Cats, Aztecs Meet in San Diego
Dec. 10, 2009
Date: Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009
Time: 7 p.m. PST
Location: Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl (12,414), San Diego, Calif.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: MountainWest Sports Network (Joe Cravens/Rich Cellini)
GAME DATA: Arizona (4-4, 0-0 Pac-10) plays its final road game of the non-conference slate Saturday night at San Diego State (7-2, 0-0 MWC) ... The Cats look to build a bit of momentum following Wednesday's victory and earn its first true road win this season ... Seventy-two points could be a bellwether in this contest as both squads are averaging around that number and neither has lost when topping that total ... A win tonight would be the 125th for Wildcat mentor Sean Miller ... UA has had at least one player from San Diego on the roster in each of the last four seasons.
THE RANKINGS: Arizona remains unranked in both polls after opening the season unranked for just the third time in the last 23 seasons. The Cats closed the 2008-09 campaign ranked No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Sean Miller . . . is in his first season at the University of Arizona and his sixth overall as a college head coach with a record of 124-51 (.709) and 4-4 (.500) at Arizona ... Appointed April 7, 2009, Miller came to Tucson after five successful years at Xavier University, where he amassed four 20-win seasons and four NCAA Tournament appearances ... His clubs won the last three Atlantic 10 regular season championships (2007-09) and the 2006 Atlantic 10 postseason tournament title ... During his time at XU, the Musketeers won better than 71 percent of its conference games, including an .813 winning percentage (39-9) in his last three seasons ... Miller has made 14 trips to the postseason in his 17 seasons as a head, assistant or associate head coach (8 NCAA/6NIT) and has a 6-4 (.600) NCAA Tournament record as a head coach ... He took two Xavier teams to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 (2008, 2009) with his 2008 club advancing to the West Regional final ... His 2007-08 team set a Xavier record for wins in a season with 30, helping him claim Atlantic 10 and NABC District 10 Coach-of-the-Year honors ... Since becoming a head coach, all 16 players to complete eligibility under Miller have earned their degrees ... A standout guard for the University of Pittsburgh (1987-92), Miller was the Big East Freshman of the Year in 1988, won a gold medal on the 1991 U.S. World University Games team and was a member of his alma mater's all-centennial team in 2005 ... Miller, 41, earned a degree in communications from Pitt in 1992 ... He is assisted by Archie Miller, Emanuel Richardson and James Whitford ... Miller is 0-0 against San Diego State as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: Nic Wise scored 24 points and Jamelle Horne added a career-high 20 to lead five Wildcats in double figures, as Arizona picked up a much-needed 83-67 win Wednesday at McKale Center. UA shot better than 50 percent from the field, won the battle on the boards and held Tech to its second-lowest field goal percentage of the season. The Cats trailed early, led by four at the half and broke the game open with a 16-4 burst to begin the second half.
SCOUTING SAN DIEGO STATE: The Aztecs enter tonight's game with a 7-2 record following Wednesday's 82-68 home win over Cal State Fullerton, and is averaging 77.3 points per game during its current four-game winning streak. On the season, SDSU averages 72.8 points per game, shoots 48.9 percent from the field (251-of-513) and 57.5 percent (104-of-181) from the line. The Aztecs limit opponents to an average of 61.4 points per game and outrebound foes by 6.9 boards per game. Individually, four SDSU players average in double figures, led by Billy White's 13.4 ppg figure. Kawi Leonard leads the team in rebounding with a 9.1 rebounds per game figure.
THE SERIES: Tonight's game is the 26th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 20-5 advantage in the series, which dates back to Dec. 27, 1945. The Wildcats won the last meeting, 69-56, in Tucson on Dec. 10, 2008. All-time, Arizona is 14-1 in series games played in Tucson, 6-4 in San Diego, and 0-0 in neutral-site games. See page 109 in the Arizona basketball media guide for more series information.
LAST MEETING: Arizona 69, San Diego State 56, Dec. 10, 2008: Jamelle Horne scored all eight of his points in a 15-2 run to close the game, as Arizona held off San Diego State. The Aztecs erased an eight-point deficit and tied the game with 5:17 to go before the Wildcats scored nine of those final 15 points from the line. Behind Jordan Hill's career-high 25 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks, UA shot 54 percent from the field in the second half and limited SDSU to just 35 percent shooting for the game.
AGAINST THE MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE: All-time, Arizona is 186-134 (.581) against teams that currently make up in the Mountain West Conference. Over the last six seasons, the Wildcats are 10-2 vs. Mountain West foes, with one of those defeats coming earlier this season against UNLV, 74-72, in double overtime on Dec. 2.
FIVE IN AIDS THE WIN: Displaying the kind of balance Coach Miller strives for, Arizona placed five players in double figures Wednesday for the first time this season in UA's 16-point win over Louisiana Tech. Nic Wise (24), Jamelle Horne (20), Solomon Hill (14), Derrick Williams (11) and Kyle Fogg (11) combined for 80 of the team's 83 points. Finishing with five players in double figures is a bit of a rarity of late, as Arizona accomplished the feat for the first time since March 12, 2008, in an 87-56 win over Oregon State in the Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament, and just the third time since the start of the 2007-08 campaign.
AND A FOLLOW-UP: Wednesday's win also saw Arizona post two players with 20 or more points in the same game for the first time this season in Nic Wise (24) and Jamelle Horne (20). It marks the fifth time this season that an Arizona player has tallied 20 or more points in a game.
TAKE THEM AND MAKE THEM: Arizona's starting five combined to shoot 28-of-46 (.609) from the floor Wednesday, which enabled the team to shoot better than 50 percent from the field (29-of-57/.509) for the second time this season - and first since the season opener. All told, Arizona shoots .448 (203-of-453) from the field as a team, led by Derrick Williams, who posts a .594 (38-of-64) FG percentage to date.
HALFTIME ADJUSTMENTS: For the second straight game, Arizona posted a season-high field goal percentage in the second half. This time it was a .577 (15-of-26) effort vs. Louisiana Tech. Over the last two games, the Wildcats have connected on 28-of-49 attempts (.571) and outscored those clubs, 84-71, in the period. For good measure, UA's 48 points Wednesday after the break were a season high for the second half.
CLAMPING DOWN: The Wildcats limited Louisiana Tech to 36.4 percent shooting (24-of-66), a figure that was 10 percentage points lower than its overall FG percentage entering the game. It was also the fourth time this season that Arizona has held an opponent to less than 40 percent shooting from the field. Overall, UA opponents are shooting just .407 (20-3-of-499) from the field. Arizona is 4-1 this season when outshooting its opponent.
DEVELOPING CHARACTER: After falling behind by as many as seven points early in Wednesday's game, Arizona responded with a bit of character by rattling off a 21-9 run over 10:40 to take control. It marked the first time this season that Arizona won a game in which it trailed at the 10:00 mark of the first half.
EXTENDING PRESSURE: Arizona's defensive pressure isn't limited to the area around the basket as the Cats are holding opponents to a .255 three-point field goal percentage (41-of-161), a figure that leads the Pac-10. A year ago, UA opponents shot 34.9 percent from three-point range (291-of-833) and averaged 8.3 treys per game. In addition to the improved defensive effort percentage wise, this year's foes are averaging just 5.1 treys per game, second fewest in the league.
NEARING A MILESTONE: Senior guard Nic Wise enters Saturday's game 22 points shy of 1,000 for his career. Should the Houston, Texas, product reach that milestone, he would become the 44th player in Arizona history to do so. In his 92-game career, Wise sports a 10.6 points per game scoring average. However, that average jumps to 13.4 ppg since the start of his sophomore season.
WINDEX MAN: Though he is often the smallest guy on the floor, UA point guard Nic Wise has certainly held his own on the glass of late. Over the last three games, the 5-foot-10 senior is averaging 5.3 rebounds per game, including a career-best seven vs. UNLV on Dec. 2. Three times this season Wise has collected six or more caroms. Currently, he carries a 4.0 rebounds per game average, which his more than double his career average of 1.9 rpg entering the season.
PLENTY FROM HORNE: San Diego product Jamelle Horne put forth one of the best efforts of his career Wednesday with career-high totals of 20 points and four assists in the win over Louisiana Tech. The 6-foot-7 junior forward knocked down 8-of-12 field goals , including 3-of-6 from three-point range, and added eight rebounds in 34 minutes of action in what his 15th career game with 10 or more points. He currently leads Arizona with an 8.5 rebounds per game average and ranks second on the team with 15 three-point field goals.
MARKED IMPROVEMENT: Forward Jamelle Horne buried three treys in Wednesday's win, marking the fifth time this season that the 6-foot-7 forward has had multiple treys in a game. Not only does he rank second on the team with 15 three-pointers, but his .441 percentage (15-of-34) is a marked improvement over his career percentage of .261 entering the season. In the last two games, Horne is 6-of-10 from long range.
SECOND HALF SWIFTNESS: After going scoreless in the first half Wednesday, freshman Derrick Williams wasted little time in getting into the scoring column, and doing it often. The 6-foot-8 forward from La Mirada, Calif., scored nine points in the first 6:40 of the second half to ignite a decisive 16-4 UA run. He was 5-of-6 from the floor in the period and finished with 11 points. Williams averages 14.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per game on the season.
BACK AT IT: Sophomore Kyle Fogg made the most of his first start of the season Wednesday by amassing a season-high 11 points on 2-of-3 shooting from behind the arc to go with a career-best six boards, two assists and a block. The 6-foot-3 guard leads all Pac-10 players with a .579 (11-of-19) three-point field goal percentage. Last season, Fogg started in 27 of 35 appearances.
SOLID: Forward Solomon Hill returned to double figures for the first time in three games with a 14-point night against Louisiana Tech. The freshman from Los Angeles, Calif., connected on 6-of-8 field goals - of which four were dunks or layups - to go with six boards and an assist. It marked the fourth game with 10 or more points for Hill in 2009-10 to go with a .538 field goal percentage (289-of-52).
BOARD WORK: Arizona won the rebounding battle Wednesday, 39-37, which marked the fourth consecutive game in which the Wildcats either tied or won on the glass. Rebounding hasn't been the tell all that it has been in the past, as Arizona is just 2-2 this season when outrebounding the opposition and 2-2 when not. In the previous five seasons, Arizona was 71-22 (.763) when outrebounding the opposition.
SCORING 80: Arizona scored 82 points Dec. 9 vs. Louisiana Tech, breaking the 80-point barrier for the third time this year. Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 183-19 (.906) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona is 3-0 this season when topping the 80-point plateau.
EARLY SIGNEE: The Arizona coaching staff signed one student-athlete to a National-Letter-of-Intent during the November early signing period. Daniel Bejarano (G, 6-5, 200) from Phoenix, Ariz., North High School. According to Bob Gibbons' All-Star Sports Top 250, he is No. 40 overall prospect in the country.
UP NEXT: The Wildcats will take a week off for final exams before returning to action on Monday, Dec. 21, when the team hosts Lipscomb. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST and will be televised by FOX College Sports.