Jan. 8, 2000
By ROB GLOSTER
AP Sports Writer
STANFORD, Calif. - Arizona teammates got scared when they looked down the bench and saw starter Richard Jefferson on crutches. Then they turned to freshman point guard Jason Gardner and told him to take over the game.
Gardner did exactly that, scoring 22 points and leading No. 5 Arizona on an 18-4 run to open the second half as the Wildcats gave coach Lute Olson his 600th college victory with a 68-65 win Saturday over top-ranked Stanford.
Loren Woods added 16 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks as the Wildcats (13-2, 2-0 Pac-10) survived a frantic rally by Stanford down the stretch that pulled the Cardinal (12-1, 1-1) within a point with three seconds remaining.
Jefferson broke his right foot in the third minute of the game, leaving Arizona with only seven available scholarship players. He is expected to be out at least eight weeks.
"I really got worried when he first went out and I saw him on crutches, because we only go about eight deep," Woods said. "At halftime, I told Jason, `It's your game to take over. It's your show to run.' There was a sense of urgency that went across us at halftime."
The Wildcats took control by holding Stanford to four points in the opening eight minutes of the second half. Gardner hit consecutive 3-pointers during that 18-4 run.
"We came out pretty flat the first five minutes of the second half," Stanford point guard Mike McDonald said. "It seemed like there was a lid on the rim for us at times today."
Arizona's quickness overcame the power and depth of Stanford as Olson became the 33rd college coach with 600 victories.
"I'm not into counting things. But this is not going to be very easy to forget," Olson said. "Beating No. 1 under these conditions is a thrill."
Stanford nearly overcame a 10-point deficit in the final 30 seconds, pulling within 66-65 on David Moseley's long 3-pointer with three seconds left. But Gardner calmly sank two free throws for the final margin.
It was the second time in recent years Arizona has knocked off the nation's top-ranked team. The Wildcats' previous game against a No. 1 team was an 85-82 victory over Kansas in the 1997 NCAA tournament, which Arizona went on to win.
It also was the second time Arizona has snapped a long Stanford unbeaten streak to start a season. Two years ago, Stanford was 18-0 and ranked third in the nation when it was beaten 93-75 at home by sixth-ranked Arizona.
Thanks to tenacious defense by Woods, Gardner, Michael Wright and Luke Walton, son of former UCLA and NBA star Bill Walton, Arizona took control by holding Stanford to four points in the opening eight minutes of the second half.
Trailing by two at halftime, the Wildcats opened the second half with their 18-4 run, featuring the consecutive 3-pointers by Gardner and a spinning hook by Woods, to give Arizona a 47-35 lead with 12:16 remaining.
The Cardinal responded with six points, bridging a brief timeout to repair a hole in the floor just in front of Stanford's basket, to pull within 47-41. But Woods hit a layup and Gardner added a three-point play on a finger roll with 8:13 left to make it 52-41.
A layup by Gilbert Arenas gave Arizona a 58-46 lead with 4:38 remaining, and another layup with 3:25 left to make it 60-51. Two free throws by Woods gave Arizona a 65-55 lead with 30 seconds remaining.
Mark Madsen struggled in his first start for Stanford since mid-November. He had just two points and went 1-for-7 from the field, missing several layups and tip-ins.
Madsen started for the first time since the season opener on Nov. 11, a game in which he strained his right hamstring. He missed the following eight games and came off the bench in three games after returning.
Also struggling for the Cardinal was leading scorer Casey Jacobsen, who missed all six of his 3-pointers and scored five points - nine below his season average. Stanford went 6-for-25 on 3-pointers in the game.
In the first half, Moseley hit two 3-pointers and had eight points as Stanford took a 31-29 halftime lead. The Cardinal had a nine-point lead three times in the opening half, but the Wildcats finished the period with a 12-5 run that including five points by Arenas.