Feb. 19, 2013
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013
Time: 9 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,538), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach) [Sirius/XM: 91/91]
TV: ESPN2 (Dave Pasch/Bill Walton)
GAME DATA: No. 12 Arizona (21-4, 9-4 Pac-12) heads home Wednesday to host Washington (14-12, 6-7 Pac-12) in McKale Center on ESPN2 ... The Wildcats are averaging 73.5 points per game in six Pac-12 home games, 2.7 points better than UA's scoring average in 13 conference contests ... The last two series meetings in McKale Center have been decided by blocked shots on the final possession, separated by three total points.
THE RANKINGS: UA is ranked 12th in both the Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll, falling out of the top 10 in both polls for the first time in 13 weeks. The Wildcats are one of 11 teams nationally to have been ranked in every AP poll this season.
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 210-86 (.709) and 90-39 (.698) at Arizona ... In his eight-plus year career, Miller's teams have won 20 games seven 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 24 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 3-5 vs. Washington as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: Led by Mark Lyons down the stretch, Arizona held off Utah, 68-64, Sunday in Salt Lake City. In a game in which UA never trailed, Lyons scored 13 of his game-high 18 points in the second half, as the Cats withstood a rally that saw the Utes erase all of a 13-point deficit. The senior converted a key and-one to push UA's lead to five, and tallied four points, a rebound, assist and steal in the last 2:50 to seal things. Solomon Hill added 10 points and eight rebounds, while Kevin Parrom added nine points and nine boards. In 80 minutes of action against Utah this season, Arizona never trailed and was tied for 2:48.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON: The Huskies enter tonight's game with an 14-12 record (6-7 Pac-12) following Saturday's 72-62 win over Oregon State. On the season, Washington averages 68.4 points per game, shoots 43.9 percent from the floor (644-of-1,467), 33.7 percent (135-of-401) from three-point range and 68.4 percent (355-of-519) from the line. Opponents average 66.8 points, are outrebounded by 4.1 per game and shoot 42.9 percent from the floor (639-of-1,489). Individually, four UW players average in double figures, led by C.J. Wilcox's 17.6 ppg figure. Aziz N'Diaye leads the Huskies in rebounding at 9.6 rebounds per game.
THE SERIES: Tonight's game marks the 74th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 45-28 series advantage. UW has won 10 of the last 19 meetings, but UA captured the last, a 57-53 triumph in Seattle on Jan. 31. All-time, Arizona is 26-7 in series games played in Tucson, 18-18 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: Arizona 57, Washington 53, Jan. 31, 2013: A Nick Johnson jumper with 2:01 to go gave Arizona the lead for good in a hard-fought road win. UA managed to win despite shooting 35.1 percent from the field by outrebounding UW 36-35, forcing 17 turnovers and limiting the Huskies to 30.8 percent shooting in the second half. Johnson scored 13 of his game-high 15 points in the second half, including eight in a 15-6 run that gave UA its biggest lead of the game with six minutes to go. Four Cats finished in double figures as UA won in Seattle for the first time since 2007.
TURNOVER: Here is a series note on how quickly things can change in college basketball. Of the 17 players to see action in last season's game in Tucson, only nine of those players return this season. For comparison, UA (Hill/Johnson/Parrom/Mayes/Chol) returns 37 points and 12 rebounds from that contest, while UW (Simmons/N'Diaye/Gaddy/Wilcox) returns 32 points and 17 boards.
LATE NIGHT STARTS: Nine p.m. local starts don't normally happen outside of tournament action, but like tonight's game, it happens often enough to merit a mention. Over the previous five seasons, UA is 3-3 in local starts after 9 p.m., with the last one coming on Nov. 17, 2011, in an 81-72 win over St. John's in New York City, as part of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer.
IN CONTROL: Mark Lyons helped Arizona split a pair of road games last week by averaging 14.5 points, 1.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, while shooting 41.7 percent (10-of-24) from the field and 75.0 percent (6-of-8) from the line to go with three steals. He opened the week with 11 points, four assists and a steal Thursday at Colorado and added a game-high 18 points, five assists and two steals Sunday at Utah. Lyons tallied 13 of his 18 points against the Utes in the second half, sank all five field goals from inside the arc, and in the last 2:50 was responsible for four points, a rebound, assist and steal as UA won by four points. On the year, Lyons averages 15.3 points, 2.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.
A CHANGE WILL DO YOU GOOD: Sean Miller juggled the starting line-up at Utah Sunday, inserting Kevin Parrom in place of Brandon Ashley. It marked the second start of the season and 15th career start for Parrom, who responded with nine points, a game-high nine rebounds and three steals. It was the third different line-up employed by Miller this season.
THAT'S MORE LIKE IT: After being outrebounded in it previous two games, Arizona used a balanced attack on the glass to outwork Utah, 34-32, in Sunday's win. Five different Wildcats grabbed four or more rebounds in the contest, and four had multiple offensive rebounds. To date, Arizona carries a +6.5 rebound margin (+3.2 in Pac-12 play) and has outrebounded 18 of 25 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.
CLOSE CALLS: The Wildcats picked up a four-point win Sunday, improving the team's record to 5-1 this season in games decided by five points or less. Not surprisingly, a majority of those games have come in conference play, where the Cats are 4-1 in tight games.
STOLEN MOMENTS: Led by Nick Johnson (4) and Brandon Ashley (3), Arizona amassed 10 steals at Utah. It was the fifth time this season that the Wildcats collected at least 10 pilfers in a game, and was UA's first double-figure seal effort since getting 12 against Oral Roberts on Dec. 18. On the season, Arizona ranks third in the Pac-12 with a 7.2 steals per game average, while Johnson's team-leading 54 steals rank second among all conference players.
LIMITING THE LOOKS: UA held Utah to a .396 (21-of-53) field goal percentage in Sunday's game, including a .370 (10-of-27) effort in the first half. It was the 14th time this season that Arizona has limited an opponent to less than 40-percent shooting in 2012-13, including six times in Pac-12 play. On the year, UA opponents are shooting a cumulative .408 (560-of-1,372) from the floor. Field goal percentage looms large as Arizona is 15-0 when shooting better than the opposition through 25 games.
BALL SECURITY: Over the last five games, Arizona has averaged 11.0 turnovers per game, a figure that is 1.2 miscues per game lower than its average in Pac-12 games. In league play, the Wildcats enjoy a +1.1 turnover margin and have forced a positive margin six times since the conference schedule started in January. UA is 14-1 this season when committing fewer turnovers than the opposition.
BALL MOVEMENT: Sophomore guard Nick Johnson has been quite the facilitator of late, averaging 4.2 assists per game over his last five outings. The 6-foot-3 guard from Gilbert, Ariz., passed out four helpers against no turnovers in 35 minutes at Utah on Sunday. In this most recent five-game span, Johnson has a 4.2:1 assist:turnover ratio and has three games in which he has not committed a turnover. Currently, he ranks second on the club with a 3.0 assists per game average.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGHS: Perhaps it was playing a little higher above sea level than normal, but whatever the reason, Solomon Hill collected a pair of blocked shots in last week's games at Colorado and Utah. It was just the fifth and sixth multiple-block games of his career (four in 2012-13) and the first time he's done so in back-to-back games. The 6-foot-7 senior from Los Angeles, Calif., currently is tied for third on the team with 15 blocked shots.
OFF THE BENCH: Being moved out of the starting line-up didn't negatively affect Brandon Ashley, who tallied 10 points, four rebounds and a season-high three steals in the win in Salt Lake City. The 6-foot-8 freshman forward, who has made 21 starts in the 23 games dating back to Nov. 19, connected on 4-of-5 shots from the floor and collected an assist. Through 25 appearances, Ashley has 11 double-figure scoring games to his credit and averages 7.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
SENIOR LEADERS: It's no surprise that Solomon Hill and Mark Lyons continue to lead the Cats in scoring, as the duo has combined for 41 double-figure scoring games this season. Hill (10) and Lyons (28) combined for 28 of Arizona's 68 points at Utah, and the efforts were the 70th and 85th career efforts, respectively, for two of UA's starters who have combined to play 252 college basketball games.
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 Hollis-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 tonight's game, Arizona next will be in action on Saturday, Feb. 23, when the squad hosts Washington State. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. MST and can be seen in Arizona and New Mexico on FOX Sports Arizona Plus and FSN across the nation.