Jan. 19, 2001
TUCSON, Ariz. - With coach Lute Olson back on board, No. 17 Arizona hopes to slow down arguably the hottest team in the Pac-10 when UCLA visits the McKale Center.
Arizona (11-5, 4-1 Pac-10) rode the emotion of Olson's return Thursday in a 71-58 win over No. 24 Southern California.
Olson returned to the team two weeks after his wife of 47 years, Bobbi, died of ovarian cancer. The school has since renamed the home floor "Lute and Bobbi Olson Court" and will leave her regular seat at home games empty.
"This has been a really difficult year for our players to this point," Olson said of his decision to come back. "I just feel like we need some stability now."
Gilbert Arenas scored 18 points Thursday to lead the Wildcats, who have posted three straight double-digit wins since losing to top-ranked Stanford.
The Wildcats were the media's preseason pick to win the Pac-10, but fulfilling that quest could require at least one win against the Bruins (10-4, 4-0).
UCLA won its sixth straight game on Thursday, getting 18 points from T.J. Cummings in a 91-83 win over Arizona State in Tempe.
Cummings scored 13 of those points in the second half to lead the Bruins, who played without point guard Earl Watson after he turned an ankle 3:36 into the second half.
UCLA's current win streak is its longest in two years and the 4-0 conference start is its best in any of head coach Steve Lavin's five seasons.
The Wildcats have won five of the last six meetings between the schools, including three straight at home.