The sadness at Arizona was for Wildcat Coach Lute Olson, not a rare home loss.
Olson was not in the arena for No. 12-ranked Arizona’s 75-74 loss to Mississippi State Saturday at Tucson, having told the team and university officials earlier that he wanted to take a leave of absence to spend time with his wife, Bobbi, who has ovarian cancer.
“He’s going to take a leave of absence a little while,” Athletic Director Jim Livengood said. “We don’t know how long. The most important thing right now is that he’s doing what he needs to do and what Lute Olson would do, and that is be with Bobbi and be with his family.”
Livengood said Olson would try to oversee the program.
“We’re all upset,” Arizona center Loren Woods said. “Mrs. Olson is like a second mother to a lot of us.”
Three weeks ago, Olson stayed home with Bobbi, his wife of 47 years, while his team traveled to Storrs, Conn., to play Connecticut--a game Arizona lost, 71-69.
Associate coach Jim Rosborough coached that game and took Olson’s place again against Mississippi State.
Antonio Jackson arched a shot over Richard Jefferson with 9.4 seconds left for the decisive basket for Mississippi State (8-2). Jefferson, who missed the game’s final shot, led Arizona (7-4) with 20 points.
No. 1 Michigan State 88, Wright State 61-- Charlie Bell scored 26 points and tied a career high with 11 assists at East Lansing, Mich., as the Spartans started a season 11-0 for the first time in 102 years. Wright State (9-3) beat Michigan State, 53-49, last season.
No. 2 Stanford 78, Santa Clara 63--Jarron Collins had a career-high 25 points as the Cardinal (11-0) won the Cable Car Classic at Santa Clara--only its second appearance in the 34-year history of the San Francisco area tournament. Santa Clara is 6-7.
No. 3 Duke 108, North Carolina A&T; 73--The Blue Devils (11-1) set a school record and tied a Atlantic Coast Conference record with 18 three-point baskets (in 38 attempts) at Durham, N.C., en route to a season-high point total. Shane Battier had a season-high 31 points, 27 in the first half. North Carolina A&T; is 2-6.
No. 5 Florida 102, New Hampshire 54--Brett Nelson scored 26 points to lead six scorers in double figures at Gainesville, Fla., as the Gators (10-1) scored 100 or more points for a school-record fifth time this season. New Hampshire is 2-8.
No. 6 Tennessee 69, Hawaii 58--The Volunteers improved to 13-1 with the victory over the Rainbows (6-5) in the championship game of the Rainbow Classic at Honolulu.
No. 7 Kansas 77, Southwest Missouri State 43--The Jayhawks held the Bears (4-6) scoreless in the final 7:43 at Kansas City, Mo., as they started 11-1 for the first time in four seasons.
No. 8 Virginia 102, Dartmouth 56--Chris Williams scored 22 points to lead five double-figure scorers at Hanover, N.H., as the Cavaliers (10-0) scored 100 or more points for the third time this season. Dartmouth is 2-8.
No. 11 Seton Hall vs. Central Connecticut, ppd.--A winter storm that struck New Jersey forced postponement of this game at East Rutherford. It was rescheduled for today.
No. 13 Wisconsin 63, South Florida 61--The Badgers (9-1) won their ninth in a row as Andy Kowske’s steal of a long inbounds pass in the final seconds prevented the Bulls (8-4) from getting a final shot attempt in overtime at Madison, Wis.
Kowske was put on South Florida’s leading scorer B.B. Waldon in the second half after he had raised his point total to 20 and led a 13-3 run that gave the Bulls a 47-43 lead. Waldon didn’t have a field goal in the final 12 minutes.
No. 14 North Carolina 64, College of Charleston 60--Joseph Forte scored 29 points, including a layup with 11 seconds left after a steal that was decisive for the Tar Heels (9-2) against Cougars (8-2) in the championship game of the Hardee’s Tournament of Champions at Charlotte, N.C.
No. 15 Syracuse 95, Niagara 69--Damone Brown matched career highs with 26 points and 13 rebounds for the Orangemen (11-1) at Syracuse, N.Y. Niagara is 4-7
No. 17 Oklahoma 79, Southern Methodist 78--The Sooners (11-1) won their fourth consecutive All-College Tournament championship at Oklahoma City as the Mustangs (9-3) missed two three-point shots and a tip-in in the final 46 seconds of overtime.
No. 18 Maryland 105, Maryland Eastern Shore 53--Byron Mouton scored a season-high 28 points at College Park, Md., as the Terrapins (9-3) scored 100 or more points for the third game in a row. It was the eighth victory in a row for Maryland, which also extended its nation’s best nonconference home winning streak to 76 games. Maryland Eastern Shore is 1-6.
Toledo 69, No. 19 Cincinnati 66--Greg Stempin scored 21 points and blocked Kenny Satterfield’s shot with three seconds left as the Rockets (8-3) held on to what had been an 18-point lead against the Bearcats (9-3) in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Shootout at Gund Arena. Toledo became the fourth Mid-American team to beat a Top 25 team this season.
No. 20 Alabama 82, Alabama State 56--Erwin Dudley made 13 of 19 shots and scored a career-high 28 points for the Crimson Tide (10-1) in its first home game since Dec. 7. Alabama State is 6-5.
No. 23 Iowa 68, Saint Louis 56--Dean Oliver scored nine of his 19 points in the final three minutes for the Hawkeyes (11-2) in the third-place game of the Rainbow Classic at Honolulu. Saint Louis is 7-6.
No. 24 Mississippi 94, Morris Brown 59--Jason Flanigan scored 19 points, including a career-high five three-point baskets in six attempts, at Oxford, Miss., as the Rebels finished their nonconference schedule at 12-1 for the second season in a row. Morris Brown is 2-11.
No. 25 Iowa State 91, Western Carolina 53--The Cyclones (11-1) shot 61.8% at Ames, Iowa to match the 1994-95 team for the best start in school history. Western Carolina is 2-9.
Bryan Bracey scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half and five players scored in double figures for Oregon (9-1) in a 88-65 victory at Louisville (4-8). The Ducks--off to their best start since the 1996-97 team went 10-0--shot 58%, making 12 of 19 three-point attempts. . . . Sean Lampley scored 23 points for California (8-3) in a 81-59 victory over LaSalle (6-5) in the championship game of the Golden Bear Classic at Berkeley. It was the eighth consecutive victory for the Golden Bears--their longest streak in Coach Ben Braun’s five seasons. . . . Junior forward Chad Prewitt made eight of 11 shots and scored a career-high 23 points to lead Arizona State (8-3) to a 91-78 victory over Charlotte (7-4) in the consolation game of the AZCentral.com Classic at Tempe, Ariz. . . . Washington (6-5) missed its first 24 three-point attempts in its lowest-scoring game of the season--a 72-54 loss to San Diego (8-3) at Seattle. . . . Junior guard Mike Bush, playing his first game after being declared academically eligible, had 26 points, eight rebounds and four steals to lead Washington State (6-3) to a 75-72 overtime victory over Nevada (7-4) at Pullman, Wash. . . . Al Faux scored 28 points, making seven of eight three-point shots, for San Diego State (8-3) in an 87-66 home-court victory over Oklahoma State (7-2). It was worst loss for Coach Eddie Sutton in his 11 seasons at Oklahoma State. . . . Kareem Rush, the Big 12’s leading scorer, made 10 of 16 shots and had 25 points to lead Missouri (8-3) to an 89-64 victory over Stetson (5-5) at Columbia, Mo.