Cats Come Home; Host Ducks Thursday
Feb. 9, 2010
Date: Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010
Time: 8:30 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: FSN (Barry Thompkins/Don MacLean)
GAME DATA: Arizona (12-11, 6-5 Pac-10) opens a Three-game homestand Thursday vs. Oregon (12-10, 4-6 Pac-10) in McKale Center ... UA is one of five teams currently in a tie for second place in the Pac-10 standings ... After playing seven of its last 11 conference games on the road, five of the Cats' last seven are in McKale Center, where the team is 8-3 this season ... In Pac-10 home games, Arizona averages 78.8 points per game, 6.6 points per game more than its overall season average, and 6.8 points better than the opposition in those four contests ... This season's club stumbled to an 0-2 start, but in the previous five seasons, Arizona was 22-15 (.595) in the month of February with 12 of those victories coming at McKale Center ... Nic Wise's next trey will be the 150th of his career.
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 132-58 (.695) and 12-11 (.522) 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 their 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 1-0 against Oregon.
LAST TIME OUT: Simply put, Washington State outplayed Arizona in all facets of the game as it pulled away for the 78-60 win Saturday in Pullman. WSU shot it better, rebounded better and made all the hustle plays before breaking it open in the second half. Arizona cut the deficit to two possessions twice in the second period, the last coming at 5:03, but a 12-0 WSU spurt from that point put a cap on the outcome. Derrick Williams led the Cats with 16 points and seven rebounds, while Kyle Fogg added 13 points and four boards.
SCOUTING OREGON: The Ducks enter tonight's game with a 12-10 record (4-6 Pac-10) following Saturday's 62-42 loss at Oregon State. On the season, Oregon averages 72.2 points per game, shoots 43.7 percent from the field (570-of-1,303) and 70.8 percent (320-of-452) from the line. UO opponents average 70.3 points per game and are outrebounded by an average of 3.4 boards per game. Individually, three Duck players average in double figures, led by Tajuan Porter's 11.9 ppg figure. Joevan Catron leads the team with a 5.8 rebounds per game average.
THE SERIES: Tonight's game is the 66th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 42-23 advantage in the series, which dates back to Jan. 12, 1979. The Cats have won three of the last six games in the series, including the last, 74-60, in Eugene on Jan. 16. All-time, Arizona is 24-7 in series games played in Tucson, 18-14 in Eugene, and 0-2 in neutral-site games. See page 108 of the UA media guide for more series information.
LAST MEETING: Arizona 74, Oregon 60, Jan. 16, 2010: Derrick Williams collected his first career double-double to lead Arizona to a 14-point road win. The Cats jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never trailed in the contest in which UA limited Oregon to 33.3 percent shooting and 16 points less than its season scoring average. Williams' game-high totals of 20 points and 13 rebounds spearheaded an effort that saw Arizona shoot 51.2 percent for the game and outrebound Oregon, 36-28. Nic Wise and Kyle Fogg each added 19 points.
TOP OF THE BOXSCORE: Kyle Fogg led Arizona by averaging 13.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals in a pair of games last week. The sophomore guard connected on 44.4 percent of his field goals (8-of-18), hit two treys and added two assists and a block. Fogg opened the week by connecting on 6-of-10 free throws en route to 13 points, three rebounds and three steals in UA's six-point loss at Washington. He followed that up with 13 points (5-of-9 FG) and four rebounds Saturday at Washington State. On the year, Fogg averages 11.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game, while shooting 44.0 percent (80-of-182) from the field.
MAMA SAID THERE'D BE DAYS LIKE THIS: Arizona's 18-point loss to Washington State was the team's worst in a road game this season and the worst for the team in Pac-10 play. Prior to Saturday, Arizona had lost four conference games by a total of 17 points (4.3 ppg). From the Cats' perspective, Saturday's effort was a bit of an anomaly and the statistics bear that out, as Arizona currently ranks second in the Pac-10 with a +3.7 scoring margin.
PLAY TO OUR STRENGTHS: One alarming number from the weekend was free throw shooting, as Washington and Washington State combined to make 52-of-70 (.743) of its charity tosses this weekend, outscoring Arizona by 23 from the stripe over the weekend. On the season, Arizona outscores its opponents by an average of 2.4 free throws per game (18.1-15.7). Saturday's FT deficit of 13 points from the line was the biggest of the season. Further, Arizona, who leads the Pac-10 in free throw percentage at .744 (416-of-559), connected on just 29-of-42 (.690) of its FT attempts this weekend.
SECOND-HALF SWOON: The Wildcats struggled in the state of Washington in the second half of both games last weekend, allowing Washington and Washington State to average 48 points and shoot 56.3 percent (27-of-48) from the field in the second half alone. Incidentally, Washington State shot 51.0 percent from the field Saturday (26-of-51), marking the firs time in eight games that an opponent had shot better than 50 percent from the field against Arizona. Pac-10 opponents are shooting just 41.6 percent (249-of-598) from the field against the Cats this season.
BOUNCING BACK: Two days after posting season-low totals of three points and two boards in just eight minutes at Washington, freshman forward Derrick Williams rebounded with 16 points and seven rebounds to go with season-high totals of two blocks, two steals and 34 minutes played Saturday at Washington State. The 6-foot-8 native of La Mirada, Calif., connected on 7-of-13 field goals, including his third trey of the season, to finish in double figures for the 20th time in 23 games this year. On the season, Williams is averaging 15.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, while leading the Wildcats with a .569 (115-of-202) field goal percentage.
TURNOVERS APLENTY: Perhaps it's a measure of defensive pressure, but Arizona saw it's turnovers increase in two losses this week. All told, UA combined for 34 turnovers in the games at Washington and Washington State, which led to a 43-23 deficit when it comes to turnover points. In Thursday's six-point loss at Washington, 25 of the Huskies' 81 points came off Arizona turnovers. For comparison, Arizona averages 13.3 turnovers per game in Pac-10 play and is 8-3 for the season when committing the same or fewer turnovers than the opposition.
STAUNCHLY DEFENSIVE: Freshman Kevin Parrom did an admirable job against Washington State's Klay Thompson, holding him to 14 points and 10 field goal attempts, figures that were 7.5 points and 6.4 FG attempts below his season scoring averages entering the contest.
OBVIOUSLY: One could probably make the case that this holds true for most teams, but Arizona struggles when it doesn't score points. This season, Arizona is 1-7 when it scores less than 70 points. In those eight games, Arizona opponents are averaging 69.5 points.
TURN THE BEAT AROUND: Arizona has been outrebounded in its last three games by an average margin of 6.3 rebounds per game. Prior to that, UA had out-boarded seven of its last eight opponents. On the season, Arizona is 7-4 when it outrebounds opponents and 5-7 when it doesn't; and in Pac-10 play the club ranks third with a +1.9 rebound margin.
PROGRESS IS STEADY: Lamont 'MoMo' Jones continues to make solid progress, as the freshman guard tallied 16 points, six assists and two steals in two games this week. The 6-foot Harlem, N.Y., native connected on 43.8 percent of his field goal attempts and posted a 2:1 assist:turnover ratio for the week (6 assists/3 turnovers). In Pac-10 play, Jones is averaging 5.5 points and 1.5 assists per game, while his field goal percentage (.423/22-of-52) and assist:turnover ratio (+1.2) are both improved over his season-long figures (.381/-0.9). His four assists Saturday equaled a season high.
WILLIAM TELL COULDN'T DO IT BETTER: Sophomore center Alex Jacobson has proven to be accurate this season, as he has missed a total of two shots all season. He's connected on 9-of-10 (.900) field goal and 3-of-4 (.750) free throws in 13 appearances (7.1 mpg) to date. While five of his 12 total rebounds on the season are offensive, his shots aren't all put-back and lay-ins. The 7-foot native of Santa Ana, Calif., does have one three-pointer to his credit, and he hasn't missed a field goal in eight appearances dating back to Dec. 9.
EVERYONE ON THE SAME PAGE, PLEASE: To say the Wildcats were out of sync last weekend might be a bit of an understatement. Thursday at Washington, the UA bench 16-of-25 (.640) field goals and a season-best 40 points, while the starters hit just 9-of-36 (.250) shots and tallied 35 points. Two days later, the starters shot .513 from the floor (20-of-39), tallying 51 of the team's 60 points, while the reserves hit just 2-of-13 (.154) field goal attempts.
NUMBERS WORTH NOTING: Senior guard Nic Wise enters Thursday's game with a few noteworthy numbers approaching. The 5-foot-10 native of Houston, Texas, is five points shy of 1,200 for his career (11.2 ppg) , one trey shy of 150 (mentioned earlier), six minutes played shy of 3,000 and two steals shy of moving into a tie for 10th place on the Arizona career steals list at 156 - a spot currently held by Mustafa Shakur (2003-07).
MOMENTUM SWINGS: Arizona dropped a pair of road games last weekend, marking the first time this season that the Wildcats had failed to win at least one road game on a Pac-10 road swing. It was also the first time that UA had failed to win on either Saturday or Sunday since league play started.
SCORING 80: Arizona scored 87 points Jan. 10 vs. Washington, breaking the 80-point barrier for the fifth time this year. Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 185-19 (.907) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona is 5-0 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: Following tonight's contest, the Wildcats host Oregon State on Saturday, Feb. 13. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. MST and can be seen locally on KWBA-TV and nationally on FOX College Sports.