Men's Basketball Game Notes

Dec. 3, 2003

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Date: Saturday, Dec. 6, 2003
Time: Noon CST
Location: Savvis Center (20,000), St. Louis, Mo.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: ESPN2 (Bob Carpenter/Jimmy Dykes)

Game Data: Seventh-ranked Arizona (1-1, 0-0 Pac-10) looks to get back on the winning side of the ledger Saturday at Saint Louis (3-1, 0-0 C-USA) ... It is Arizona's first true road game of the season ... The Wildcats make its first appearance in St. Louis since Dec. 11, 1957, when UA dropped a 61-52 decision to Washington University ... The Cats remain on the road following this contest to participate in the Jimmy V Classic, Dec. 9, in New York City, making it the second-longest road trip of the year (2,123 miles) ... When added to last week's trip to Springfield, Mass., Arizona will travel 4,327 miles between home games.

The Rankings: Arizona slipped to No. 7 in the Associated Press poll and No. 8 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll after last week's action. With its No. 4 ranking to start the season, it marked the fourth time in the last five seasons that Arizona opened a year ranked in the nation's top 10. UA has been ranked in 272 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.

Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 21st season at Arizona and his 31st overall as a college head coach with a career record of 692-240 (.742) and 500-148 (.772) at Arizona ... He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002 ... Olson recorded his 500th victory at Arizona on Nov. 24, 2003, and has the second-most Pac-10 wins (279) in history, trailing UCLA's John Wooden (304, 1949-75) ... He has the second-best conference winning percentage (.784/279-77) and second-most league championships won (10) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74/16 titles) ... During his 21-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 10 Pac-10 Conference titles, four Pac-10 Tournament crowns (1988, '89, '90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 19 years, 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 16 years (429-101/.809) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 46 NBA Draft picks, including 27 at Arizona - 20 alone since 1990 ... He's led UA to 16 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 25 overall in his career, making him one of only five head coaches in NCAA history to record 25 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 295-30 (.908) in McKale Center and have won 223 of its last 238 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner ... Olson is 1-0 against Saint Louis.

Last Time Out: Bonell Colas' lay-up with seven seconds remaining gave Florida a 78-77 win, Nov. 28, at the MassMutual Classic in Springfield, Mass. It was Florida's only lead in the final 11:00 and Coals' only field goal of the game. Arizona held a 54-43 rebound edge, but shot 38.3 percent from the floor to go with 16 turnovers in the one-point loss. Chris Rodgers led UA with a career-high 17 points, while Channing Frye added 15 points and 13 boards.

Scouting Saint Louis: The Billikens enter Saturday's game with a 3-1 after a 66-57 loss Tuesday at West Virginia. As a team SLU is holding opponents to 36.5 percent shooting (50-of-137) and just 44.3 points per game, while forcing an average of 26.3 turnovers. Offensively, the Bills average 70.7 points per game and shoot 48.2 percent from the field (68-of-141). Individually, Saint Louis is led by Chris Sloan and Josh Fisher, who have scored in double figures in all three games to date, with 16.7 and 15.0 ppg averages, respectively. Sloan also leads the club with a 5.7 rebounds per game average.

The Series: Today's game marks the third meeting of the two schools with the series knotted at 1-1. Saint Louis won the initial meeting, 40-28, in St. Louis on Jan. 6, 1934, while Arizona prevailed last season, 91-58, on Dec. 3 in Tucson. All-time, Arizona is 1-0 in series games played in Tucson, 0-1 in St. Louis and 0-0 in neutral-site meetings. See page 126 in the UA media guide for more series information.

Last Meeting: Arizona 91, Saint Louis 58, Dec. 3, 2002. Arizona relied on its depth to methodically build and keep the lead in a 91-58 win over Saint Louis. A solid rebounding effort by the Billikens kept the deficit to less than 10 points through the first 15 minutes of play, but ultimately the pace was more to Arizona's liking. UA used a 15-2 run late in the first half to push the lead to 19 points. Jason Gardner's game-high 16 points led five Wildcats in double figures. Freshman Andre Iguodala added 10 boards in the effort.

Against Conference USA: Arizona has a 17-15 (.531) all-time record against the current makeup of Conference USA. The last time Arizona played an C-USA foe other than Saint Louis came in a 81-62 win over Tulane in Phoenix, Ariz., on Feb. 9, 1997.

Leading the Way: In a pair of games this week, Channing Frye led Arizona with averages of 17.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.0 blocked shots per game. He also connected on 55.2 percent (16-of-29) of his field goal attempts and handed out six assists in those two appearances. He opened the season with 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists in a 107-73 win over Northern Arizona in which he had no turnovers and three blocks in just 21 minutes played. He followed that up with his first double-double of the season (16th career) against No. 8 Florida in the MassMutual Classic. Frye finished with 15 points on 7-of-14 shooting to go with 13 rebounds and a career-high-equaling five blocked shots.

Not the Norm: Arizona's loss to Florida on Nov. 28 leveled its record at 1-1 through two games this season. It is the first time the Cats have started a season 1-1 since the 1994-95 campaign. That season, Arizona lost its opener to Minnesota (70-72) in the Great Alaska Shootout before rattling off seven consecutive victories.

Bucking Trends: The Wildcats' loss to Florida went against a few recent trends: success in early-season tournaments and success against ranked teams. Since the start of the 1997-98 season Arizona was 16-4 in those early-season tournaments or classics before Friday's loss. In that same span, UA was 42-21 (.667) in games against nationally-ranked opponents.

On the Glass: In its first two games, UA has done a fine job of controlling the glass as the team, averaging 58.0 rebounds per game. UA has outrebounded both of its opponents by a +14.5 margin. UA grabbed 62 rebounds in the season opener vs. Northern Arizona, its highest total since February 1993. Arizona outrebounded Florida, 54-43, Friday evening in the one-point loss. Arizona has had at least one double-figure rebounder in both games and five Wildcats are averaging 5.0 rebounds per game or better to date.

Fast Starts: Freshman point guard Mustafa Shakur is off to a good start after averaging 13.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in his first two appearances. The 6-foot-3 Philadelphia native also ranks second on the team with a 68.8 field goal percentage (11-of-16), including 3-of-5 from three-point range.

Making it Difficult to Score: Despite the 1-1 record, Arizona has done a decent job of limiting the opposition's looks. Through two games, Arizona is limiting opponents to a 36.5 field goal percentage (54-of-148), including 30.5 percent (15-of-49) from three-point range.

In December: Arizona is 111-36 (.755) under Lute Olson in the month of December, including a 71-19 (.789) mark since the 1990-91 campaign.

Road Warriors: Arizona plays its first true road game of the season Saturday at Saint Louis. In the Lute Olson era, Arizona is 227-121 (.652) in road games, including a 23-9 (.719) mark in true road games over the last three seasons.

Swatting Shots: Led by the exploits of Channing Frye and Hassan Adams, Arizona has amassed 21 blocked shots in its first two games. The 6-foot-11 Frye and the 6-foot-4 Adams share the team lead with eight blocks apiece, while junior Isaiah Fox has added four. All told, the Wildcats own a 21-8 season advantage in blocked shots.

First Half Phenom: Senior walk-on Jason Ranne logged four minutes in Friday's game, missing a three-point FG attempt and collecting one offensive rebound. What makes that noteworthy is that it was his first-ever appearance in the first half. Prior to Friday's games, the native of Tulsa, Okla., had made 26 career appearances (57 minutes played) all in the second half. It was a nice reward for a guy who does so much for the team in practice situations.

Cause for Concern: UA's field goal percentage was one area that was a concern entering the season, and after two games it still needs attention. Arizona is shooting 42.4 percent from the field (73-of-172), including a season-low 38.3 percent (31-of-81) in Friday's loss to Florida. Aside from Channing Frye and Mustafa Shakur, who have combined to connect on 27-of-45 FG attempts (.600), the rest of the team is shooting 36.2 percent (46-of-127) from the floor.

Showing His Skills: Sophomore Chris Rodgers continues to display solid offensive contributions to date in 2003-04. He's averaging 15.5 points per game in two appearances to go with eight rebounds, six assists and three steals. The 6-foot-4 guard from Portland, Ore., is shooting 50 percent (5-of-10) from three-point range.

Look for Him on the Glass: As sophomore Andre Iguodala prepares for a homecoming of sorts (his hometown of Springfield, Ill., is just 90 minutes from St. Louis), he does so as one of UA's best rebounders, ranking second on the club with a 7.5 rebounds per game average. He tallied the third double-figure rebounding game of his career with 10 vs. Florida. Of his other two forays into double figures on the glass, the first game vs. the Billikens last season in which six of his 10 boards were offensive. Additionally, Iguodala also leads the Cats with 11 assists (he had a career-high eight vs. Florida) and five steals.

Fox Has Surgery: Isaiah Fox will had surgery Tuesday to repair an injury to his left knee. The 6-foot-9, 269-pound, junior forward from Santa Monica, Calif., had an MRI exam performed on his left knee Dec. 1 that revealed a meniscal tear. Fox's rehabilitation is expected to take three to four months. He suffered the injury in the first half of last Friday's 78-77 loss to Florida. Fox is averaging 8.5 points and 6.5 rebounds through two games this season. He posted his first career double-double on Nov. 24 with 15 points and 11 rebounds against Northern Arizona on Nov. 24.

Balanced Attack: In each of its first two games, Arizona has placed five players in double figures en route to an average of 92.0 points per game. While that kind of output normally leads to victories, that wasn't the case last Friday when the Wildcats suffered a one-point loss. That loss snapped a streak of 18 consecutive games won by Arizona when five or more players finish in double figures dating back to the start of the 2001-02 season.

Tops in the Pac-10: In the annual poll of media members who regularly cover the Pac-10 Conference, Arizona was selected as the team to beat for the league title. The Cats received 26 of a possible 35 first-place votes and 339 points overall. Stanford (321), California (238) and Oregon (215) rounded out the top four places. It is the ninth time since 1989-90 that UA has been the predicted winner in the preseason poll.

Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period. Daniel Dillon (G, 6-4, 190) from Hampton, Victoria, Australia, and North Laurel High School in London, Ky.; Jawann McClellan (G, 6-5, 202) from Houston, Texas, Charles H. Milby High School; and Mohamed Tangara (F, 6-9, 230) from Mali, West Africa, and Mt. Zion Christian Academy in Durham, N.C., will join the squad next fall.

Up Next: Arizona travels to New York City on Tuesday, Dec. 9, for the Jimmy V Classic. Tip-off against No. 8 Texas will take place at approximately 9 p.m. EST and can be seen on ESPN. Providence and Illinois are also featured as the first game of that doubleheader from Madison Square Garden.

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