ON THIS DAY IN ARIZONA NCAA TOURNEY HISTORY:
2002: Defeated Cal Santa Barbara, 86-81, First Round (Albuquerque)
Arizona leading scorer: Jason Gardner 28 points
Arizona leading rebounder: Rick Anderson 9 rebounds
Arizona leader in assists: Luke Walton with seven
Arizona NCAA tournament record
Most 3-pointers allowed: 16, UCSB (tying one other team)
Summary: Gardner returned to Arizona for his senior season hoping for one more trip deep into the NCAA tournament. After staving off UC Santa Barbara’s long-range shooting, he had the opportunity. Gardner scored 28 points and Arizona avoided first-round exit, overcoming a 3-point barrage by Mark Hull and the Gauchos 86-81. The Wildcats lost their NCAA tournament opener four times in the previous 10 years. The Gauchos threatened to add to the list behind Hull, who had 32 points shooting 8-for-11 on 3-pointers and making all eight of his foul shots. UC Santa Barbara was 16 for 26 from beyond the arc. Arizona coach Lute Olson heard boos all night from most of the crowd that packed The Pit. After a close loss in 1999 to New Mexico, Olson vowed he would not return to the Lobos’ home arena.
1998: Defeated Illinois State, 82-49, Second Round (Sacramento)
Arizona leading scorer: Mike Bibby and Miles Simon, each 19 points
Arizona leading rebounder: Donnell Harris 8 rebounds
Arizona leader in assists: Bibby with seven
Arizona NCAA tournament records
Fewest points allowed in a second half: 22, Illinois State.
Summary: The Wildcats forced six turnovers during a 15-0 run early in the second half of their win over the Redbirds, a victory that sent the defending national champions to a third-round game against Maryland. Arizona reached the round of 16 for the seventh time in an 11-year period. Jason Terry hit the first of his three 3-pointers in the first half for Arizona, breaking his 0-for-10 shooting slump in the tournament, and rubbed his knee-length socks in appreciation. Terry finished with 11 points.
1991: Defeated St. Francis (Pa.), 93-80, First Round (Salt Lake City)
Arizona leading scorer: Matt Othick 25 points
Arizona leading rebounder: Chris Mills 8 rebounds
Arizona leader in assists: Khalid Reeves and Sean Rooks with three
Summary: The Red Flash had the reputation of being 3-point shooters. They enhanced it during their 40 minutes, making 13 of 25 shots from beyond the arc. They couldn’t Arizona on the other end, namely guard Matt Othick from doing the same thing. Arizona’s 57 percent shooting from three-point range (8 for 14) coupled with its Tucson Skyline inside was too much for St. Francis. The Red Flash’s tallest starter was 6-7 while Arizona featured two 6-11 starters – Brian Williams and Sean Rooks – and 7-footer Ed Stokes. To try to help defend the Wildcat frontline, the Red Flash guards sagged toward the basket. That helped Othick and fellow guards Matt Muehlebach and Khalid Reeves, as well as wing Chris Mills. “I didn’t suspect they’d drop off us that far . . . we decided to make them pay for it,” Othick said.
1986: Lost to Auburn, 73-63, First Round (Long Beach, Calif.)
Arizona leading scorer: Sean Elliott 20 points
Arizona leading rebounder: Anthony Cook and Elliott with 6 each
Arizona leader in assists: Craig McMillan and Elliott with 6 each
Arizona NCAA tournament records
Fewest free throws made: 3
Fewest free throws attempted: 5
Most field goals made by a freshman: 10, Sean Elliott
Most assists by a freshman: 6, Elliott
Summary: Rebounding, or a lack thereof, did the Wildcats in against Chuck Person and the Tigers. Person had 20 points and eight rebounds and teammate Jeff Moore had 11 points and 12 rebounds. Auburn outrebounded the slender Wildcats 37-23. After the game, Olson challenged Elliott, Anthony Cook and Joe Turner to add some beef to their frames. “We won’t have to convince them to get stronger,” Olson said. “Anthony needs to gain a minimum of 15 pounds, hopefully 20. It is vital to his future and to our future.”