Cats Face Bears in Bay Area

Feb. 23, 2010

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Date: Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010

Time: 6 p.m. PST

Location: Haas Pavilion (11,877), Berkeley, Calif.

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

TV: ESPN (Dave O'Brien/Steve Lavin)

GAME DATA: Arizona (13-13, 7-6 Pac-10) begins its final road trip of the regular season Thursday at Pac-10-leading California (18-9, 10-5 Pac-10) in a nationally televised game at Haas Pavilion ... Arizona enters the weekend looking to stay above .500 both overall and in conference play ... A win tonight would move the Wildcats a step closer to its first winning road record in Pac-10 play since 2006-07 ... In Pac-10 road games, Arizona is averaging 68.1 points per game, a figure that is 4.6 points per game less than it averages in its seven conference home games (72.7 ppg) ... Arizona is 5-5 in its last five trips to the Bay Area, including a 3-2 record in Berkeley ... Tonight's game marks Arizona's fourth appearance this season on the ESPN family of networks, and the Cats are 1-3 to date.

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 133-60 (.689) and 13-13 (.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 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 California as a head coach.

LAST TIME OUT: Fitting of intrastate rivals, Arizona and Arizona State played an intense game from start to finish, where neither squad held more than a five-point lead through the first 29 minutes in what turned out to be a 73-69 Sun Devil win on Sunday. ASU was the sharper squad down the stretch, connecting on 66.7 percent of its field goals and committing just three turnovers in the second half. Three Wildcats finished in double figures, led by Nic Wise's 18 points, but Arizona had no answer for ASU's Ty Abbott, who had 28 points.

SCOUTING CALIFORNIA: The Golden Bears enter tonight's game with an 18-9 record (10-5 Pac-10) following last Saturday's 64-49 win at Oregon. On the season, California averages 77.6 points per game, shoots 47.2 percent from the field (749-of-1,588) and 73.9 percent (421-of-570) from the line. Cal opponents average 68.7 points per game and are outrebounded by an average of 3.7 boards per game. Individually, four Golden Bears average in double figures, led by Jerome Randle's 19.2 ppg figure. Jamal Boykin leads the team with a 6.5 rebounds per game average.

THE SERIES: Tonight's game is the 80th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 52-27 advantage in the series, which dates back to Feb. 1, 1924. Arizona has won 19 of the last 23 meetings, including a 76-72 win in Tucson on Jan. 31. All-time, Arizona is 27-9 in series games played in Tucson, 22-17 in Berkeley, Calif., and 3-1 in neutral-site games. Please see page 107 in the UA media guide for more series information.

LAST MEETING: Arizona 76, California 72, Jan. 31, 2010: Nic Wise equaled a career high with 30 points and provided the winning margin as Arizona earned a share of the conference lead at the midway point of the schedule. Wise single-handedly outscored Cal, 7-3, in the final 53 seconds to provide the winning margin. Arizona limited Cal to just 37.7 percent shooting from the floor and forced 12 turnovers in the contest and received timely contributions from just about everyone to see action. Derrick Williams registered his second double-double of the season, while Lamont Jones chipped in with 10 points.

YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE: The start times and television carriers have been announced for Arizona's two remaining home games. The Pac-10 Conference announced Monday that the Arizona-UCLA game scheduled for Thursday, March 4, was one of the league's wildcard selections and will be televised nationally by FOX Sports Net. Tip-off is slated for 8:30 p.m. MST. Additionally, the Arizona-USC game on Saturday, March 6, will be televised by KWBA-TV and FOX Sports Arizona and will begin at 11:30 a.m. MST. Incidentally, the Cats' March 4 game on FSN marks the 15th national television appearance for the program this season.

TRUTH IN NUMBERS: Arizona connected on 19-of-40 (.475) field goal attempts Sunday, which was the team's best shooting performance since Jan. 23 - a span of seven games. In the six games in between, the Wildcats shot a cumulative 40.8 percent from the field (139-of-341). This season, Arizona is 7-13 when failing to shoot 50 percent from the field and just 2-11 when being outshot by the opposition.

CONTESTING SHOTS: The Wildcats allowed Arizona State to shoot 51.9 percent (27-of-52) from the field Sunday, marking just the third time a Pac-10 opponent had topped the 50-percent plateau against Arizona. All told, Arizona ranks third among 'The Conference of Champions' when it comes to FG percentage defense in conference-only games, allowing foes to shoot .422 (320-of-758) from the field.

CONTROLLING THE BOARDS: Led by Kevin Parrom's career-high 10 rebounds, Arizona did a nice job of controlling the glass in Sunday's loss, outrebounding Arizona State, 29-21. Arizona has outrebounded 10 of 14 Pac-10 opponents to date and leads the league in rebound margin in conference games at +2.8. Additionally, Arizona's +8 rebound margin against ASU was its second largest of the season in Pac-10 action.

IN DOUBLE FIGURES: Speaking of Kevin Parrom...his 10 rebounds Feb. 21 vs. Arizona State marked the seventh time that a UA player has collected a double-figure rebound total in a game this season. He joins Jamelle Horne (4) and Derrick Williams (2) as the Wildcats to accomplish the feat. In Pac-10 play, the 6-foot-6 Parrom is averaging 4.7 rebounds per game, a figure that ranks second on the team.

GETTING TO THE LINE: Arizona did a nice job of getting to the free throw line Sunday, connecting on 24-of-32 (.750) charity attempts against the Sun Devils. Usually that is a recipe for success, as the club is 8-3 this year when sinking 20 or more free throws in a single game. On the season, Arizona leads the Pac-10 in free throw percentage at .742 (462-of-623), and outscores opponents by an average of 2.7 free throws per game.

MISCUES MATTER: Turnovers proved to be a difference maker in Sunday's game, as ASU efficiently won the turnover battle, 12-7, and posted a 13-9 advantage in turnover points in what turned out to be a four-point game. Most of the damage was done early, as the clubs combined for just seven turnovers in the second half. This season, Arizona is 5-10 when turning it over more than the opposition.

STOLEN MOMENTS: Perhaps it had to do with playing against a deliberate offensive style, but whatever the reason Arizona equaled a season low with just two steals against Arizona State - one each by Jamelle Horne and Kevin Parrom. In Pac-10 play, Arizona currently ranks second in the league with an average of 6.2 steals per game. Individually, Nic Wise ranks second in the Pac-10 with an average of 1.8 steals per game.

ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS: In knocking down 3-of-5 attempts from behind the arc Sunday, Nic Wise moved into 10th place on the Arizona career three-point field goals made list at 155. Over the course of his 110-game career, the senior from Houston, Texas, has connected on 155-of-385 (.403) of his three-point attempts - good for an average of 1.4 made per game. At his current pace, Wise should finish his career ranked among the top-10 career three-point shooters in terms of treys made, attempted and percentage.

ON THE RISE: Freshman forward Derrick Williams continues to move his field goal percentage to impressive levels, as he currently ranks fourth in the league with a .587 (132-of-225) accuracy rate. Over the last four games, the 6-foot-8 native of La Mirada, Calif., has connected on 24-of-36 (.667) attempts from the field. Interestingly, Williams is one of two Pac-10 players ranked in the top 10 in scoring to have made more free throws (134) than field goals (132). Nic Wise (121 FT/112 FG) is the other.

CLOSE CALLS: Arizona's four-point loss Sunday marked the team's ninth game of the season decided by five points or less, and the Wildcats are 4-5 in those contests. It's certainly a good news/bad news kind of thing for a young club finding its way. While it's great that the Cats are playing most of their games close, such decisions can affect confidence. In Pac-10 play, Arizona is 1-3 in games decided by five points or less.

HE'S DUE TO BREAK THROUGH: Since his 30-point outing vs. California on Jan. 31, Nic Wise has found the rims to be a bit tighter, as he has connected on just 17-of-57 field goal attempts (.298) and averaged 11.0 ppg in the five games since. The 5-foot-10 native of Houston, Texas, has a respectable 37.0 percentage (10-of-27) from three-point range in that span, but is just 7-of-30 (.233) from inside the arc. On the season, Wise is shooting .385 from the field and .378 from three-point range.

HARD TO COMPLETE: Arizona enters the weekend with a chance to post sweeps of two Pac-10 opponents after defeating both California and Stanford at home earlier this season. Completing sweeps has proven difficult for the Cats in the second half of the conference slate, as the team is just 1-2 in its three opportunities so far, posting a win over Oregon (70-57) and dropping games to Washington (81-75) and Arizona State (73-69).

ON TARGET: After opening Sunday's game by shooting 38.1 percent (8-of-21), the Cats rebounded to sink 11-of-19 shots in the second half (.579). Derrick Williams (4-of-5) and Nic Wise (3-of-6) combined to make 7-of-11 (.636) shots in the final period.

GOOD FROM THE LINE: The Wildcats enter play this weekend toting a league-leading 74.2 free throw percentage (462-of-623), a figure that currently ranks as the sixth highest in school history. Interestingly, four of the five single-season marks ahead of it were set in the last seven years. Since the start of the 2003-04 season, Arizona has connected on an impressive 75.0 percent of its free throws (3599-of-4799) in that 226-game span.

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 affair, Arizona returns to the action on Saturday, Feb. 27, at Stanford. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. PST and can be seen on KWBA-TV, FS Arizona and Comcast Sports Net Bay Area.

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