Cats, Cougs Both Look to Rebound Saturday

Feb. 5, 2010

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Date: Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010

Time: 5:30 p.m. PST

Location: Friel Court (11,671), Pullman, Wash.

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

TV: FSAZ (Greg Heister/Craig Ehlo)

GAME DATA: Arizona (12-10, 6-4 Pac-10) closes another Pac-10 weekend on the road looking to salvage a split this time at Washington State (14-8, 4-6 Pac-10) Saturday in Pullman ... In a league in which seven teams currently sit within one loss of the top slot, every game is important ... The Wildcats are averaging 69.5 points per game in six conference road games, a shade under the team's 72.7 ppg average through 22 games ... A win today would give the Cats four true road wins on the year, a figure that is twice as many as the program claimed last season ... Prior to Thursday in Seattle, the last time Arizona scored 75 or more points and lost was Jan. 8 vs. Washington State ... Arizona is 3-2 in its last five trips to the Palouse with those games decided by an average of 9.8 points per game.

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 132-57 (.698) and 12-10 (.545) 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 0-1 against Washington State.

LAST TIME OUT: Arizona shot 41 percent from the field, was outrebounded and committed a season-high 20 turnovers in the 81-75 loss Thursday at Washington. The Huskies Quincy Pondexter proved to be the difference, tallying 30 points and 12 rebounds and the Huskies sank 21-of-25 free throws in the second half. Led by Lamont Jones' 14 points, Arizona got a season-high 40 points from its bench, but it wasn't enough to offset a 25-8 disadvantage in turnover points.

SCOUTING WASHINGTON STATE: The Cougars enter today's game with a 14-8 record (4-6 Pac-10) following Thursday's 81-70 loss to Arizona State. On the season, Washington State averages 75.8 points per game, shoots 46.5 percent from the field (560-of-1,204) and 70.6 percent (422-of-598) from the line. Cougar opponents average 72.4 points per game and are outrebounded by an average of 2.5 boards per game. Individually, two WSU players average in double figures, led by Klay Thompson's 21.5 ppg figure. DeAngelo Casto leads the team with a 6.9 rebounds per game average.

THE SERIES: Today's game is the 67th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 51-15 series advantage. Arizona has won 44 of the last 49 meetings in the series, which dates back to Dec. 22, 1959, but WSU captured the last two, including a 78-76 win on Jan. 8, in Tucson. All-time, Arizona is 25-8 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 78, Arizona 76, Jan. 8, 2010: DeAngelo Casto's bucket with one-tenth of a second remaining sealed Arizona's fate in a game that featured 10 ties and four lead changes. Arizona did enough things right to keep itself in the game - four players in double figures, forced 16 WSU turnovers - but couldn't get enough stops when it needed them, punctuated by WSU's 35-26 rebound advantage that included eight second-half offensive rebounds. Nic Wise led the Cats with 15 points, while Derrick Williams and Kyle Fogg added 13 apiece.

WEEKEND SPECIAL: As mentioned previously, Arizona enters today's game looking to salvage a split in this weekend's games. In what has almost become a recurring theme, the Wildcats need a win in the second game of the weekend to accomplish the feat. To date, Arizona is 1-4 on either Thursday or Friday, and 5-0 on Saturday or Sunday. In the weekend opener Arizona averages 68.2 points and sports a -1.8 scoring margin. In the back half, the Wildcats average 78.2 points and carry a +13.6 scoring margin.

TOPSY-TURVY: Arizona received quite a boost from its bench Thursday, as the Wildcats reserves tallied a season-high 40 points at Washington. It also marked the first time this season that the bench had tallied more points than the starters. Perhaps some of that productivity was out of necessity, as Arizona starters totaled just 35 points Thursday, or 22.4 points below its cumulative scoring average entering the contest.

DOUBLE FIGURES: No fewer than five Wildcats finished in double figures Thursday, as Lamont Jones (14), Kyle Fogg (13), Nic Wise (12), Solomon Hill (12) and Brendon Lavender (11) each tallied more than 10 points against the Huskies. This season, Arizona is 8-2 when placing four or more players in double figures. However, one of those defeats came to Washington State on Jan. 8.

CALL IT SALT IN THE WOUND: Let's face it, turnovers are never a good thing and their detrimental effects were on display Thursday at Washington when the Wildcats turned it over a season-high 20 times. All told, those UA miscues led to 25 Washington points - 31 percent of UW's offensive output - and a 25-8 Husky advantage in turnover points. This season, Arizona averages 13.9 turnovers per game and is 4-8 when committing more turnovers than the opposition.

POUNDED ON THE GLASS: One of the key figures in Thursday's loss was the fact that Washington outrebounded Arizona 45-40. It marked just the third time in 10 Pac-10 games that the Wildcats had been beaten on the glass. Not only was Washington's total the highest for a UA opponent this season, but so was UW's 18 offensive rebounds. Arizona still carries a +3.3 rebound margin in conference play and holds a 5-2 record when outrebounding Pac-10 foes.

OFF THE MARK: Entering Thursday's game leading the Pac-10 Conference with a 74.9 free throw percentage, Arizona connected on just 19-of-29 charity attempts (.655) at Washington. UA's 10 misses Thursday were as many as it had in the previous two games combined (57 attempts), and were its most misses from the stripe in 12 games. It also snapped a streak that saw Arizona make 20 or more free throws in four consecutive games. On the season, Arizona outscores the opposition by an average of 3.1 points per game from the free throw line.

NOT TOO OFTEN: Bolstered by a 13-2 run in the last 2:56 of the first half, Arizona carried a 37-31 lead into the halftime break. Usually that has been a good indicator of success for the Cats, as the club is 9-3 this season when leading at halftime. Additionally, it was the first time in five Pac-10 games that UA has failed to capitalize on a halftime lead.

ONCE AGAIN, NOT TOO OFTEN: Aside from its 20 turnovers and 18 offensive rebounds surrendered, Arizona did do an admirable job of limiting Washington to just 36.9 percent shooting (24-of-65), which was the eighth time this season that UA had held an opponent to less than 40 percent shooting. In conference play, Arizona opponents are shooting a combined .408 (223-of-547) from the field. Interestingly, Thursday's game was just the second in 12 occurrences that Arizona lost when posting a higher FG percentage than the opponent.

CONTINUING HIS CLIMB: Senior guard Nic Wise tallied 12 points Thursday to move into the top 30 on Arizona's career scoring list. In his 106-game career, Wise has amassed 1,185 points (11.2 ppg), which moved him into sole possession of 29th place on the list.

HE'S GOT MO ON HIS SIDE: Lamont Jones continues to give the Cats a lift off the bench. Thursday at Washington, the 6-foot guard from Harlem, N.Y., registered his second consecutive double-figure game with a team-high 14 points. The freshman guard connected on 7-of-10 field goal to notch his fifth double-figure scoring game of the year. Incidentally, Jones' field goal percentage in Pac-10 play is a respectable 47.8 percent (22-of-46), while averaging 13.4 minutes per game.

IN THE MIDDLE: Freshman center Kyryl Natyazhko equaled a season high with seven rebounds Thursday vs. Washington. The 6-foot-10 native of Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, has five games with five or more rebounds. On the season, Natyazhko is averaging 2.1 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.

COMING BACK STRONG: Sophomore guard Brendon Lavender connected on 4-of-4 field goals, including 3-of-3 from three-point range, to finish with 11 points. It marked the first time that Lavender had made more than two field goals in a game since setting a career high with 16 points on Nov. 24 vs. Colorado. Lavender's 11 points Thursday were nearly as many as the 6-foot-5 native of Mesa, Ariz., had tallied in the previous seven games (12 points).

NICE TO HAVE YOU BACK: Freshman forward Solomon Hill recorded his seventh double-figure points game of the season, but was his first since Dec. 28. The 6-foot-6 Los Angeles, Calif., native connected on 4-of-6 field goals, 4-of-6 free throws, grabbed seven rebounds and passed out a team-high three assists. On the season, Hill is averaging 6.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.

IN RESERVE: Center Alex Jacobson found himself in the middle of the action for an extended stint Thursday, as he logged a season-high 15 minutes of action. The 7-foot sophomore equaled a career high with five rebounds, while also adding a bucket, block and steal. Incidentally, the steal was the first of his career.

AN ANOMALY: Foul trouble limited Derrick Williams to a season low eight minutes, where he totaled three points and two rebounds. It also snapped a streak of 16 consecutive games in double figures for the 6-foot-8 freshman forward. Expect Williams to bounce back, as he has averaged 19.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in the games immediately following a single-digit point performance.

PHYSICAL CONFRONTATIONS: In two meetings against Washington this season, the teams combined to commit a total of 106 fouls and parade to the free throw line to connect on 92-of-131 (.702) total attempts.

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 today's game, Arizona heads home for three consecutive home games, beginning Thursday, Feb. 11, against Oregon. The contest is scheduled to tip-off at 8:30 p.m. MST and can be seen nationally on FOX Sports Net.

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