News, notes and stats: Cats one win away

ANAHEIM - Jason Gardner may have down played the rivalry between he and fellow Hoosier Chris Thomas, but the ultra-competitive senior proved a point in Arizona's 88-71 win over Notre Dame. With the win he passes Mike Bibby for most Tournament wins for an Arizona point guard.

PLAYER OF THE GAME
Wildcat senior Jason Gardner won the battle of the point guards, outplaying fellow Indianapolis native Chris Thomas. Gardner had 19-points and six assists, but more importantly forced Thomas into an uncharacteristic seven turnovers.

PLAY OF THE GAME
Channing Frye had one of the more forceful blocked shot that I have seen in some time. Frye timed an Irish floater and spiked the ball almost to half-court. Hassan Adams scooped up the ball and raced to the basket for a lay-in. The play jumpstarted Arizona's 22-3 run that doomed the Irish.

GOOD HALF
Luke Walton was 5-7 in the second half after going just 2-7 in the first 20:00 of play.

GOOD GAME
Torin Francis missed just one shot and scored 25 points of 10-11 shooting. He added 10 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. Both his 25-points and ten field goals are career highs.

FAST START, SLOW FINISH
Channing Frye had 10 points before the television timeout, but just four the rest of the way. Frye was 5-5 in the opening moments and just 2-7 the rest of the way. He also had 12 rebounds and a trio of blocked shots.

SO CLOSE
Rick Anderson missed a double-double by a single point. The senior was the lone starter not to score in double figures, but tied Frye with a team-high 12 rebounds.

CATS HAVE THE LUCK OF THE IRISH
Arizona has beaten Notre Dame in their last four meetings, all four on neutral courts. Notre Dame has not beaten Arizona since 1934 in Tucson.

SEASON LOWS
17-point loss is the worst of the season for the Irish. It is also their worst loss in the NCAA Tournament since 1958.

FAST STARTS
Arizona is now 21-1 when they lead at the half. Of course they are "only" 7-2 when they trail at the break.

INTERESTING TRENDS
The last time Arizona, Duke and Kansas were in the same regional was in the 1997 Southeast Regional. Kansas and Duke were the top-two seeds, while Arizona was the fourth seed. Of course Arizona emerged and won the National Championship. The three teams were also participants in the 1988 Final Four. That year Kansas beat Duke in the semi-final and went on to win the National Championship.

ANOTHER TREND
Before the Gonzaga game, the last time the Cats went into overtime in the NCAA Tournament was the '97 title game, where Arizona beat Kentucky 84-79. That year they also beat Providence in the Elite Eight in overtime.

SWEET 16
Arizona is now 7-4 in Sweet-16 game. Four of those wins have occurred in the Los Angeles area. The Cats are 2-1 in Tournament games played in the Pond.

BRING ON THE BIG EAST
The Cats are also 4-1 in Tournament play against Big East teams. Their lone loss came against Seton Hall in the 1991 Sweet-16.

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