Feb. 15, 2013
Date: Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013
Time: 1 p.m. MST
Location: Huntsman Center (15,000), Salt Lake City, Utah
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Paul Sunderland/Brevin Knight)
GAME DATA: No. 9 Arizona (20-4, 8-4 Pac-12) looks to get back on the winning side of the ledger and salvage a weekend split Sunday at Utah (11-13, 3-9 Pac-12) in the Huntsman Center ... Arizona is 4-2 on the road in Pac-12 play this year and since the start of the 2009-10 season, the Wildcats are a Pac-12 best 18-15 (.545) away from home in conference play ... UA is 3-0 in 2012-13 on Saturday or Sunday in Pac-12 play ... Arizona has won three straight games in Salt Lake City, its longest such streak in this series ... In its last three road games, UA is averaging 64.7 points per game.
THE RANKINGS: UA is ranked ninth in both the Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. The Wildcats have been ranked in the top 10 in both polls for 13 straight weeks. Only five other squads in UA history have had longer streaks.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Joe Pasternack ... Miller is 3-0 vs. Utah as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: Arizona made just one field goal over a 10-minute span and Colorado took advantage by building as much as a 15-point lead in cruising to a 71-58 victory Thursday in Boulder. Led by Spencer Dinwiddie and Xavier Johnson, who combined for 40 points, Colorado shot nearly 60 percent from the field in the second half to keep the Cats at bay. Arizona trimmed the deficit to six points with 10 minutes to go, but Dinwiddie scored five points in quick 8-0 burst that pushed the lead back to 14. Solomon Hill led Arizona with 12 points.
SCOUTING UTAH: The Utes enter today's game with an 11-13 record (3-9 Pac-12) following Wednesday's 60-55 win over Arizona State. On the season, Utah averages 64.8 points per game, shoots 45.0 percent from the floor (554-of-1,231), 35.6 percent (139-of-390) from three-point range and 74.5 percent (307-of-412) from the line. Opponents average 62.0 points, are outrebounded by 1.4 per game and shoot 38.6 percent from the floor (527-of-1,367). Individually, three Utah players average in double figures, led by Jordan Loveridge's 12.0 ppg figure. He also leads the Utes in rebounding at 6.8 rebounds per game.
THE SERIES: Today's game is the 53rd meeting of the two schools with Utah holding a 28-24 series advantage. Arizona captured the last six meetings in the series, which dates back to Dec. 21, 1953, including a 60-57 win in Tucson on Jan. 5. Since leaving the WAC, UA is 9-3 against Utah. All-time, Arizona is 15-8 in series games played in Tucson, 7-19 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and 2-1 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 49 in the UA media guide.
LAST MEETING: Arizona 60, Utah 57, Jan. 5, 2013: In a game that Arizona led throughout, the Cats had to withstand a Utah rally in the three-point win. The Cats connected on just 36.2 percent of its field goal attempts and saw a 10-point lead dwindle to three on the final possession before a Utah game-tying shot was off the mark with four seconds to go. Arizona outrebounded Utah by 11 and held an 11-2 advantage in points off turnovers. Solomon Hill and Mark Lyons combined for 20 points in the second half.
HIGH COMPLIMENT: About the highest praise that any Wildcat can earn is to be mentioned in the same category as Sean Elliott. Well, that's the company Solomon Hill placed himself Thursday by connecting on his 100th career three-point field goal, as he joined the Wildcat All-American and 1989 John R. Wooden Award winner as the only players in program history to record more than 1,200 points, 600 rebounds, 250 assists, 100 treys, and 100 steals. Elliott registered 2,555 points, 808 rebounds, 451 assists, 140 treys and 103 steals in his 133-game career, while Hill has notched 1,295 points, 716 rebounds, 269 assists, 100 treys and 115 steals in 128 career appearances.
MOVING UP: Ivan Radenovic, who dropped in 1,300 points from 2003-07. Hill recorded his team-leading 20th game in double figures Thursday with 12 points, which was the 69th such effort in his career.
GOTTA CHANGE THE MOJO: The Wildcats suffered its worst loss of the season Thursday, falling by 13 points at Colorado. The loss was Arizona's second consecutive, obviously giving the Cats its first losing streak of the season. UA hasn't dropped three straight games since Feb. 13-25, 2010, in Sean Miller's first season in Tucson.
A FIRST: UA dropped the rebounding battle to Colorado, 31-30, marking just the seventh time this season that the Wildcats had been outrebounded. However, Arizona has been outrebounded in each of its last two games by a combined 62-58, which was the first time in 2012-13 that UA has been outboarded in back-to-back contests. To date, Arizona carries a +6.7 rebound margin (+3.3 in Pac-12 play) and has outrebounded 17 of 24 opponents to date. While Thursday's -1 rebound margin is certainly slim, Arizona did outrebound Colorado by 11 (44-33) in the season's first meeting on Jan. 3.
RELYING ON IT: With four players averaging better than 1.0 made treys per game, it's no surprise that the Wildcats launch their fair share of three-point field goals. Through 24 games, 37.4 percent of UA's field goal attempts (504-of-1,346) come from behind the arc. But over the last four games, that percentage has ticked higher, as just under 40 percent (87-of-219/.397) of the total attempts are three-point shots. It's good news that the team's three-point FG percentage over the last four games has remained constant (31-of-87/.356), just slightly below the team's percentage for the season (.359).
A DIFFERENCE AT THE LINE: Colorado got there more often (18-13) and outscored Arizona from the line (12-9) in Thursday's game, which was a bit unusual for the Cats. UA has attempted more free throws than the opposition 18 times in 24 games to date. Overall, Arizona averages 21.5 free throw attempts per game, limits opponents to 16.5 attempts and outscores foes by 4.4 points per game from the stripe. In conference play, however, those number slip to 19.9 UA attempts per game, 19.0 for the opposition and a +1.3 UA scoring margin from the stripe.
SECOND-HALF STRUGGLES: Usually very solid in the final 20 minutes, UA has found itself rather vulnerable in the second period of the last two games, as California and Colorado have combined to outscore Arizona 85-66, a +9.5 scoring margin. In that span, opponents connected on .622 (28-of-45) of its field goal attempts, including .688 (11-of-16) from three-point range, while limiting Arizona to .434 (23-of-53) and .412 (7-of-17) shooting percentages, respectively. Further, the Golden Bears and Buffaloes are the only two clubs to shoot 50 percent or better from the field this season against Arizona. In the last two games, California's Allen Crabbe and Colorado's Spencer Dinwiddie each scored 19 points after the break, equaling the UA opponent high this season for points in a half. This season, Arizona outscores opponents by an average of 5.6 points per game in the second half.
SHARING THE LOAD: UA's starting backcourt of Mark Lyons and Nick Johnson combined for eight assists in Boulder, mirroring the shared responsibilities each has displayed this season. Lyons leads Arizona with 74 assists (3.1 apg), just three ahead of Johnson. The duo has combined for a 1.32:1 assist:turnover ratio (145:110), and each has produced of late, as Lyons has averaged 4.3 apg over his last three outings, while Johnson has averaged the same 4.3 apg figure over his last four. Johnson's assist:turnover ratio in that four-game span is 3.4:1 (17:5).
STEPPING IN: Sophomore forward Angelo Chol finished Thursday's game with eight points, four rebounds and a steal after connecting on 4-of-6 shots from the floor. The 6-foot-9 San Diego, Calif., product has enjoyed the best three-game run of his career here of late, averaging 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds per game to go with a .583 (7-of-12) field goal percentage. In that span, Chol is logging 16.7 minutes per contest and six of his 13 total rebounds have come on the offensive end. On the season, Chol is averaging 2.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game.
CONSISTENT: Freshman Kaleb Tarczewski ranks second on the team with a 5.5 rebounds per game average. Thursday at Colorado, the 7-foot center pulled down six boards, marking the 13th time this season that he's collected five or more rebounds. Seven times this year he's been Arizona's top rebounder, despite averaging the fewest minutes per game of any Wildcat starter. One area of his game that has drastically improved of late has been his free throw shooting, which is .692 (27-of-39) in Pac-12 play, far better than the .462 (12-of-26) figure vs. non-conference foes.
IN CLOSE: Despite being outshot, .500-.423, Thursday, Arizona did manage to hold a 30-24 edge in points in the paint. Through 12 Pac-12 games, the Wildcats average 30.2 points per game in the paint and outscore opponents by an average of 4.33 points per game in that category.
BEFORE THEY MAKE ME RUN: Arizona has displayed a knack for timely runs so far this season. Jan. 26 vs. USC, the Wildcats used an 18-4 run to open the game and put things out of reach quickly. 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
18-4 run over 6:28 (1st) vs. USC, Jan. 26
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 3:38 (2nd) at Arizona State, Jan. 19
11-0 run over 3:13 (2nd) vs. Oral Roberts, Dec. 18
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 this afternoon's game, the Wildcats next will be in action on Wednesday, Feb. 20, when the squad hosts Washington. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. MST and can be seen on ESPN2.