Game Talk

SALT LAKE CITY - Arizona defeated the Vermont Catamounts 80-51 in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats rallied behind 18 points from Salim Stoudamire, who shot 6-10 from the field. The Arizona team had four players finish in double digits. After the game Luke Walton, Rick Anderson, and Coach Olson addressed the media.

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Head Coach Lute Olson
On the team's shooting
Today, especially in the first half, we missed a lot of shots. They (Vermont) were spreading the floor and defended the perimeter very well."

On the team's depth
"One of the strengths of our program has been balance. If someone is having a bad game there is someone else that steps up."

On Jason Gardner's struggle to score recently
"Jason struggled, but if you're in a shooting slump the worst thing you can do is aim your shot. What you have to do is elevate and let your wrist go. The reason that we left him in until he hit that last shot was because on that one he just elevated and popped his wrist and at that point we took him out. He's going to see that on the tape, the difference between that shot and some of the previous ones that he took was the fact that he was relaxed and just let that wrist go. "

On team defense
"Defensively we stayed pretty solid throughout as we have all year. We are the top defensive earn in the conference in terms of shooting percentage. If you play solid defense your offense can struggle for awhile."

On team health
"Physically I think we're there, we just need to stop making little mistakes."

On Gonzaga
"They are a team who doesn't beat themselves. They're very strong. They make shots (inside) in there and draw fouls…a breakdown tape is already ready on Gonzaga so we want our guys to be focused immediately on what needs to be done. Mark Few and his staff do a great job of teaching the game, the fundamental aspects, on both ends.

Rick Anderson
On team's readiness
Everybody was ready before the game in the huddle. The freshman were ready to go and I think that they're going to help us a lot in the next game. They're mentally ready too and that's a big thing, to be mentally ready.

On playing Gonzaga Saturday
"Gonzaga, in the last five years, has shown themselves to be an elite team in the tournament. They just come in and knock people off…they're ability to find a way to win in the tournament is scary. So they're a very good ball club and we need to be prepared.

Luke Walton
On playing with Jason Gardner
"Jason is a winner. He is one of the biggest winners I've ever played with."

On the team's readiness
"We wanted to come in and get this game taken care of and not have it come down to the last second."

On the crowd rooting for the underdog
"When you're a top team in the country, year in and year out, then pretty much every team that you play you're the bad guy. You know, in sports everyone always roots for the underdog…when I'm watching games I always root for the underdog too, so we're used to it."

Salim Stoudamire
On the play of Channing Fyre
"In the second half he played more relaxed. He let the game come to him. He made those easy shots that he should be making."

On the freshmen playing some major minutes
"It definitely good (that got a lot of time). They're bound t have butterflies before the game, just like I did last year. Last year my stomach was tingling and my legs didn't feel right. This year I'm comfortable and relaxed."

On his offensive outburst tonight
"The offense was looking for me. they were playing a zone and my teammates were looking for me. I had some open shots and h knock down the shots."

On playing Gonzaga Saturday
"We're focused on Gonzaga now. They have a good fundamental team and very talented. We'll have to bring our A game."

Jason Gardner
On the play of Chris Rodgers
"He did a good job of running the offense and slowing the ball down."

On his shot not falling
"We're winning ball games and I can laugh about it, I'm having a lot of fun. I'm enjoying it here. And the good thing about it is we have a lot of scorers on this team so I don't have to worry about scoring. We've got Salim and Luke and shooters on this team that can knock down the perimeter jump shot. As long as I distribute the ball and get them good lks and I play defense we'll be alright. Sometimes the shot is not there but I try to do other things to help the team win. Some (of my shots) are rimming in and out but you go through slums and whatnot. I really don't consider it a slum. I'll be alright on Saturday."

On Salim Stoudamire's game
"(Salim) had a great game today. He's one of the best shooters in the country and shows that day in and day out. He knocks it down and I love it, it keeps my assists up. He was hot and we wanted to keep feeding him the ball and getting him good looks. Finally they started cheating on him so much it started to open up other people."

On the play of the freshmen
"I think the first tme coming to the tounament, the first game is the hardest. Getting used to the tournament atmophere, the crowd and the altitude think they did a came in a did a great job. I think all the guys are glad they got to play and they feel more comfortable. I think that will give us an advantage on Saturday too."

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