Feb. 17, 2012
Date: Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012
Time: Noon PST
Location: Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion (10,000), Seattle, Wash.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: FOX Sports Net (Kevin Calabro/Marques Johnson)
GAME DATA: Arizona (19-8, 10-4 Pac-12) looks for another weekend road sweep Saturday at Washington (18-8, 11-3 Pac-12) at noon PST on FOX Sports Net ... The Wildcats head into Saturday’s game riding a season-best five-game win streak ... Arizona is just 1-4 in its last five trips to Hec Edmundson Pavilion ... Over the last two-plus seasons, Arizona has a conference-best 14-11 (.560) record in Pac-12 road games ... With its 10th league win on Thursday, Arizona has now won 10 or more conference games in 25 of the last 27 seasons.
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 185-78 (.703) and 65-31 (.677) 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 2-4 vs. Washington as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: It was the Wildcat offense that got a chance to rise to the occasion, as the squad shot 60 percent from the floor in the second half and hit its free throws down the stretch in a 76-72 win at Washington State on Thursday. Kyle Fogg collected his first career double-double (16 pts./10 reb.), leading a slew of six Cats with eight or more points. In a game that featured 11 ties and 11 lead changes, it was free throws that settled it, as UA was 7-of-7 in the last five minutes, while WSU hit just 3-of-7. It was Arizona’s fifth road win of the season in Pac-12 play.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON: The Huskies enter today’s game with an 18-8 record (11-3 Pac-12) following Thursday’s 77-69 win over Arizona State. On the year, Washington averages 75.4 points, shoots 45.0 percent from the floor (721-of-1,602), 34.4 percent (156-of-453) from three-point range and 61.7 percent (362-of-587) from the line. Opponents average 70.3 points, are outrebounded by 5.3 boards per game and shoot 42.1 percent from the floor (644-of-1,531). Individually, three UW players averages in double figures, led by Tony Wroten’s 16.3 ppg average. Aziz N’Diaye leads the Huskies with a 7.5 rebounds per game average.
THE SERIES: Today’s game marks the 72nd meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 44-27 series advantage. UW has won nine of the last 17 meetings, including the last, 69-67 in Tucson on Jan. 28. All-time, Arizona is 26-7 in series games played in Tucson, 17-17 in Seattle, Wash., and 1-3 in neutral site games. For more series information, please see page 50 in the UA media guide.
LAST MEETING: Washington 69, Arizona 67, Jan. 28, 2012: Washington’s offensive balance and key plays down the stretch offset a monster effort by Solomon Hill, as the Huskies held on for a two-point win. UW’s Terrence Ross hit a jumper with 52 seconds to go and Tony Wroten blocked a potential game-tying lay-up with one second remaining to surpass Hill, who scored 19 of his career-high 28 points in the second half, including eight of UA’s last 12 points in the game’s final 2:43.
20 MINUTES IN: UA has led at the half in each of its last six Pac-12 road games and has gone on to win five of them. In amassing a Pac-12-best 5-2 conference road record to date, Arizona enjoys a +9.6 scoring margin in those last six road contests.
SEEKING BALANCE: Arizona placed four players in double figures Thursday in the scoring column, marking the seventh time the Cats have accomplished the feat this season, and the second straight game in which it’s happened. UA is 7-0 this season when having four or more players finish with 10 or more points, and five of those games have come during Pac-12 play. Through 27 games, Arizona’s top three scorers (Fogg/Hill/Perry) are separated by a total of 25 points.
ON THE RISE: Arizona managed 76 points in Thursday’s win at Washington, marking the third straight game in which the Wildcats had scored at least 70 points – a season best. This season, Arizona is 13-1 when scoring at least 70 points. In that same three-game span, UA opponents are averaging just 63.3 points per game and 60.4 points in Pac-12 play.
CLEANING THE GLASS: The Wildcats outrebounded Washington State Thursday by a 29-28 margin meaning that Arizona has outrebounded 20 of 27 opponents overall and 11 of 14 conference opponents to date. UA is 16-4 this year (8-3 Pac-12) when outrebounding the opposition. Interestingly, Arizona’s backcourt collected 17 of the team’s 29 caroms against the Cougars bolstered by Kyle Fogg’s career-high 10. The Wildcats carry a +2.6 rebound margin in Pac-12 play.
GIVE THE OFFENSE CREDIT FOR THIS ONE: Arizona didn’t put forth its best defensive effort of the season Thursday at WSU, as the Cougars shot 50 percent from the field, but as Sean Miller said in his postgame press conference, credit for this win goes to the UA offense, who scored 76 points – the most allowed at home by WSU this season – placed four players in double figures and had two others score eight, and knocked down all seven free throws in the game’s final 5:24, and shot 60 percent from the field (12-of-20) in the second half.
GOOD ENOUGH: As mentioned above, Arizona’s defense allowed Washington State to shoot 50 percent from the field, just the third team to do that against the Wildcat “D” this season. But Arizona’s defense was just good enough to accomplish one thing: hold the opponent to a worse field goal percentage. UA shot 52 percent (26-of-50) Thursday to WSU’s 50 percent (25-of-50). This becomes important for two reasons: Arizona is 7-0 this season when shooting 50 percent or better from the field and is 16-1 when outshooting the opposition. Impressively, Arizona started Thursday’s game hitting just one of its first seven shots through the first four minutes, meaning the Cats connected on 58 percent (25-of-43) of its shots over the last 36 minutes.
JOIN IN: It took 131 games to do so, but senior guard Kyle Fogg collected his first career double-double Thursday with 16 points and a career-high 10 rebounds in Pullman. The 6-foot-3 native of Brea, Calif., was good early, as he totaled 10 points and seven rebounds in the first half alone. Led by Solomon Hill (9) and Jesse Perry (9), who are tied for second in the conference in double-doubles, Arizona now has 19 double-doubles this season, a figure that leads all Pac-12 schools.
HELP FROM THE BENCH: Even though Arizona’s bench has been thinned of late, the guys who remain have been productive, as UA got 25 points from its non-starters in Thursday’s win. Overall the productivity was the team’s seventh-best effort of the season, and not bad for a team that averages 18.3 points per game from its reserves. Senior Brendon Lavender was key Thursday, connecting on 5-of-8 field goals en route to 17 points.
TOEING THE LINE: Whereas Arizona’s 15-of-21 effort (.714) from the line Thursday might not raise many eyebrows, the Cats may have proved that when you make them might be just as important as if you do. UA shot a pedestrian 69.2 percent (9-of-13) from the free throw line in the second half, connecting on just two of its first six attempts in the period. However, UA did knock down all seven attempts in the game’s final five minutes to seal the win. On the flip side, Washington State managed to sink just three of its last seven attempts from the stripe, which proved to be the contest’s winning margin.
MOVING UP: Kyle Fogg continues to move himself up a number of meaningful career statistical lists at the U of A. Thursday’s appearance in Pullman was the 131st of his career, moving him into a tie for fifth place on the school’s career games played list. Additionally, the 39 minutes played against the Cougs moved him to within 13 minutes of joining the career top-10 list for minutes played. With a minimum of five games remaining in his college career, Fogg currently resides among the Arizona top-10 career rankings for three-point field goals made (178/8th), three-point field goal attempts (441/9th), three-point field goal percentage (.404/7th), games played (131/T5th) and games started (111/7th). His 1,217 career points and 178 career treys make him the active leader in those categories among Pac-12 players.
A STEADYING INFLUENCE: Junior forward Solomon Hill continues to be one of the most consistently productive Wildcats, as witnessed by his 11-point, five-rebound, five-assist performance Thursday. The 6-foot-6 native of Los Angeles, Calif., connected on 5-of-7 shots from the field and added a block and a steal in a season-high 39 minutes. For Hill, it marked his 20th game in double figures this season, nearly equaling his total (22) from his first two seasons as a Wildcat. Currently, he leads the team in field goal percentage (.507/115-of-227), rebounding (8.1 rpg) and assists (2.8 apg), and his 12.4 ppg scoring average is easily the best of his career.
MAKE THE MOST OF IT: Senior Brendon Lavender has averaged 14.5 points in his last two games, notching the first back-to-back double-figure scoring games of his career. What’s even more impressive is that he’s tallied nearly all of those points in the second halves of those wins over Utah and Washington State. In those two second halves, the 6-foot-5 Lavender has knocked down 7-of-8 shots from the floor (.875) – all from three-point range – and scored 23 of those 29 points in the final 20 minutes. The effort has boosted his scoring average to 5.1 points per game to go with a .506 (45-of-89) field goal percentage.
IN THE MIDDLE: Freshman Angelo Chol continues to impact the Cats in a positive fashion. The 6-foot-9, 217-pound forward from San Diego, Calif., equaled a season high with eight points Thursday to go with four rebounds (three offensive) in 18 minutes. Chol was active enough to get to the line seven times against the Cougars, and is now averaging 2.7 points and 2.4 rebounds per game to go with a team leading 22 blocked shots.
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 returns to McKale Center for its final home games of the regular season, beginning Thursday, Feb. 23, against USC. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. MST and can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona.