Jan. 6, 2012
Date: Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012
Time: 2:30 p.m. PST
Location: Galen Center (10,258), Los Angeles, Calif.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: FOX Sports Net (Steve Physioc/Don MacLean/Steve Kerr)
GAME DATA: Arizona (10-5, 1-1 Pac-12) caps its weekend in Southern California Sunday at USC (5-11, 0-3 Pac-12) in the Galen Center ... The Cats and Trojans meet in a Sunday afternoon both looking to salvage a sweep on the weekend ... In the Sean Miller era, Arizona has a 12-4 record in the back end of conference weekend games, including a 5-3 record on the road ... In six road or neutral-site games this season, Arizona is averaging 68.5 points per game, while shooting a cumulative .430 from the field (148-of-344) ... Over the last five-plus seasons, Arizona is 2-9 on the Southern California road swing.
THE RANKINGS: UA remains unranked in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ polls this week.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Sean Miller . . . is in his third season at the University of Arizona and his eighth overall as a college head coach with a record of 176-75 (.701) and 56-28 (.667) at Arizona ... He guided UA to 30 wins and the 2011 Pac-10 regular season championship in a run that culminated in the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight ... He was named Pac-10 Conference and NABC District 20 Coach of the Year ... 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 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 15 trips to the postseason in his 18 seasons as a head, assistant or associate head coach (9 NCAA/6 NIT) and has an 9-5 (.643) 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, 17 of 18 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 ... He is assisted by James Whitford, Emanuel Richardson and Joe Pasternack ... Miller is 3-2 vs. USC as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: Arizona had no answer for the Wear Twins, who combined for 34 points and 10 rebounds in UCLA’s 65-58 win Thursday. The Bruins scored 40 of its 65 points in the paint and forced 16 Wildcat turnovers. UA cut the deficit to three points with 3:27 to go, but got no closer. Arizona outrebounded UCLA, 39-37, but connected on just 36.2 percent of its field goal attempts. Solomon Hill posted his fourth double-double of the season.
SCOUTING USC: The Trojans enter today’s game with a 5-11 record (0-3 Pac-12) following Thursday’s 62-53 loss to Arizona State. On the year, USC averages 54.4 points, shoots 40.6 percent from the floor (326-of-802), 31.6 percent (65-of-206) from three-point range and 59.9 percent (154-of-257) from the line. Opponents average 55.9 points, outrebound USC by 2.4 boards per game and shoot 40.9 percent from the floor (305-of-745). Individually, two USC players average in double-figures, led by Maurice Jones’ 14.3 ppg average. Aaron Fuller leads the Trojans with a 6.4 rebounds per game average.
THE SERIES: Today’s game is the 99th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 58-40 series advantage. UA has won 19 of the last 29 meetings in the series, which dates back to 1922, including the last, 67-62, in Los Angeles on March 11, 2011, in the Pac-10 Tournament semifinals. All-time, Arizona is 30-10 in series games played in Tucson, 24-30 in Los Angeles, and 4-0 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 49 in the UA media guide.
LAST MEETING: Arizona 67, USC 62, March 11, 2011: Arizona’s depth made the difference, as the Wildcat bench outscored USC, 23-4, en route to a 67-62 win over the Trojans in the semifinal of the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament. Jamelle Horne and Jordin Mayes led the UA reserves, combining for 16 points, and the duo scored all 10 points in a key 10-2 burst midway through the first half that pushed the lead to double figures. Derrick Williams led Arizona with 20 points, including UA’s final six, but it was a key trey by Horne with 2:29 to go that kept the Trojans at bay.
AFTERNOON STARTS: Today’s game is Arizona’s 16th of the season, and its seventh in 2011-12 as an afternoon affair (tip-off earlier than 6 p.m. local time). The Cats seem to enjoy the early starts, as the team is 5-1 in those games this season and boasts a +14.3 scoring margin in those contests.
LINEUP CHANGE: Sean Miller broke out a new starting five in Thursday’s game in Anaheim, electing to start Jesse Perry, Solomon Hill, Josiah Turner, Nick Johnson and Kyle Fogg. It was the first time those five had started as a unit and the fifth different lineup for the Wildcats this season.
ONE HUNDRED AND COUNTING: Senior guard Kyle Fogg made his 100th career start Thursday in 119 career appearances. With his next start, the native of Brea, Calif., will join some elite Wildcat company, as he will tie former Cats Steve Kerr (1983-88) and Reggie Geary (1992-96) for ninth place on the UA career starts list at 101. Fogg has started 84 percent of his 119 career games played.
A RARITY: Bolstered by Solomon Hill (11), Jesse Perry (6) and Josiah Turner (6), who combined for 23 rebounds, Arizona managed to outrebound UCLA, 39-37. On the year, Arizona has outrebounded 11 of 15 opponents, but that usually leads to a UA victory, as UA is 9-2 this season when pulling down more rebounds. In fact, Arizona is 40-10 in the Sean Miller era when outrebounding the opposition.
THAT’S OFFENSIVE: Five of Jesse Perry’s six rebounds Thursday were of the offensive and helped the Wildcats grab 14 offensive rebounds, UA’s third-highest, single-game total of the season. Through 15 games, Arizona has managed more offensive rebounds than its opponent seven times in 2011-12. UA averages 10.3 offensive rebounds per game.
HALFTIME ADJUSTMENTS: In the first 20 minutes of Thursday’s game with UCLA, the Bruins connected on 57.1 percent (16-of-28) of its field goal attempts, the highest opening period accuracy by an opponent this season. Whatever the coaching staff tweaked at halftime seemed to work, as UCLA connected on just 29.6 percent (8-of-27) of its attempts in the second half, which was a UA opponent low for the second half this season.
OFF THE MARK: UA and UCLA didn’t exactly find the range from behind the arc in Thursday’s John R. Wooden Classic, as the Cats and Bruins combined to hit just 4-of-26 (.154) from three-point range. Not only was Arizona’s three made treys and UCLA’s one make a season low for both the Cats and the opposition, but the teams combined to miss all 11 three-point attempts in the second half. Entering the game, Arizona was averaging 7.9 made treys per game, a figure that led the Pac-12.
SUB 60: Arizona’s .362 field goal percentage (21-of-58) Thursday was one of the reasons the club managed just 58 points, marking the third time this year that the Cats have been held to less than 60 points. To date, Arizona is 9-2 when scoring 60 or more points and 1-3 when failing to reach the 60-point plateau. Since the start of the 2009-10 season, UA is 55-20 (.733) when scoring 60 or more points and 1-8 (.111) when not. By comparison, USC has held nine of 16 opponents this season to less than 60 points and are surrendering an average of 55.9 points per game.
MORE ACCURACY IS NEEDED: While Solomon Hill and Jesse Perry combined for 29 points Thursday, the frontcourt duo needed 28 shots to do it. Interestingly, Hill’s 15 and Perry’s 13 field goal attempts, respectively, were new career highs for both players. Certainly, a more accurate goal is sought, as Hill and Perry have combined to hit 50.2 percent (130-of-259) of their field goal attempts through 15 games.
THE POSITIVE SIDE OF THE LEDGER: Arizona passed out 10 assists against 16 turnovers. It marked the first time in five games that the Wildcats had failed to post a positive assist:turnover ratio. In those previous five games, UA posted 83 assists against 60 turnovers (1.38:1 assist:turnover ratio), while the opposition tallied 56 assists against 66 turnovers.
KNOCK ‘EM DOWN: Brendon Lavender entered the week ranked second in the Pac-12 Conference with a .556 three-point field goal percentage. The 6-foot-5 senior connected on 2-of-3 attempts from behind the arc Thursday to boost that figure to .567 (17-of-30). Over his last six games played, Lavender has made 11-of-17 (.647) three-point attempts and is averaging 5.4 points per game. He ranks fourth on the club with 17 treys despite playing an average of 9.8 minutes per game through 15 contests.
DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Forward Solomon Hill collected his fourth double-double of the season (fourth career) Thursday with 16 points and 11 rebounds at UCLA. The 6-foot-6 junior from Los Angeles, Calif., also passed out an assist vs. the Bruins. On the season, Hill leads Arizona with per game averages of 12.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. It was Arizona’s 10th double-double of the year.
TEN TIMES 10: Senior forward Jesse Perry finished with 13 points Thursday to register his 10th double-figure scoring game of the season and the 19th of his career. Obviously, his 2011-12 total in 15 games has surpassed his total (9) in all of last season, and Perry’s current total ranks second among Pac-12 players. He’s averaging 11.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
STEPPING IN: Guard Josiah Turner earned his second start of the season (first since the season opener) and responded with nine points, a season-high six rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes of action. In the effort, the 6-foot-3 freshman hit 5-of-6 free throws and has boosted his season-long free throw percentage to .700 (35-of-50). Turner currently averages 7.2 points and 2.0 assists per game.
IMPROVEMENT: Angelo Chol continues to show signs of progress, as he tallied four points and five rebounds (three offensive) Thursday at UCLA, marking the fourth time this season that Chol has grabbed five or more rebounds in a contest. The 6-foot-9 freshman made 2-of-3 field goals and is now shooting .567 (17-of-30) from the field. He’s averaging 2.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.
A TALL ORDER: A win Sunday would give Arizona a split on the weekend road trip, but road wins have proven to be few and far between so far. Through games Thursday, Pac-12 home teams have a 14-2 (.875) cumulative season.
SCORING 80: Arizona scored a season-high 100 points on Dec. 22 vs. Bryant, topping the 80-point plateau for the third fourth this year (4-0). Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 204-19 (.915) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points.
RECRUITING CLASS: The Arizona coaching staff signed four student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent as part of the November early signing period. Brandon Ashley (F, 6-8, 215) from Oakland, Calif., who preps at Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev.; Grant Jerrett (F, 6-10, 220) from LaVerne, Calif., who preps at LaVerne Lutheran H.S.; Kaleb Tarczewski (C, 7-0, 220) from Southborough, Mass., who preps at St. Mark’s School; and Gabe York (G, 6-1, 170) from Orange, Calif., who preps at Orange Lutheran H.S.; make up a class that was ranked No. 1 nationally by espn.com and rivals.com.
UP NEXT: Arizona next will be in action on Thursday, Jan. 12, when UA hosts Oregon State. Tip-off in McKale Center is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. MST and can be seen on KWBA-TV and FOX Sports Arizona.