Wildcat Notes: Salim's the man, Cats to L.A.

It's always a big week when the Wildcats head to Los Angeles for a showdown with the L.A. schools. Both USC and UCLA are down this season, but that doesn't mean the Wildcats aren't still excited to go to the coast. The Wildcats had a solid week against the Washington schools, despite keeping both games close early on. Here are some news and notes for this week's games.

This Week's Games
Jan. 16 at USC, 7:30 p.m. PST (Fox Sports Net)
Jan. 18 at UCLA, 3 p.m. PST (ABC-TV)

Salim Stoudamire is the Wildcats' Pac-10 Player of the Week nominee. Stoudamire found his shooting touch and led Arizona to its second consecutive weekend conference sweep. The sophomore shot 52.6 percent from the field (10-of-19), including 46.7 percent from three-point range, to average 18.5 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals. He opened the week with a 14-point, two-rebound performance Thursday against Washington State in which he connected on 4-of-7 shots from behind the arc. Stoudamire followed that with a season-high 23 points to go with two boards and three steals in the 18-point win Saturday against Washington courtesy of 6-of-11 FG shooting. Stoudamire, who is shooting 93.5 percent from the free throw line (29-of-31) hit all 10 attempts this week. The effort raised his season scoring average to 11.1 points per game.

The Wildcats earned its second straight weekend conference sweep to move to 4-0 in Pac-10 play. It is the fifth time that Arizona has started league play 4-0 under Lute Olson and the first time since 1999-2000. In each of the previous four occasions (1988, 1993, 1998, 2000), the Cats went on to win the Pac-10 title. Each Arizona team to start league play 4-0 has gone on to win at least 15 conference games.

Rebounding has been a key to the Wildcats' 4-0 Pac-10 start, as the team is outrebounding league opponents by a +13.5 margin. That figure is 4.4 rebounds more than UA's +9.1 season average. No league opponent has collected more than 35 rebounds against Arizona this season.
Arizona also held Washington State and Washington to a combined 39.3 field goal percentage (48-of-122) this week and an average of 65.0 points. Through 12 games this season, Arizona has held four opponents to less than 40 percent shooting and eight opponents to less than 70 points.

UA also posted double-figure steal totals in both games this week, including 14 in Saturday's win over Washington. The interesting thing for the Wildcats is that the totals are almost evenly balanced. Of the 10 players to see action this week, nine collected at least one pilfer, and five players had three or more. Jason Gardner, Salim Stoudamire, Andre Iguodala and Chris Rodgers shared team-high honors with four each.

Senior guard Jason Gardner posted another solid week, averaging 15.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 7.5 assists. Included in the effort was a UA season-best nine assists in Saturday's win at Washington despite playing in a season-low 26 minutes. His 15 assists in consecutive games marks his best back-to-back assist performance since Feb. 17-19, 2000, when he collected 17 in wins over USC (7) and UCLA (11). Over his last three games, Gardner is averaging 7.3 assists.

Forward Luke Walton returned to action this week after missing 10 days with a right ankle sprain and averaged 8.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists. He shot 44 percent from the floor (7-of-16) and collected three steals.

Something clicked this week for sophomore Channing Frye, as the center averaged 10.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in UA's two wins. The Phoenix, Ariz., native shot 61.5 percent from the floor (8-of-13) and added eight blocks and a steal. Frye's blocked shot total included a career-best-equaling five Thursday night against Washington State.

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