Arena on Feb. 21. All-time, Arizona is 71-25 in series games played in Tucson, 55-47 in Tempe, and 0-0 in neutral-site games.

Last Meeting: Arizona 88, Arizona State 58, Feb. 21, 2001. Arizona used a 17-2 run to open the second half to extend an 11-point Wildcat lead at the break to 26. Led by Gilbert Arenas, Arizona shot 54 percent in the second half and outscored ASU, 54-33. Arenas hit all six of his field goal attempts and scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half. UA outrebounded ASU and held a 36-14 advantage at the free throw line. Michael Wright collected a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Player of the Week: Luke Walton directed Arizona to a pair of wins over nationally-ranked teams and averaged 22.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 2.5 blocks and 2.5 steals in the process to earn Pac-10 Conference, Sports Illustrated and Dick Vitale Player-of-the-Week honors. He opened the week by posting his first career triple-double in the win over No. 18 USC with a career-high 27 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to go with four blocks and four steals. He hit a career-best 13-of-15 free throws in the effort. Walton tallied scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half, as Arizona overcame a 20-point second-half deficit to win, and added seven rebounds and seven assists. He played 77 of a possible 80 minutes for the week and shot 13-of-22 (.591) from the floor and 2-of-4 (.500) from three-point range. On the year, Walton is averaging 13.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.0 assists.

Deficit Busters: Arizona erased a 20-point second-half deficit in its 96-86 win over UCLA last Saturday. Trailing 53-73 with 13:41 remaining, Arizona went on a 27-2 run over 6:16 to take control. Incredibly, Arizona trimmed 14 points from the deficit in the run's first 2:21 before the it ended four minutes later with the Cats up by five. In the run itself, Jason Gardner scored nine points, Luke Walton had seven, Will Bynum five, Rick Anderson four and Channing Frye added two.

Record-Setting Performance: Freshman Salim Stoudamire has established a new UA record for consecutive free throws made at 35, surpassing the old mark of 29 set by Dylan Rigdon during the 1993-94 season. On the year, Stoudamire is 45-of-46 (.978) from the free throw line and leads the nation in that category. In case you were wondering, the Pac-10 record is 49 by Ryan Mendez of Stanford and the NCAA record is 73 by Gary Buchanan of Villanova. Both records were set last season.

Comeback Cats: Saturday's comeback win was the second-largest of the Lute Olson era, topped only by UA's 21-point erasure vs. Oregon State on Jan. 6. It also marked the third time this season that Arizona has erased a double-digit deficit in the second half and won (at Texas/vs. Oregon State). Here is a listing of Arizona's largest comebacks in the Lute Olson era (since 1983-84):
21 - Trailed 55-34 (1:21/1st), won 93-87 vs. Oregon State, Jan. 6, 2002
20 - Trailed 73-53 (13:41/2nd), won 96-86 vs. UCLA, Jan. 19, 2002
14 - Trailed 57-43 (17:42/2nd), won 91-87 at UCLA, March 7, 1998
14 - Trailed 33-19 (6:42/1st), won 88-86 vs. Washington, Jan. 9, 1999
12 - Trailed 18-6 (10:19/1st), won 66-56 vs. Mississippi, March 23, 2001 (NCAA)
12 - Trailed 51-39 (18:28/2nd), won 88-74 at Texas, Nov. 17, 2001

Quality Opponents: With a pair of wins over ranked teams last week, Arizona improved its record to 6-2 against nationally-ranked opponents. The Cats are 4-1 against teams ranked in the top-10. To this point, 47 percent of Arizona's games have featured nationally-ranked opponents.

Heating Up: The Arizona offense has picked up the pace of late, scoring 90 or more points in four of its last five games. After averaging 75.5 points in its first nine games, the Wildcats are averaging 87.5 points in its last eight outings. Since the start of the 1997-98 season, Arizona is 37-2 (.949) when topping the 90-point plateau.

Nice Shooting: Freshman Channing Frye, the UA team leader in field goal percentage, has hit his last 15 consecutive field goal attempts in his last three games. Over his last four games, Frye has made 21-of-22 attempts. He is shooting .633 (62-of-98) from the field for the year, and improves to .702 (40-of-57) in Pac-10 play.

Balanced Attack: Arizona managed to place five players in double figures in both wins this week, marking just the fourth time this season that the Cats have accomplished the feat. UA is 4-0 this season when five players score at least 10 points.

Moving Up: Jason Gardner enters play tonight with 1,178 career points, which ranks tied for 21st on the UA career scoring list with Ray Owes (1992-95). Just ahead of the guard from Indianapolis is Coniel Norman, who scored 1,194 points from 1972-74. Incidentally, Gardner has 60 double-figure scoring games in his 87-game career.

More Good Signs: One statistic that has been prominent in UA's five-game win streak is a positive assist:turnover ratio. In those five games, Arizona has amassed 97 assists against 57 turnovers. Included in the effort was a season-best +11 margin (23-12) Saturday vs. UCLA, including a season-high 23 assists. The Wildcats have posted at least a +4 margin in assists to turnovers in all five games of the current win streak.

Top-10 List: Jason Gardner continues to move himself up various career top-10 lists. In addition to being the career leader in minutes per game (35.1), he also ranks second in career three-point field goals (204), second in three-point FG attempts (553), and eighth in steals (149). Gardner and Damon Stoudamire are the only UA players with 200 or more career three-point field goals.

Inside Presence: The Wildcat frontline held its own this week, combining to hit 36-of-55 (.655) field goal attempts in the sweep of the Pac-10's Los Angeles schools. The inside contingent of Luke Walton, Rick Anderson, Channing Frye and Isaiah Fox combined to shoot .692 (18-of-26) in Saturday's win over UCLA. In Saturday's second half, Arizona made 8-of-9 field goal attempts inside of the three-point arc.

Zeroing In: Jason Gardner tied for the team lead with 19 points in Saturday's win, but more importantly, tallied six assists and zero turnovers in 38 minutes. It marked the fifth time in his career that Gardner has played at least 24 minutes and collected at least five assists in a game without committing a turnover. It was also the 12th time in 17 games that Gardner has tallied at least five assists in a game this year. Arizona is 35-6 in Gardner's career when the point guard collects at least five assists.

Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 53-5 (.914) 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, and are 8-2 this year.

Behind the Arc: UA needed every one of them Saturday, as the squad tallied a season-high 14 three-point field goals vs. UCLA, one shy of the school record. Not to be outdone, UCLA sank a Bruin-record and UA opponent-record 17 treys in the contest. The two teams combined for 31 treys in 68 attempts, which were both UA school- record figures.

Higher Percentage: Bolstered by a .556 (15-of-27) second-half field goal percentage Saturday, Arizona managed to post a higher shooting percentage than the visiting Bruins (48.4-46.2). How important is that? Arizona is 10-0 this season when shooting better than the opposition.

Board Work: Arizona has always prided itself on being a good rebounding team and enjoys a modest +0.9 rebound advantage on the year. However, in its current five-game win streak, Arizona has been outrebounded in four of those games (36.4-35.2). An improved team FG percentage could be one reason for less rebound opportunities, as the Cats are shooting .510 (149-of-292) over its last five games.

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 join the squad next fall.

Up Next: Following Wednesday's contest, Arizona steps out of conference play to host Connecticut in another CBS nationally-televised affair from McKale Center on Saturday, Jan. 26. Tip-off is scheduled for 11 a.m. MST.

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