Arizona coach Lute Olson got a cold greeting when he made his way back to the Arizona locker room following Saturday’s Pac-10-clinching, 70-68 win over Arizona State.
The Wildcats doused him with Gatorade and water to celebrate his milestone 305th career Pac-10 win, which eclipsed UCLA’s John Wooden (304) for most Pac-10 coaching victories.
"Because of my relationship with Coach Wooden this is really sort of bittersweet," said Olson, who wore a sweater in place of his soaked jacket and joked that he had no clothes left to wear to former Wildcat and San Antonio Spur Sean Elliott’s retirement ceremony tomorrow in San Antonio.
"I’ve said all along there should be an asterisk by (Wooden’s) name because there really should be no one that ever passes him because what he accomplished, no one else will again."
Jason Braxton has been a favorite whipping boy of Sun Devil fans because of his shooting woes.
But the senior point guard left it all out on the court, recording nine points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Braxton couldn’t stop Arizona’s Salim Stoudamire from hitting the winning basket with 0.6 seconds left.
"You can’t play any better defense than that," ASU coach Rob Evans said.
But Braxton will accomplish something of note in his ASU career. He will graduate in four years — how many players manage that — and he will do it having kept his nose clean and his image classy throughout.
"This probably has been one of my most emotional games here," said Braxton, before his voice cracked. "You’d rather lose by 40 than lose like that."
ASU senior guard Steve Moore’s mother, Hortense Johnson, was in attendance, marking the first time she has seen her son play in 23 years.
Johnson, who was diagnosed with and underwent treatment for breast cancer last year, was supposed to attend a game at USC earlier this season but got cold feet.
"I think my sister and my brothers just folded her up in a suitcase and brought her over," said Moore, who had 16 points in his final home game, including a 3-pointer with 3:40 left that gave ASU its last lead at 64-62.
"When I hit the 3 — she’s only 4-foot-nothing and I saw her jump up before anybody else."
In light of all the recent speculation over ASU coach Rob Evans’ job security, Moore said the Sun Devils wanted the game for him more than any other reason.
"Forget senior day, forget all the records and all this," Moore said. "We’re hearing rumors and it hurts us that it’s about our head coach. I think that’s why I gave up some tears.
"He’s 98 thousand years old but he still comes in (the locker room), jumps and bumps chests. We get all our emotion off of him."