Wildcats, Cougars Meet Friday in McKale
Jan. 5, 2010
Date: Friday, Jan. 8, 2010
Time: 6:30 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: KGUN/FSAZ (Dave Sitton/Corey Williams)
GAME DATA: Arizona (7-7, 1-1 Pac-10) opens the home portion of the Pac-10 schedule Friday night against Washington State (11-3, 1-1 Pac-10) in McKale Center ... The Wildcats look to build on its first road win of the season last Saturday at UCLA ... In seven home games this season, Arizona is averaging 76.6 points per game, a figure that is 5.5 points higher than its season-long scoring output ... Additionally, UA averages 80.4 points per game in its seven victories in 2009-10 and limits opponents to just .407 shooting (177-of-435) in those contests - 28 percentage points lower than the opponent's season-long accuracy.
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 127-54 (.702) and 7-7 (.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 Washington State.
LAST TIME OUT: Arizona won its first true road game of the season in convincing fashion, taking the lead for good just 3:18 into the contest and building as much as a 20-point lead in a 77-63 win Saturday at UCLA. The Cats limited the Bruins to just 20.8 percent shooting in the first half and jumped out to a 35-20 lead at the break. In the win, Arizona outshot, outrebounded and forced more turnovers than UCLA. Kyle Fogg scored 19 of his career-high 25 points in the second half and joined in double figures by Jamelle Horne (17) and Derrick Williams (16).
SCOUTING WASHINGTON STATE: The Cougars enter tonight's game with an 11-3 record (1-1 Pac-10) following Saturday's 65-60 home win over Oregon State. On the season, WSU averages 79.7 points per game, shoots 49.2 percent from the field (369-of-750) and 72.9 percent (296-of-406) from the line. Cougar opponents average 69.4 points per game and are outrebounded by 4.2 boards per game. Individually, three WSU players average in double figures, led by Klay Thompson's 24.3 ppg figure. DeAngelo Casto leads the team in rebounding with a 7.4 rebounds per game average.
THE SERIES: Tonight's game is the 66th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 51-14 series advantage. Arizona has won 44 of the last 48 meetings in the series, which dates back to Dec. 22, 1959, but WSU captured the last one, 69-53 on Dec. 26, 2009, in Pullman. All-time, Arizona is 25-7 in series games played in Tucson, 21-7 in Pullman, Wash., and 5-0 in neutral-site games. See page 110 of the UA media guide for more series information.
LAST MEETING: Washington State 69, Arizona 53, Feb. 26, 2009: The teams followed a similar storyline from the previous meeting, this time it was the Cougars' chance to shine. Falling behind early, WSU used a stellar second half to pull away. Down 29-26 at the half, WSU blitzed the nets with 68 percent shooting to outscore Arizona by 19 points in the second period and earn the win. Nic Wise (19) and Jordan Hill (15) combined for 34 points, but the rest of the Cats managed just 19 points and the club was no match for a WSU effort that placed four players in double figures.
TAKING CHARGE: Kyle Fogg led Arizona to a key road win as part of a busy week with per game averages of 16.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists in three games. The sophomore guard connected on 51.5 percent of his field goals (17-of-33), 76.5 percent of his free throws (13-of-17), while adding three blocks and a steal. Fogg opened the week with his fifth game in double figures this season by knocking five field goals and five free throws en route to 16 points and two assists vs. BYU. He then added eight points at USC before exploding for a career-high totals of 25 points and three blocked shots in UA's road win at UCLA. Fogg, who was 9-of-12 from the field, scored 19 of his 25 points in the second half to lead the Cats to its first road win of the year. His 19 second-half points were a career best in itself as he registered the first 25-point game of his career. On the year, Fogg averages of 9.1 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, while shooting a Pac-10 leading 54.5 percent (18-of-33) from the three-point range. Fogg's scoring effort for the week was nearly double his scoring average for the year.
GETTING BETTER: Arizona picked up its first true road win of the season Saturday, courtesy of a 77-63 victory at UCLA, in its fourth attempt of the season. By comparison, the Wildcats won only two true road games last season, and didn't pick up its first road win until Feb. 5 in a 56-53 win at Oregon State. The Cats took the lead for good Saturday just three minutes and 18 seconds into the contest, posted a 15-point lead at the half and built it to as many as 20 points in the second half. Here are two interesting facts from the win. First, Arizona had only two one-point leads for a total of 73 seconds in its previous three road games prior to Saturday. Second, the Wildcats had been outscored by an average of 13.3 points in the three road tilts.
CHIPPING IN: One of the best things about Saturday's win was the simple fact that Arizona won without a heroic effort from senior Nic Wise. The 5-foot-10 do-it-all guard from Houston, Texas, did manage, eight points, four rebounds, five assists and four steals in the win, but it was a very positive step for the Cats that others answered the call. In addition to Fogg's contributions, Derrick Williams posted 16 points and nine rebounds, while Jamelle Horne added 17 points and six boards. Incidentally, Wise averages a team-leading 15.1 points and 4.0 assists per game this season.
ON THE RIGHT FOOT: Arizona limited UCLA to just 20.8 percent shooting (5-of-24) and 20 points in the first half of Saturday's game in racing to a 15-point halftime lead. Good starts have been beneficial to the Wildcats, as the club is 6-2 when leading at the half. Additionally, Arizona's 77 points Saturday were the most it had scored on the road this year and its highest point total in regulation in six games. The Cats are also 6-2 this season when scoring 70 or more points.
COLLEGE BOARDS: One thing Arizona did well in both road games last week was rebound. In the games at USC and UCLA, the Wildcats outrebounded both opponents and posted a +4.5 rebound margin, a solid effort for a club that carries a -1.4 rebound margin for the season. Arizona outrebounded USC, 18-12, in the second half as the Cats erased two-thirds of a 17-point deficit, and outboarded UCLA, 27-15, in the first half as it built an early 15-point lead against the Bruins.
EXTENDING PRESSURE: The Wildcats also did a nice job defensively in Los Angeles, limiting the Trojans and Bruins to a combined .418 (41-of-98) field goal percentage, including .167 (4-fo-24) from three-point range. As mentioned above, UA limited UCLA to just 20.8 percent shooting in the first half Saturday, and finished the contest with six blocked shots and seven steals, both of which were better than its per game season averages. Additionally, the Cats won the turnover battle at UCLA and improved the team's record to 5-1 this year when accomplishing the feat.
MORE FROM NIC: Nic Wise tallied five assists in Saturday's win, marking his first game with five or more helpers since Dec. 9. Furthermore, it was the fifth time this season that Wise has collected five or more assists in a game. Over the course of his 98-game career, Arizona is 24-10 (.706) when Wise passes out five or more assists.
A LONG-RANGE THREAT: Forward Jamelle Horne continues to enjoy a solid junior campaign, as he's posted per game averages of 11.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists. But the 6-foot-7 forward has really emerged as a three-point threat, as the San Diego, Calif., product leads Arizona with 25 treys (1.9/game) and ranks second with a .424 (25-of-59) shooting percentage from behind the arc. He currently ranks eighth in the conference with an average of 1.9 made treys per game and 10th in three-point FG percentage. Entering the season, Horne had made a total of 18 treys and posted a .261 (18-of-69) three-point field goal percentage for his career.
PUNCH THE CLOCK: Freshman Derrick Williams continues to be a model of consistency, as he is averaging 15.1 points and 6.7 rebounds, while leading the team with a .562 (68-of-121) field goal percentage. Saturday at UCLA, the 6-foot-8 forward from La Mirada, Calif., knocked down 6-of-10 field goals on the way to 16 points, a team-high nine boards and a blocked shot. Williams leads all Wildcats with 12 games in double figures this year.
TURNING THINGS AROUND: A quick look at Saturday's boxscore tells one that Brendon Lavender finished 1-of-4 from the field and scored three points. But that lone trey with 14:10 to go in the second half was noteworthy because it was his first field goal of any kind since Dec. 2, ending an 0-of-16 stretch. Despite the slump, the sophomore from Mesa, Ariz., still ranks fourth on the club with eight treys. Lavender 3.4 points and 1.4 rebounds in 13 appearances this season.
A COUSY AWARD FINALIST: Arizona's Nic Wise has been named a finalist for the 2010 Bob Cousy Award, announced Tuesday by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The list is comprised of 20 NCAA Division I student-athletes, who are vying for the honor of the nation's top point guard. Wise is one of two Pac-10 players on the list. The list will be pared down to 10 on Feb. 1 before the final five candidates are announced on March 1. The winner will of the Bob Cousy Award will be announced on Monday, April 5, as part of the Final Four festivities in Indianapolis.
25-POINT NIGHTS: Sophomore Kyle Fogg exploded for a career-high 25 points in Saturday's win at UCLA, joining Derrick Williams and Nic Wise as the three Cats to post a 25-point game this season. The 6-foot-3 guard connected on a career-best 9-of-12 field goals in the effort. After scoring six points in the first half, Fogg posted three early buckets in the second to get things going on what would turn into a 19-point half - an effort that would have been a career high for Fogg in itself. It was the 14th career game in double figures for Fogg and his first 20-point effort.
SCORING 80: Arizona scored 83 points Dec. 21 vs. Lipscomb, breaking the 80-point barrier for the fourth time this year. Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 184-19 (.906) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona is 4-0 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: Arizona returns to action on Sunday, Jan. 10, when the Cats host 24th-ranked Washington. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. MST and will be televised by KWBA-TV and FS Arizona.