Cats Look to Rebound Saturday at Oregon

Jan. 15, 2010

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Date: Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010

Time: 1:30 p.m. PST

Location: McArthur Court (9,087), Eugene, Ore.

Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)

TV: FSN (Ron Thulin/Miles Simon)

GAME DATA: Arizona (8-9, 2-3 Pac-10) closes out another conference weekend looking to salvage a split Saturday at Oregon (10-6, 2-2 Pac-10) in its final appearance at McArthur Court ... Former UA mentor Lute Olson will serve as Arizona's honorary team captain as part of Oregon's season-long festivities in its last season at Mac Court ... Including today's contest, four of UA's next six games are on the road, a place that the Cats are just 3-13 since the start of the 2008-09 campaign ... Three of Arizona's five Pac-10 games to date have been decided by six points or less ... For the year, the Wildcats are 3-4 in games decided by five points or less, and three of those contests have come away from home ... Oddly enough, this is just Arizona's third Saturday game of the season.

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 128-56 (.696) and 8-9 (.471) 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 Oregon.

LAST TIME OUT: A Lathen Wallace trey with 0.9 seconds to go put the cap on a 67-64 Oregon State win Thursday that featured wild swings of momentum. The Beavers led by as many as 13 points in the first half. The Wildcats came all the way back to build an 11-point lead in the second before OSU answered with its finishing push. OSU held Arizona scoreless over the game's final 4:10, a span that featured five UA missed shots and three turnovers. Derrick Williams tallied 20 points and a game-high seven rebounds to lead the Cats.

SCOUTING OREGON: The Ducks enter today's game with a 10-6 record (2-2 Pac-10) following Thursday's 76-57 home loss to Arizona State. On the season, UO averages 76.4 points per game, shoots 45.3 percent from the field (440-of-971) and 71.1 percent (239-of-336) from the line. Duck opponents average 69.6 points per game and are outrebounded by 6.0 boards per game. Individually, three UO players average in double figures, led by Tajuan Porter's 13.4 ppg figure. Michael Dunigan leads the team with a 5.9 rebounds per game average.

THE SERIES: Today's game is the 65th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 41-23 advantage in the series, which dates back to Jan. 12, 1979. The Ducks have won three of the last five games in the series, but the Wildcats captured the last, 87-77, in Eugene on Feb. 7, 2009. All-time, Arizona is 24-7 in series games played in Tucson, 17-14 in Eugene, and 0-2 in neutral-site games. See page 108 of the UA media guide for more series information.

LAST MEETING: Arizona 87, Oregon 77, Feb. 7, 2009: Arizona broke open a tight game with a 20-4 run over 6:22 of the second half en route to its second straight road win. Nic Wise was the driving force, as he tallied 11 of his 17 points during the run. The Wildcats, who shot 58 percent from the field after the break, scored on 13 consecutive second-half possessions and led by as many as 19 points. Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill and Wise combined to hit 24-of-44 field goal attempts and posted 66 of UA's 87 points.

LET'S ROLL THE DICE AGAIN: Arizona heads into Saturday's game looking to earn a split over the weekend after dropping its weekend debut. The Wildcats showed a bit of resiliency by bouncing back after losses at USC (56-50, Dec. 31) and Washington State (78-76, Jan. 8) by earning wins at UCLA (77-63, Jan. 2) and vs. Washington (87-70, Jan, 10). Another weekend-salvaging win would even the Cats' record at 9-9 overall and 3-3 in Pac-10 action.

WINNING ON THURSDAY SURE MAKES THINGS EASIER: Posting a sweep of any Pac-10 weekend is always an impressive accomplishment, and obviously, winning the first game of the weekend makes the whole thing possible. Since the start of the 2006-07 season, Arizona is 14-13 (.519) in the opening game of each two-game weekend and 14-12 (.538) in the trail game. By comparison, the Wildcats were a combined 28-12 (.700) in weekend openers in the five seasons prior (2001-02 to 2005-06) and 29-11 (.725) in the closer. Much can be said about the pressure involved with rebounding quickly, as Arizona earned 21 sweeps (53 percent of the time), split 15 times and was swept four times (10 percent) from 2002 to 2006 compared with eight sweeps (31 percent), 12 splits and were swept six times (23 percent) from 2007 to the present.

SIMILAR FEATURES: Aside from the simple fact that Arizona has dropped two straight weekend openers by a total of five points. However, a closer look revealed some late-game similarities. In Arizona's Jan. 8 loss to Washington State, Solomon Hill tipped in with 14 seconds remaining gave the Cougars a final possession that DeAngelo Casto cashed in with 0.1 seconds to go in the 78-76 final. Thursday at Oregon State, an Arizona turnover with 14 seconds to go set up Lathen Wallace's heroics with 1.1 seconds remaining to give the Beavers a 67-64 victory.

GOING COLD: After connecting on 11-of-22 (.500) field goal attempts in the first half, the Cats went cold in the second half, connecting on just 35.3 percent (12-of-34) of its attempts from the floor to close the game. How cold did it get for the Cats? Arizona failed to score in the final 4:10, and in that time frame missed five field goal attempts, a free throw and committed three turnovers.

BOARD WORK: Arizona posted a nice 37-30 rebound advantage against Oregon State Thursday. The Wildcats have outrebounded four of five opponents in Pac-10 play and UA's +4.8 rebound margin in league play is a 5.1 rebounds per game improvement over its season-long average. Additionally, UA collected 12 offensive rebounds in Thursday's contest and held a 12-6 advantage in second-chance points. Through 17 games this year, Arizona has outrebounded eight opponents but it hasn't been an indicator of success, as the Cats are just 4-4 when collecting more caroms. In the previous five seasons, Arizona is 71-22 (.763) when winning the rebound battle.

GOOD IN THE MIDDLE: Even though Arizona fell behind by as many as 13 points in the first half Thursday at Oregon State, Arizona did a nice job of not only digging out of that hole, but turned it into a seemingly solid advantage. From the 9:55 mark of the first half to the 8:58 mark of the second, Arizona outscored Oregon State, 46-22, by outshooting them .500 (16-of-32) to .304 (7-of-23). Thursday's game marked the first time in six occurrences this year that Arizona has lost a game in which it led at the five-minute mark of the second half.

SLOW STARTS CONTINUE TO HURT: Once again, a slow start hindered Arizona's chances, as the team fell behind by double figures in the first half. Even though the Cats whittled that deficit to four points at the break, Arizona slipped to just 1-7 this season when trailing at the half. The only time UA has rallied in the final period came on Dec. 21 when UA erased a 34-30 deficit in what became an 83-82 win over Lipscomb.

CONTINUES TO CLIMB: Senior guard Nic Wise enters today's game just six points shy of 1,100 for his career. Currently, the 5-foot-10 Wise stands in 37th place on the UA career scoring list. Should Wise reach his average of 15.1 points per game today, Wise would move into 35th place on the list. In his career, Wise carries a 10.8 ppg scoring average.

CARRYING HIS WEIGHT: Freshman Kevin Parrom has proven to be a solid rebounder since his debut seven games ago. Over the last two games, the 6-foot-6 Parrom has collected 13 rebounds, second-best on the team. He boosted his per game averages to 3.9 points and 3.1 rebounds with four points and six boards against Oregon State. He also passed out a season-best three assists, collected an assist and garnered a total of 26 minutes played.

STELLAR PERFORMANCE: Forward Derrick Williams methodically goes about proving himself as one of the most productive freshmen around. The 6-foot-7 native of La Mirada, Calif., tallied 20 points, a game-high seven rebounds and a blocked shots Thursday at Oregon State. For Williams, it was his fourth 20-point game of the season and his 15th game in double figures, including the last 12 consecutive. Williams, who hit 7-of-13 field goal attempts Thursday, leads Arizona with a .569 (82-of-144) field goal percentage.

KEEPING THE POSSESSION ALIVE: Forward Derrick Williams collected a game-high seven rebounds Thursday, including a UA season-high five offensive rebounds vs. the Beavers and is the first Wildcat to grab five or more offensive boards in a game to date. Williams, who ranks second on the team with a 6.8 rebounds per game average, leads Arizona with 34 offensive rebounds.

FOUR TO SCORE: Kyle Fogg finished with 10 points Thursday, which marked his fourth consecutive game in double figures, a career first for the sophomore from Brea, Calif. In those four games, the 6-foot-3 Fogg leads Arizona with a 15.5 ppg average to go with 3.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. In that span, Fogg is shooting 22-of-44 (.500) from the field. On the year, he averages 9.6 points per game.

LOOK HERE: When trying to determine Arizona's chances for success, look no further than field goal percentage. This season, the Wildcats are 7-1 when shooting better than the opposition and 1-8 when not. Thursday at OSU, UA was outshot, .460-.411.

BOOST IN PRODUCTIVITY: Brendon Lavender hit a trey and equaled a career high with two assists Thursday. For Lavender, it was his 10th trey of the year and 15th assist this year - modest totals certainly - but a nice boost in productivity when you consider that Lavender totaled just one trey and seven assists in 132 total minutes (4.7 mpg) last year. This year, Lavender is averaging 20.7 minutes per game.

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: The Wildcats get a brief respite following today's game, as the club does not return to action until Saturday, Jan. 23, when it travels to Tempe, Ariz., to challenge intrastate rival Arizona State. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. MST and will be televised by FS Arizona.

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