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Pac-10 Notebook

January 8, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments



Pac-10 Conference Notebook

by Scott Allen

The first weekend of Pac-10 play did little to separate the pretenders from the contenders as four teams split each of their two games. Stanford, which welcomed the return of All-American candidate Josh Childress to an already strong rotation, opened the conference season 2-0, as did UCLA under the direction of first-year head coach Ben Howland. Arizona blew out their in-state rivals while Washington and Oregon State dug themselves an early 0-2 hole and spot in the conference cellar.

Scoreboard! Olson notches 700th career victory

Fed up with the verbal abuse from the Arizona State student section in Arizona’s 93-74 dominance of the Sun Devils on Sunday, Wildcats head coach Lute Olson simply pointed to the scoreboard in the second half with Arizona up big and well on its way to securing the 700th career victory for its legendary coach. Olson won 192 games at Long Beach State and Iowa before coming to Arizona. He is 700-240 in 31 years of coaching and is the 19th college coach to reach the 700-win plateau.

Ducks’ Brooks sidelined 6-8 weeks

Oregon freshman point guard Aaron Brooks, averaging 6.7 points and 2.9 assists per game, will be out 6-8 weeks after suffering a broken bone in his right wrist in Sunday’s 81-74 loss at UCLA. Sophomore Brandon Lincoln is expected to start in Brooks’ absence.

Monty serves suspension

Stanford head coach Mike Montgomery served a one-game suspension for making contact with an official in a game against Arizona State last year in Stanford’s 73-51 Pac-10 opening victory over Washington State. Assistant coaches Tony Fuller and Eric Reveno guided the team in Montgomery’s absence, the first game he has missed in 18 seasons with the Cardinal.

Inside the Pac-10

No. 6 Arizona Wildcats (9-1, 1-0)

The Wildcats probably figured the Fiesta Bowl Classic to close out 2003 (along with their easy non-conference slate) would be little more than a siesta before Pac-10 play got underway. But after dousing the Flames of Liberty 107-91 in the first game of their own tournament, the ‘Cats received quite a scare from Louisiana-Lafayette in the championship game before pulling out a 72-69 win at the McKale Center.

Andre Iguodala, who led the way against Liberty by recording his second triple-double of the season (13 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists), hit the decisive three-pointer from the corner with nine seconds remaining against the Ragin’ Cajuns two days later. Iguodala scored 20 points and pulled down nine rebounds while fellow sophomore Hassan Adams posted sick totals of 23 points and 14 boards. Ivan Radenovic, Arizona’s recent addition from Serbia, followed up his 17-point, nine-rebound debut against Liberty with eight points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes.

Poor outside shooting (9-for-31 from beyond the arc) and a season-high 23 Arizona turnovers kept the game close and if Lafayette’s Brad Boyd had turned in a performance even slightly better than his ugly 3-for-18 line (all but one of which was a three-point attempt), the outcome probably would’ve been different. The game marked the return of Ragin’ Cajuns coach Jesse Evans, who was an assistant under Olson from 1988-1997.

Salim Stoudamire shot 10-for-14 from the field as Arizona opened conference play with a dominating 93-74 victory over Arizona State on Sunday. Junior center Channing Frye got the best of Arizona State sophomore sensation Ike Diogu, scoring 17 points on 8-for-13 shooting while limiting Diogu – “limiting” used loosely here as a testament to Ike’s dominance – to 18 points on 5-for-17 shooting. Iguodala approached triple-double numbers with nine points, eight rebounds and eight assists and Adams added 14.

Up Next: Thursday vs. Cal, Saturday vs. No. 4 Stanford

Arizona State Sun Devils (6-3, 0-1)

The Sun Devils breezed past San Diego 89-70 in the first game of the Sun Devil Classic as Jamal Hill sparked the rout with a career-high 18 points off the bench. Like their in-state rivals, however, Rob Evans’ squad got a little more than they bargained for in the championship game of their own tournament, only the Sun Devils couldn’t avoid the upset in the end, falling 81-76 to Western Michigan.

Ike Diogu scored 30 points, including 18-for-23 from the charity stripe, and pulled down 10 rebounds in the losing cause as the Broncos’ Ben Reed and Mike Williams combined for 63 points on 22-for-44 shooting. Steve Moore did his best to complement Diogu’s inside dominance, with 15 points, including three treys, but it was not enough as Western Michigan erased a four point halftime deficit to notch its second win over a Pac-10 opponent (USC) and improved to 7-1.

Coming off a loss in their non-conference finale, things didn’t get any better against Arizona. What was billed as an exciting game turned into an Arizona romp as the Sun Devils were down 16 at the break and failed to make things interesting in the second half. The Sun Devils wasted another strong effort from guard Steve Moore, who scored a team-high 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting. Arizona State shot just 39 percent on the game, while Arizona shot at a 56 percent clip.

Up Next: Thursday vs. No. 4 Stanford, Saturday vs. Cal

California Bears (5-6, 1-1)

After rebounding from a heartbreaking loss to Saint Joseph’s in the Pete Newell Challenge with an 85-66 victory over Columbia in the first game of the Golden Bear Classic, Cal’s offense hit a new low in a 49-44 defeat at the hands of Air Force the following day. The Bears held a 38-33 advantage with just over eight minutes to play but the Falcons, who lead the nation in scoring defense at 49.3 points per game, took over from there as Air Force closed with a 16-5 run. Freshman Leon Powe was the lone bright spot in the loss, scoring 25 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Powe had seven of Cal’s 14 made field goals. The Bear’s previous point-scoring low this season was 47 in a 47-46 win over BYU on Nov. 26.

Ben Braun’s squad found its offense in time to win its conference opener, 76-62 at Washington. Amit Tamir, limited to just seven points against Air Force, scored a game-high 21 against the Huskies and Powe recorded yet another double-double with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Powe’s dominance on the glass was a large reason the Bears out-rebounded Washington 42-29.

Cal led by as many as 13 points in the first half and held a 10-point advantage at the break, but Washington rallied to tie the score midway through the second half. Tamir took over with the game tight in the late stages, draining four of his six three-pointers in the final six minutes to secure the win.

Two days later, Cal’s offense was stifled by Washington State in a 55-50 loss. Powe had by far his least effective game of the season, scoring his only two points of the game on free throws. Tamir scored a team-high 16 points and freshman Marquise Kately added 12 as Cal shot just 38.8 percent from the field. Cal came into the game with six-straight wins against the Cougars, who snapped a 22-game road losing streak in conference play.

Up Next: Thursday at No. 6 Arizona, Saturday at Arizona State

No. 4 Stanford Cardinal (11-0, 2-0)

Harvard may rival Stanford in the classroom, but the Cardinal proved the Crimson are no match on the hardwood with a 100-59 rout to close out their non-conference schedule. Matt Lottich took would-be Harvard defenders to school with a game-high 19 points while big men Justin Davis and Rob Little put on a clinic in the post, combining for 31 points on 15-for-22 shooting. The Cardinal forced 23 turnovers and held Harvard to 32 percent shooting.

Stanford remained perfect as it opened Pac-10 play with a pair of wins over the Washington schools. The Cardinal routed Washington State 73-51 as junior forward Josh Childress made his much-anticipated return to the lineup after missing the first nine games of the season with a stress reaction in his foot. The versatile Childress scored 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting in just 10 minutes. Four Cardinal players finished in double-figures in a 85-72 victory over Washington two days later, as Davis tallied his third double-double of the season with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Chris Hernandez had 13 points and nine assists for Stanford, which shot over 50 percent (59.6) for the third consecutive game.

Up Next: Thursday at Arizona State, Saturday at No. 6 Arizona

Oregon Ducks (6-3, 1-1)

The Ducks earned a split of their first two conference games in Los Angeles, knocking off the Trojans 92-74 before succumbing to the Bruins 81-74. Center Ian Crosswhite led five Ducks in double-figures with 22 to go along with 13 rebounds against USC. Luke Jackson added 14 and sharpshooter James Davis poured in 21, all coming off of three-pointers. Davis shot 7-for-10 from long range and Oregon finished 14-for-23 as a team.

The Ducks were coming off a 10-day break, which seemed to serve them well as they won their ninth conference opener in 10 years with ease. A similar break in between their refreshing win and next game against UCLA probably would have served Ernie Kent’s squad well, but as it were the Ducks’ second-half comeback bid fell short in the loss at Pauley Pavilion. Jackson scored a game-high 28 points in defeat — despite shooting just 1-for-7 from beyond the arc — but he didn’t receive much offensive support from his teammates. Oregon trailed by 13 at the half and was behind by as many as 22 early in the second half before pulling to within six. The Ducks were out-rebounded 38-24.

Up Next: Saturday at Oregon State

Oregon State Beavers (6-6, 0-2)

Despite a poor shooting performance, the Beavers completed their non-conference schedule on a high note, with a 71-59 victory over Jackson State in Corvallis on Dec. 28. Unfortunately for Jay John and his squad, any momentum the Beavers had entering Pac-10 play was quickly halted in their trip to Los Angeles.

Oregon State dropped a pair of games to UCLA (77-66) and USC (91-82). Chris Stephens had 16 points against the Bruins, as the Beavers took a 34-24 advantage into halftime. UCLA caught fire in the second twenty minutes and Oregon State had no answer in the end, dropping their ninth straight conference opener. Stephens paced the Beavers against USC as well, scoring 19 points to lead five players in double-figures, but 17 turnovers cost Oregon State in the end.

Up Next: Saturday vs. Oregon

UCLA Bruins (6-3, 2-0)

Coming off a tough 70-66 loss at Michigan on Dec. 27, the Bruins returned home to open their Pac-10 schedule against the Oregon schools. Ben Howland got his first taste of Pac-10 basketball and UCLA got a pair of wins, 77-66 over Oregon State and 81-74 over Oregon. It’s UCLA’s first two-game winning streak since they opened the season 2-0.

The Bruins outscored the Beavers 52-23 in the second half to overcome a 10-point halftime deficit, as freshman Trevor Ariza scored 24 points on 11-for-13 shooting and former walk-on Janou Rubin added 13 points off the bench. UCLA out-rebounded Oregon State 35-28. Two days later, Rubin and Dijon Thompson had 13 points apiece and T.J. Cummings added 12 points and nine rebounds as the Bruins ended a five-game losing streak against the Ducks. UCLA saw a 22-point lead dwindle to six late in the second half, but strong free throw shooting (25-for-32) sealed the win down the stretch.

Up Next: Thursday at Washington State, Saturday at Washington

USC Trojans (6-5, 1-1)

The Trojans cruised to an 81-59 victory over Lafayette in their final tune up before Pac-10 play as Desmon Farmer scored 21 of his 23 points in the first half. USC built a 19-0 lead as Lafayette, riding an eight-game winning streak into the game, missed its first 11 field goal attempts. The early run helped erase any threat of yet another damaging non-conference loss to a school from a small conference.

USC hardly resembled a team that will even be NIT-bound in their Pac-10 opener against Oregon, falling behind by 16 at the half and losing 92-74. Five Trojans scored in double-figures, led by Farmer with 15 and Jeff McMillan who had 14. The Men of Troy committed 17 turnovers and lost the rebounding battle 38-33.

Henry Bibby’s troops regrouped to salvage a split of the weekend with a 91-82 win over Oregon State on Sunday. While he didn’t pull down a single rebound, junior center Rory O’Neil had 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting and freshman Lodrick Stewart poured in a team-high 19 points off the bench as USC shot 52 percent from the field.

Up Next: Thursday at Washington, Saturday at Washington State

Washington Huskies (5-5, 0-2)

It’s been a season of streaks for Lorenzo Romar’s squad and unfortunately for the Huskies the team is mired in a two-gamer of the losing variety after the first weekend of Pac-10 play. Washington, which won its first three games of the season only to drop its next three, polished off 2003 with wins at San Diego State (92-81) and at home against Columbia (88-51). The Huskies failed to bring their A-game to Haas Pavilion, however, dropping their Pac-10 opener to the Bears 76-62.

Second-leading scorer Brandon Roy (11.9 points per game) was held to just two against Cal on 1-for-7 shooting. The Huskies shot 39 percent from the field and were dominated on the glass 40-27. Things didn’t go much better against a tougher Stanford team two days later, as Washington fell behind early and never really threatened in an 85-72 loss. Roy had his second-straight sub-par game with seven points while Nate Robinson led all Washington scorers with 16 points.

Up Next: Thursday vs. USC, Saturday vs. UCLA

Washington State Cougars (7-5, 1-1)

Dick Bennett’s squad had a brutal two-game stretch spanning the New Year, getting blown out at Gonzaga 96-58 and then at Stanford 73-51. Thomas Kelati had 15 points against the ‘Zags and Marcus Moore added 13, but the Cougars defense had no answer for Gonzaga forward Corey Violette, who scored 31 points on 11-for-13 shooting.

Gonzaga shot a ridiculous 78 percent from the field (34-for-48). Moore had 15 points in the losing cause against the Cardinal in the Pac-10 opener, but Washington State was out-rebounded 30-16 and allowed Stanford to shoot at a 56 percent clip.

The Cougars put an end to their three-game losing streak two days later with a 55-50 win at Cal. Moore tallied 14 points and Jeff Varem, a junior college transfer who became eligible last month, had 15 points and five rebounds off the bench. The defense came through by shutting Cal’s Leon Powe down and limiting the freshman to two points, 15 below his season average.

Up Next: Thursday vs. UCLA, Saturday vs. USC

Player of the Week:

Channing Frye, F, Arizona

The junior drew the toughest task of the week in Arizona State’s Ike Diogu, and while he certainly got help on the defensive end, Frye made his presence felt on offense with 17 points on 8-for-13 shooting.

     

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