Cats in Palo Alto on Saturday
Feb. 26, 2010
Date: Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010
Time: 4 p.m. PST
Location: Maples Pavilion (7,329), Palo Alto, Calif.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: KWBA/FSAZ (Dave Sitton/Corey Williams)
GAME DATA: Arizona (13-14, 7-8 Pac-10) plays its final road game of the regular season Saturday at Stanford (13-15, 7-9 Pac-10) in Maples Pavilion ... Arizona enters the contest looking to move back to .500 both overall and in conference play ... Thursday's loss at California was just its third in Pac-10 play when scoring 70 or more points ... The Wildcats are just 1-5 in the month of February, its worst month of the season, and are being outscored by an average of 7.8 points per game in the month ... In Pac-10 road games, Arizona is averaging 68.5 points per game, a figure that is 2.8 points per game less than it averages for the season (71.3 ppg) ... Arizona is 5-6 in its last six trips to the Bay Area, including a 2-3 record in Palo Alto ... The last four series meetings at Maples Pavilion have been decided by an average of 7.3 points.
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 133-61 (.686) and 13-14 (.481) 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 Stanford as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: Jerome Randle scored 19 of his game-high 25 points in the second half as California pulled away for the 95-71 win Thursday. He guided a Golden Bear attack that shot 63 percent from the floor and scored 52 points in the period. UA trimmed the deficit to eight points with 18 minutes to go, but Randle scored 11 of Cal's next 16 points in a 16-3 run over the next three minutes to put it out of reach. Derrick Williams posted 17 points and six rebounds, while Brendon Lavender added 14 points.
SCOUTING STANFORD: The Cardinal enters today's game with a 13-15 record (7-9 Pac-10) following Thursday's 68-60 loss to Arizona State. On the season, Stanford averages 69.6 points per game, shoots 43.5 percent from the field (685-of-1,576) and 67.4 percent (391-of-580) from the line. Stanford opponents average 69.8 points per game and outrebound the Cardinal by an average of 0.6 boards per game. Individually, two Stanford players average in double figures, led by Landry Field's 22.1 ppg figure. Fields also leads the team with an 8.7 rebounds per game average.
THE SERIES: Tonight's game marks the 80th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 50-29 series advantage. Arizona has won eight of the last 12 in the series, including the last, a 76-68 triumph in Tucson on Jan. 28. All-time, Arizona is 27-8 in series games played in Tucson, 19-18 in Palo Alto, Calif., and 4-3 in neutral site games. Please see page 109 in the UA media guide for more series information.
LAST MEETING: Arizona 76, Stanford 68, Jan. 28, 2010: Derrick Williams scored 16 of his 23 points in the second half to keep the Cats in front in what turned out to be an eight-point win. Arizona led for the final 23:22, but needed every point down the stretch, as 11 of the team's final 14 points came from the free throw line. UA shot just 32.8 percent for the game (21-of-64), but collected 19 offensive rebounds and forced 18 Stanford turnovers to offset the inaccuracy in what was Arizona's third consecutive victory.
AN EL NINO KIND OF PATTERN: At various times during Thursday's game, it may have seemed like the heavy weather was blowing through Haas Pavilion as it was raining threes on Arizona. California connected on 10-of-21 (.476) from three-point range, but it was the Golden Bear offense at two key stretches that put the game out of reach. In the first half following a Jamelle Horne trey that tied the game at eight, Cal responded with a 21-3 run, including four treys. Arizona trimmed the deficit to eight points early in the second half before the Golden Bears answered with a 16-3 run to all but put a cap on things, a run fueled by three treys.
TURN IT AROUND: Arizona has certainly had its share of struggles during the month of February, as the Cats have a 1-5 record. A quick look at the stats show that the team just hasn't done a good job of stopping the opposition. In that span, UA opponents have outshot the Cats from the field (.461-.441) and the free throw line (.714-.702). Such numbers are important, as Arizona is just 2-12 this season when being outshot from the field. What's more alarming is the fact that opponents are getting to the line more often (140 to 121) and making more free throws (100 to 85) during the month. Through 27 game, Arizona outshoots and outscores its opponents from the free throw line.
ANOTHER AREA OF IMPROVEMENT: Over the course of the season, the 2009-10 Wildcats have been relatively good at limiting the opposition's looks, as the team's FG percentage defense overall (.435) and in Pac-10 play (.433) are very similar. As mentioned above, that number rises to .461 in the last six games. But in February, UA opponents have shot 50 percent or better from the floor three times, a number that is equal to the total for the rest of the season. In the last two outings, Arizona opponents have shot a combined .545 (61-of-112) from the field.
A WARMING TREND: Arizona connected on 45-of-94 (.478) field goal attempts in the last two games, and both individual efforts were the team's best shooting performances since Jan. 23 - a span of eight 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 7-14 when failing to shoot 50 percent from the field.
POINTS PILING UP: Thursday's 95 points allowed to California were the most the team has allowed in conference play and the second-most points this season. Additionally, Cal's 52 second-half points were the most the Wildcats have allowed in any half this season.
BEATEN IN THE MIDDLE: California carries a well-earned reputation for being solid outside shooters, but the Golden Bears were strong inside as well on Thursday by posting a 36-22 points in the paint advantage. Of Arizona's 22 points in the paint, 10 was scored by Derrick Williams.
IN RESERVE: Led by Brendon Lavender (14) and Lamont Jones (10), the UA bench was productive Thursday as it tallied 30 points and won the bench-point battle, 30-17. It was the second-best reserve effort for the Cats in 2009-10, topped only by a 40-point effort on Feb. 4 at Washington. The UA bench combined to hit 12-of-15 (.800) field goal attempts.
A LACK OF CONTROL: The Golden Bears rolled to a 34-23 rebound advantage Thursday, which marked just the fifth time in 15 conference games that the Wildcats have been outrebounded. It was also the second highest deficit for the club vs. Pac-10 foes. Despite the effort, Arizona still holds a +1.8 rebound margin in conference action, a figure that is better than the +0.1 margin it holds in all games. Additionally, UA's 23 boards Thursday were a season low.
NOT SO CLOSE: Arizona's 24-point loss Thursday was Arizona's second-worst of the season and UA's worst in Pac-10 action. Usually, the Wildcats have played games close, as the Cats have been involved in 13 games decided by 10 points or less. Interestingly, big margins have favored Arizona this season - at least before Thursday - as the Cats were 8-6 in games decided by more than 10 points, including a 6-2 record in conference games.
THAT'S MORE LIKE IT: Sophomore Brendon Lavender was certainly locked in Thursday night, as the Mesa, Ariz., native connected on 5-of-6 field goals en route to 14 points in 18 minutes of action. The 6-foot-5 guard also dropped in 4-of-5 treys to notch the third double-figure scoring night of his career. The five field goals made Thursday were the second most of his career and nearly as many FGs as he's made in the previous five games (6). On the season, Lavender averages 3.4 points per game and shoots .362 (21-of-58) from three-point range.
DEVELOPING NICELY: Lamont Jones continues to display a maturing game, as he posted 10 points, five rebounds and four assists Thursday at California. The 6-foot freshman connected on 4-of-6 shots from the floor and had just one turnover in 24 minutes in posting his seventh game with 10 or more points. In Pac-10 play, Jones is averaging 6.4 points and shooting 46.7 percent (35-of-75) from the field to go with a 1.3:1 assist:turnover ratio. All of those numbers are an improvement over his season-long numbers. Due to Thursday's effort, Jones now has a positive assist:turnover ratio for the first time since the second game of the season.
BACK IN THE LINEUP: Due to Kevin Parrom's left foot injury, fellow freshman Solomon Hill moved back into the starting lineup for the first time since Jan. 14. It was his 17th start of the season. The 6-foot-6 forward from Los Angeles, Calif., responded with five points, three rebounds and a season-high four assists. On the season, Hill is averaging 6.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. He has been a part of five different starting combinations used by coach Sean Miller.
GET HIM THE BALL: In working for 17 points Thursday, Derrick Williams connected on 6-of-12 field goal attempts. While that might not seem special, especially for a guy shooting 58.2 percent from the field, but those 12 attempts were the most for the 6-foot-8 freshman in five game. All told, Williams averages 8.8 field goal attempts per game in 27 appearances this season, and in the 11 games in which he has 10 or more field goal attempts, Williams is averaging 19.0 points per game.
SWEPT AWAY: Arizona enters Saturday's game with a chance to post a sweep of a Pac-10 opponent after defeating 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 1-3 in its four opportunities so far, posting a win over Oregon (70-57) and dropping games to Washington (81-75), Arizona State (73-69) and California (95-71). By comparison, Arizona recorded two Pac-10 sweeps last season and three in 2007-08.
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 open the final homestand of the regular season beginning Thursday, March 4, when UA hosts UCLA. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. MST and can be seen nationally on FOX Sports Net.