Men's Basketball Game Notes

Dec. 16, 2003

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Date: Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2003
Time: 8 p.m. MST
Location: 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: Seventh-ranked Arizona (4-1, 0-0 Pac-10) takes a brief respite from final exams to host Saint Mary's (6-3, 0-0 WCC) Wednesday in McKale Center ... The Gaels appearance in McKale Center marks the fourth straight season in which UA has played a West Coast Conference opponent ... All-time, UA is 22-13 (.629) against WCC opponents and has won its last five games against the league ... The Cats are 114-36 (.760) under Lute Olson in December, including a 74-19 (.796) mark since the 1990-91 campaign.

The Rankings: Arizona rose to No. 7 in the Associated Press poll and to No. 5 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 274 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 695-240 (.743) and 503-148 (.773) 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 296-30 (.908) in McKale Center and have won 224 of its last 239 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner... Olson is 1-0 against Saint Mary's.

Last Time Out: Trailing 50-35 with 17:17 remaining, Arizona responded with a 50-21 run over the next 17 minutes to pull out an 85-75 win over No.22 Marquette on Dec. 13. Salim Stoudamire connected on 8-of-11 shots from the floor, including 7-of-9 from three-point range, and tallied 15 of his season-high 27 points in the second half. Hassan Adams added 20 points and two blocks and helped to limit Marquette to just 30.6 percent shooting in the second half. All told, Stoudamire (15), Adams (14) and Andre Iguodala (7) outscored Marquette, 36-34, in the second half.

Scouting Saint Mary's: The Gaels enter Wednesday's game with a 6-3 record, having won three of its last four games, including a 97-48 win Dec. 14 vs. UC-Santa Cruz. The lone loss in that stretch was an 84-83 overtime loss to USC. As a team, SMC shoots 47.0 percent from the floor (239-of-509), posts a +7.5 rebound margin and outscores the opposition by 16 points per game. Gael opponents are shooting just 35.5 percent (184-of-518) from the field. Individually, Daniel Kickert leads the club with averages of 15.8 points and 6.6 rebounds.

The Series: Wednesday's game marks the fifth meeting of the two schools with the series knotted at two wins apiece. Saint Mary's took two of the first three meetings, which took place during the 1949-51 seasons, while Arizona won the last, 101-41, on Dec. 2, 2000, in Tucson. All-time, Arizona is 1-0 in series games played in Tucson, 0-0 in Moraga, Calif., and 1-1 in neutral-site meetings. See page 126 in the UA media guide for more series information.

Last Meeting: Arizona 101, Saint Mary's 41, Dec. 2, 2000. Arizona held Saint Mary's to just 25.0 percent shooting and handed the Gaels its worst loss in school history in a 101-41 win. The Cats jumped out to a 52-13 halftime advantage behind Gilbert Arenas and Jason Gardner. The duo combined for 29 first-half points and were a combined 5-for-10 from behind the arc in the opening stanza. Luke Walton posted his second career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds to go with a career-high six steals and five assists.

Player of the Week: Hassan Adams led Arizona to wins over two nationally ranked teams last week by averaging 25.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots. He also connected on 19-of-32 (.594) field goal attempts, including 7-of-12 (.583) from three-point range. In Tuesday's win over Texas in New York City, Adams posted his first career double-double with career-high totals of 30 points and 10 rebounds. In that outing, he hit 12-of-21 FG attempts and scored 16 first-half points. He closed the week with a 20-point, two-block performance in leading UA to the cone-from-behind win over Marquette. Adams knocked down 7-of-11 FG attempts in the game, including a career-best 4-of-7 from three-point range. He was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for his efforts. Adams improved his season averages to 17.0 points, 7.0 boards and 2.6 blocks per game, while shooting 48.5 percent from the field.

Busting Out: Arizona used sizeable scoring runs to win both contests this week. In Tuesday's win over Texas, the Wildcats used a 16-6 run over 4:30 to open the second half, eventually pushing the lead to as many as 18 points. On Saturday, Arizona outscored Marquette, 50-21, over a 17:14 stretch of the second half. In that run, UA used a 12-0 burst to beak the game's final tie and push the lead to double figures. It's the third straight game in which the Cats have benefited from a sizeable scoring run.

On Target: In Arizona's 85-75 win over Marquette, Arizona shot a season-best 57.1 percent (28-of-49) from the floor. It marked the first time this season that Arizona had shot better than 50 percent from the field in 2003-04. Included in the effort was 64.0 percent (16-of-25) shooting in the second half, a figure that included 70.0 percent shooting (7-of-10) from three-point range. The last time Arizona shot better than 64 percent in any half came on Feb. 7, 2002, in a 91-82 win over Washington in which the team shot .682 (15-of-22) from the field.

Three Straight: After struggling with its outside shooting early this season, Arizona seems to have found the mark of late. In its last two games, Arizona shot 51.7 percent (60-of-116) from the floor, including 55.3 percent (21-of-38) from three-point range. Arizona has shot 50 percent or better in each of its last three halves played. In that span, UA is shooting 56.4 percent (44-of-78) from the floor, including 65.5 percent (19-of-29) from behind the arc.

Zeroing In: Junior guard Salim Stoudamire seems to have found his shooting touch. In two games this week, the Portland, Ore., native shot 54.4 percent from the floor (12-of-22), including 10-of-15 (.667) from three-point range. He scored all 17 of his points in the second half of Tuesday's win over Texas and knocked down an efficient 8-of-11 FG attempts against Marquette, including 7-of-9 from three-point range, en route to a season-high 27 points.

Averaging 10: Andre Iguodala (9.8 rpg) and Channing Frye (9.4 rpg) currently lead Arizona with nearly 10 rebounds per game. While it may be far too soon to extrapolate numbers, but it's been 26 years since an Arizona player has averaged 10 rebounds per game for a season. The last UA player to accomplish the feat was Larry Demic (10.3 rpg) in 1978-79.

Glass Work: Despite being outrebounded for the first time this season last Tuesday, Arizona continues to do a nice job on the glass. The Wildcats have a +6.6 rebound advantage through five games and have outrebounded four of those five opponents. In those five games, Arizona's rebound advantage has been eight or more three times.

Clamping Down: Arizona did a nice job of challenging shots this week, as the ball club limited the opposition to just 37.3 (59-of-158) percent shooting. The Cats held Marquette to 39.1 percent shooting in Saturday's game, including 30.6 percent in the second half. In Tuesday's win over Texas, UA limited Texas to a season-low 36.0 percent shooting for the game.

Positive Contributions: Freshman Mustafa Shakur matched a season-high with six assists in Saturday's win over Marquette. For the season, the 6-foot-3 point guard from Philadelphia is averaging 9.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game while shooting 48.6 percent from the floor.

Strong in the Second: Lute Olson's halftime speeches must be working, as the Wildcats enjoy a sizeable second half scoring advantage. Through five games, Arizona is averaging 48.2 points per game in the second half, 8.8 points more than the opposition. That figure is more than seven points better than UA's 37.4 points per game and +1.6 scoring margin in the first half. Only once this season has Arizona led by more than one point at the half (Northern Arizona). In the other four games, the squad has led by one (twice) and trailed by eight (twice).

Streak Ends: Guard Jason Ranne saw his streak of three consecutive first-half appearances come to an end Saturday vs. Marquette when he entered the game late in the second half. The 6-foot-4 senior from Tulsa, Okla., was enjoying a promotion in the rotation following a streak of 26 career appearances in the second half only.

Miscellaneous Rankings Note: Arizona's two wins over nationally ranked opponents last week improved the UA record to 2-1 against ranked teams this season. The Wildcats were also the only ranked team to play and defeat two ranked opponents last week. Three other teams (Kentucky, Oklahoma, Gonzaga) also defeated a nationally ranked opponent, but it was their only such game of the week.

Mr. Big Shot: The one member of the UA perimeter who continues to play under the radar is sophomore Chris Rodgers. The 6-foot-4 guard from Portland, Ore., continues to produce in a myriad of roles as he can play any of three positions. On the season, Rodgers is shooting 44.4 percent from the floor, including 57.9 percent (11-of-19) from three-point range. In his last three games, Rodgers is a combined 5-of-5 from behind the arc in the second half, and in each of those games UA made a big run in the second half to pick up a victory.

Moving Up: Salim Stoudamire's recent three-point barrage has moved him into eighth place on the UA career three-point field goals list with 159.

Roster Moves: Junior forward Isaiah Fox had surgery on his left knee Dec. 2 and is expected to be out for three to four months. Shortly thereafter, Ryan O'Hara, a 6-foot-6, 198-pound forward from Pasadena, Calif., was added to the Wildcat roster. The freshman, who will see most of his action with the scout team in practice, is also a quarterback on the UA football team. He completed 33-of-78 passes for 341 yards and two TDs in five appearances in 2003.

Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 86-8 (.915) since the start of the 1988-89 season when scoring at least 80 points. The Cats are 3-0 this season when scoring at least 80 points.

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 returns to action on Monday, Dec. 22, when the Cats host San Diego State. Tip-off in McKale Center is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. MST and can be seen on Fox Sports Net Arizona.

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