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Cats Back in Action Saturday at Oregon State
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/11/2013
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Jan. 11, 2013

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Date: Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013
Time: 5 p.m. PST
Location: Gill Coliseum (10,400), Corvallis, Ore.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: ESPNU (Dave Flemming/Sean Farnham)

GAME DATA: Fourth-ranked Arizona (14-1, 2-1 Pac-12) looks to get back on the winning side of the ledger Saturday at Oregon State (10-5, 0-2 Pac-12) in Gill Coliseum ... It’s an interesting test for the Wildcats, as the team attempts to rebound from its first loss of the season ... UA is 3-2 in its last five trips to Corvallis, but hasn’t won in Gill Coliseum since 2009 ... Arizona averages 75.8 ppg on the season, but just 71.0 ppg in its last five outings.

THE RANKINGS: UA is ranked fourth in the Associated Press poll and third in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ poll. The Cats’ No. 3 ranking is the highest for the program under Sean Miller, and Arizona now has been ranked in the nation’s top five for four consecutive weeks.

ARIZONA HEAD COACH Sean Miller . . . is in his fourth season at the University of Arizona and his ninth overall as a college head coach with a record of 203-83 (.710) and 83-36 (.697) at Arizona ... In his eight-plus year career, Miller’s teams have won 20 games six times and captured five regular-season or postseason tournament titles ... 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, earning Pac-10 Conference and NABC District 20 Coach-of-the-Year honors ... 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 16 trips to the postseason in his 19 seasons as a head, assistant or associate head coach (9 NCAA/7 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, all 23 players to complete eligibility under Miller have earned their degrees ... Miller has recruited classes ranked in the top-10 nationally in each of the last two seasons ... He is assisted by James Whitford, Emanuel Richardson and Joe Pasternack ... Miller is 4-3 vs. Oregon State as a head coach.

LAST TIME OUT: Arizona scored the game’s first 11 points and not else went well from there as Oregon handed the Cats its first loss of the season, 70-66, Thursday in Eugene. The Ducks built as much as a 14-point lead before the Cats trimmed the deficit to as little as three points with 52 seconds to go, but UA could get no closer. Oregon shot 57 percent from the field in the first half converted 14 Arizona turnovers into 21 points of its own. Mark Lyons led all scorers with 21 points, but the Oregon bench topped Arizona, 17-6.

SCOUTING OREGON STATE: The Beavers enter today’s game with a 10-5 record (0-2 Pac-12) following Thursday’s 72-62 loss to Arizona State. On the season, Oregon State averages 76.1 points per game, shoots 46.2 percent from the floor (409-of-885), 37.9 percent (88-of-232) from three-point range and 65.5 percent (235-of-359) from the line. Opponents average 68.7 points, are outrebounded by 2.9 per game and shoot 41.5 percent from the floor (388-of-935). Individually, six Oregon State players average in double figures, led by Roberto Nelson’s 15.5 ppg figure. Eric Moreland leads the Beavers in rebounding at 11.1 rebounds per game.

THE SERIES: Today’s game is the 76th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 55-20 series advantage. UA has won 22 of the last 27 meetings in the series, which dates back to Jan. 28, 1975, including the last, a 72-61 win on March 9, 2012 in Los Angeles in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals. All-time, Arizona is 30-6 in series games played in Tucson, 20-14 in Corvallis, and 5-0 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 48 in the UA media guide.

LAST MEETING: Arizona 72, Oregon State 61, March 9, 2012: Trailing 34-27 at halftime, Arizona opened the second half on a 20-3 run over 8:04 to take control of the game. All five Wildcats contributed in the run, as the quintet hit 7-of-10 shots from the floor, while limiting OSU to 1-of-15 shooting during the run. UA shot 61 percent from the field after the break, held the Beavers to 27 percent shooting, and outrebounded OSU 21-16 in the second period. Jesse Perry posted his second consecutive double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Kyle Fogg added a game-high 22 points and eight boards. Nick Johnson chipped in with nine points and five assists.

CHANGE IT UP: Kevin Parrom earned a start Thursday, marking the third different starting lineup the Wildcats have used this season. For Parrom, it was his 14th career start and his first since Dec. 7, 2011, at Florida.

OFF THE RAILS: In the first 3:06 of Thursday’s loss, Arizona made four of its first six shots and jumped out to an 11-0 lead. In fact, Arizona was good in the first five minutes of the second half as well, connecting on 6-of-7 attempts from the floor. Over the first five minutes of each half, Arizona was a combined 11-of-15 (.733) from the field. However, over the last 15 minutes of each half, the Cats were just 14-of-42 (.333) from the field.

A BIT TOO LATE: Oregon connected on 56.7 percent (17-of-30) of its field goal attempts in the first half Thursday, which was the highest opponent percentage in the opening period this season. The Cats did rebound and limit Oregon to 36.4 percent shooting (8-of-22) in the second half, but the double-figure lead amassed early by the Ducks proved to be too much to overcome. Oregon’s 41 points in the first half were an opponent high in the first half this season.

ON THE GLASS: The Wildcats did manage to outrebound Oregon, 32-28, which marked the 12th time this season that the Wildcats pulled down more rebounds than the opposition. Included in that number was a 9-6 UA advantage in offensive rebounds. Ten times this season, Arizona has enjoyed a positive margin on the offensive boards. Overall, Arizona posts a +9.9 rebound margin through 15 games and a +8.7 advantage in Pac-12 play.

A RARITY: Arizona’s 11-0 burst to open Thursday’s game eventually enabled the Wildcats to hold a 22-20 lead at the 10-minute mark of the first half. It marked the first time in 11 occurrences this season that UA lost a game in which it led 10 minutes in. Further, UA is 53-6 (.898) when leading at the 10-minute mark of the first half.

A NEED FOR IMPROVEMENT: The Wildcats need to get better at defending the perimeter, as the team has surrendered 24 treys in Pac-12 play and a .500 (24-of-48) percentage. That’s an alarmingly high number for a program that ranked first nationally (.285) in 2011-12 and fifth in 2010-11. This season, Arizona is surrendering .376 shooting (105-of-279) from three-point range, while allowing a .289 percentage (345-of-1,194) in the two previous seasons combined. Opponents have made seven or more treys in a game six times this season.

TIGHTENING UP: As was the case in the previous three games, Arizona found itself trailing and needed to fight its way back. UA trailed by 14 points with 19:40 to go in the second half and trailed by 12 with 3:10 remaining. From that point, Arizona outscored Oregon, 11-3, and actually had the ball with 18 seconds to go with a chance to tie. The Wildcats are now 3-1 this season in games decided by five points or less.

20-POINT GAMES: Arizona’s Mark Lyons posted a game-high 21 points Thursday to notch his third 20-point game of the season. En route to his 21 points, Lyons equaled season highs with seven field goals and three treys. He also set a UA season high with 16 points in the second half. Additionally, it was the sixth 20-point game this year by a Wildcat (Lyons 3, Ashley 1, Hill 1, Johnson 1). Additionally, both Solomon Hill (16) and Nick Johnson (12) finished in double figures at Oregon. For Hill, it was the 60th career game with 10 or more points, while Johnson collected his 25th.

AN ALL-AROUND EFFORT: Sophomore Nick Johnson managed to positively affect the game in a number of different ways Thursday, as he tallied 12 points, six rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and three steals. The 6-foot-3 guard from Gilbert, Ariz., connected on 5-of-9 field goals, pulled down a season-high six rebounds and blocked a season-best two shots. On the season, Johnson averages 12.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, while he leads the Wildcats with 35 steals and ranks second on the team with 42 assists. Johnson has collected three or more steals in a game eight times this season.

WHEN IT COUNTS: Mark Lyons has been very good for the Wildcats, especially when it comes to late-game situations. In the last five minutes of regulation, the 6-foot-1 senior guard from Schenectady, N.Y., connects on 57.1 percent (12-of-21) of his field goal attempts and has made all 17 free throws. Through 15 games, Lyons is averaging a team-leading 14.5 points per game to go with a .891 (57-of-64) percentage from the free throw line.

BOUNCING BACK: In the Sean Miller era, Arizona has been pretty good when it comes to salvaging a sweep in these Pac-12 weekends. Since 2009-10, the Wildcats have a 6-2 record in games immediately following a Thursday loss in conference action. UA as 4-1 in such games in 2009-10, 1-1 in 2010-11, and 1-0 in 2011-12.

LEADING THE WAY: UA’s four-year seniors – Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom – have been on the mark in conference play, as the duo has connected on 58.3 percent (28-of-48) of its field goal attempts. In the three conference games, Hill is shooting a team-best 59.3 percent (16-of-27) from the field, while Parrom checks in at 57.1 percent (12-of-21). Thursday at Oregon, Hill and Parrom shot a combined 9-of-18 from the floor.

ON THE GLASS: Kaleb Tarczewski was one of three Wildcats to grab six rebounds vs. Oregon. It marks the eighth time this season that the 7-foot freshman center has grabbed five or more rebounds in a game. On the year, Tarczewski is averaging a team-best 5.9 rebounds per game average.

IT’S KEEPS YOU RUNNING: Arizona has displayed a knack for timely runs so far this season. Thursday against Colorado, the Wildcats used a 27-8 run to close the second half and through overtime to turn a 10-point deficit into a nine-point win. Here is a look at UA’s notable runs to date:
26-3 run over 8:41 (2nd) at Texas Tech, Dec. 1
27-8 run over 6:53 (2nd+ot) vs. Colorado, Jan. 3
21-4 run over 9:07 (2nd) vs. Long Beach State, Nov. 19
23-6 run over 7:55 (1st) vs. Long Beach State, Nov. 19
22-7 run over 8:56 (2nd) at Clemson, Dec. 8
13-0 run over 4:26 (2nd) vs. UTEP, Nov. 15
14-2 run over 4:10 (2nd) vs. Northern Arizona, Nov. 28
22-10 run over 9:27 (1st) vs. Charleston Southern, Nov. 11
11-0 run over 3:13 (2nd) vs. Oral Roberts, Dec. 18
14-4 run over 5:48 (2nd) vs. Southern Miss, Dec. 4

RECRUITING CLASS: The Arizona coaching staff signed two student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent as part of the November early signing period. Rondae Jefferson (F, 6-7, 215) from Chester, Pa., who preps at Chester H.S.; and Elliott Pitts (G, 6-5, 180) from Dublin, Calif., who preps at De La Salle H.S.; make up a class that is ranked No. 18 nationally by espn.com.

UP NEXT: Following today’s game, Arizona next will be in action on Saturday, Jan. 19, when the squad plays at Arizona State. Tip-off is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. MST and can be seen on FOX Sports Net.

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