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Cats Host Ducks in Regular-Season Finale
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/04/2011
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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March 4, 2011

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Date: Saturday, March 5, 2011
Time: Noon MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: CBS (Spero Dedes/Bob Wenzel)

Game Data:  No. 18 Arizona (24-6, 13-4 Pac-10) closes the regular season with a high-noon affair Saturday vs. Oregon (14-15, 7-10 Pac-10) in McKale Center ... The contest can be seen over most of the nation on CBS-TV, the network’s first McKale Center telecast since Feb. 14, 2009 ... Based on results Thursday, Arizona clinched a share of its 12th Pac-10 regular season championship and locked up the top seed at next week’s Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament in Los Angeles ... A win today would give Arizona a spotless record at home this season, it’s first since 1998-99 ... If the Cats win today and move to 14 Pac-10 wins, it would be the biggest one-season victory gain (+4) since the 2004 and 2005 campaigns when the program went from 11-7 to 15-3.

 

The Rankings:  Arizona has been ranked for five consecutive weeks and currently is No. 18 in both the Associated Press and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ polls.  UA’s five straight weeks in both national polls equals a season long for a Pac-10 club in 2010-11.

 

Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller . . . is in his second season at the University of Arizona and his seventh overall as a college head coach with a record of 160-68 (.702) and 40-21 (.656) at Arizona ... 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 last 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 14 trips to the postseason in his 17 seasons as a head, assistant or associate head coach (8 NCAA/6NIT) and has a 6-4 (.600) 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 17 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 and was a member of his alma mater’s all-centennial team in 2005 ... Miller, 42, earned a degree in communications from Pitt in 1992 ... He is assisted by Archie Miller, Emanuel Richardson and James Whitford ... Miller is 3-0 vs. Oregon as a head coach.

 

Last Time Out:  On the strength of a Derrick Williams double-double and solid shooting in the second half, Arizona clinched at least a share of the Pac-10 title with a 70-59 win Thursday over Oregon State.  Williams posted 15 points and 12 rebounds and the Wildcats shot 58.3 percent from the field after the break.  UA forced 22 OSU turnovers, cashed in 23 turnover points and outscored the Beavers, 15-7, from the stripe.

 

Scouting Oregon:  The Ducks enter today’s game with a 14-15 record (7-10 Pac-10) following Thursday’s 73-53 loss at Arizona State.  On the season, UO averages 69.3 points, shoots 41.4 percent from the floor (716-of-1728), 33.6 percent (201-of-599) from three-point range and 73.3 percent (377-of-514) from the line.  Opponents average 69.0 points, outrebound Oregon by 1.7 boards per game and shoot 44.3 percent from the floor (694-of-1567).  Individually, three UO players averages in double-figures, led by Joevan Catron at 14.8 points per game figure.  He also leads the Ducks with a 6.4 rebounds per game average.

 

The Series:  Today’s game is the 68th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 44-23 advantage in the series, which dates back to Jan. 12, 1979. The Cats have won five of the last eight games in the series, including the last, 76-57, in Eugene on Dec. 30.  All-time, Arizona is 25-7 in series games played in Tucson, 19-14 in Eugene, and 0-2 in neutral-site games.  For more series information, please see page 44 in the UA media guide.

 

Last Meeting:  Arizona 76, Oregon 57, Dec. 30, 2010:  Kevin Parrom posted a career-high 20 points and eight rebounds to lead Arizona to a 19-point road win.  The sophomore connected on 8-of-9 field goal, including 4-of-5 from three-point range, to spearhead a Wildcat attack that shot 56 percent from the floor and posted a +13 rebound margin.  UA jumped out to an early 11-2 lead and never trailed.  Three Wildcats finished in double figures and four grabbed five or more rebounds.

 

Senior Class:  Arizona’s senior class, which includes forward Jamelle Horne and floor managers Ben Tucker and Jaron Henry, makes its final appearance in front of the home fans today. Over the last four years, the Cats have won 80 games, including a 52-14 (.788) record in McKale Center, won more than 20 games twice, advanced to the NCAA Tournament twice (to date), made one Sweet 16 appearance and claimed at least a share of the program’s first Pac-10 title since 2005.

 

The Endcap:  Over the last 27 years, Arizona is an impressive 23-4 (.852) in regular season home finales. However, the Cats have dropped three of its last five “Senior Day” tilts.

 

On Quite a Roll:  Arizona head coach Sean Miller and the Wildcats clinched at least a share of the Pac-10 regular season championship Thursday, which marked the fourth regular season title (or share) for a Miller-coached team in the last five seasons.  The only blip was last season’s 16-15 (10-8/4th Pac-10) debut at Arizona.  Dating back to his time at Xavier, Miller’s charges have won the 2007 (co), ‘08 and ‘09 Atlantic 10 championships in addition to (currently a share of) the 2011 Pac-10 title.  In that span, Miller has averaged better than 12 conference win per season to go with a .747 (62-21) conference winning percentage.  Overall in that span, Miller’s teams have averaged 24.4 wins per season.

 

What’s at Stake:  By virtue of its win over Oregon State and UCLA’s loss to Washington, Arizona has locked up the top see in next week’s Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament.  The Cats do have one thing left to play for:  the outright regular-season championship.  As a reference point, Arizona has been selfish when it comes to conference championships, as nine of the previous 11 Pac-10 titles have been outright (1990/2000 shared), and 20 of 24 all-time conference championships (12 Border, 1 WAC, 11 Pac-10) claimed prior to this season were sole-possession varieties.

 

Almost There:  For much of the season Derrick Williams has led the nation in free throw attempts, and the 6-foot-8 sophomore painfully close to sole possession of the school records for free throws made and attempted in a single.  Currently, Williams’ totals of 198 made and 264 attempts rank second and tied for first, respectively, with Khalid Reeves, who made 211 of 264 (.799) charity tosses in 1993-94.  No player in Arizona history has averaged more FT attempts per game than Williams’ average of 8.1 per game.

 

Not Even Close:  Through 30 games, Arizona has amassed a +9.6 scoring margin, and the trends bear that out as the Cats haven’t been in a lot of close games.  To date 18 of UA’s 30 games have been decided by more than 10 points, and the Cats are 15-3 in those contests.  In games decided by 10 or less, Arizona is a respectable 9-3.

 

A Dickensian Effort:  So it was quite, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” but Arizona’s shooting effort Thursday had a tale of two halves kind of feel.  UA opened the game shooting just 39.3 percent from the field (11-of-28), but rebounded to connect on 14-of-24 shots from the floor (.583) in the second.  Interestingly, the improved shooting didn’t boost the offensive output proportionally, as the Cats tallied 34 points in the first half and 36 in the second.  For the season, Arizona shoots .470 (759-of-1614) from the field.

 

On the Verge of Something...Noteworthy:  Arizona enters play today with a 16-0 record at home.  If the Wildcats were to win today, it would finish the season at 17-0 and join a select group of Pac-10 teams to finish an entire home slate (including non-conference games) with a spotless record.  Since the conference expanded to 10 teams for the 1978-79 season, only 18 clubs have posted a zero in the right-hand column:  Arizona (1986, ‘88, ‘89, ‘90, ‘91, ‘98, ‘99), Oregon (2002), Oregon State (1980, ‘82, 84), Stanford (1989, ‘97, 2004), UCLA (2007), Washington (1984, 2005) and Washington State (1983).  In terms of numbers of home wins, a 17-0 record would equal the second-best mark of that group (Arizona 1991), topped only by Arizona’s 1988 club that went 19-0 in McKale Center en route to a 35-3 season.

 

Seeking Balance:  The Wildcats placed four players in double figures Thursday, marking just the sixth time this season that Arizona has had four or more players score 10 or more points in a single game, and just the third time in Pac-10 play.  It brings to light the Arizona balance, as Derrick Williams is the only Wildcat currently averaging in double figures (19.0 ppg), but six other Wildcats are averaging better than 6.0 points per game.  On the year, six different UA players have scored 200 or more points this year, a feat not matched since 2006-07 when Hassan Adams, Marcus Williams, Ivan Radenovic, Mustafa Shakur, Chris Rodgers and Kirk Walters each topped the 200-point plateau for the season.

 

Forcing the Issue:  The Arizona defense put forth a nice effort Thursday, forcing 22 Oregon State turnovers and out-stealing the Beavers, who rank second nationally in steals per game, 6-3.  The 22 turnovers were the second-most for an opponent this season, and the most in Pac-10 play, and the +14 turnover margin was a season best, which led to a +13 advantage in turnover points.  On the flip side, Arizona committed just eight turnovers itself, and has a total of 14 turnovers in its last two games.

 

Doubling Up:  Forward Derrick Williams recorded his 10th double-double of the season Thursday with 15 points and 12 rebounds against Oregon State.  Most of that damage was done in the first half, as the 6-foot-8 sophomore notched 13 points and 11 rebounds in the first 20 minutes.  Rebounds have come a bit more frequently for Williams of late, as he has collected double figures in that category three times in the last four outings and is averaging 8.7 rebounds per game over his last 10 games.

 

Assisting the Cause:  Junior guard Kyle Fogg continues to prove is worth in a number of different areas.  No only did he knock down a game-high three treys Thursday, but he also passed out a game-high six assists against just one turnover in a season-high 33 minutes.  The 6-foot-3 Brea, Calif., product leads Arizona with 39 three-point field goals, 86 assists (2.9 apg) and a 1.91:1 assist:turnover ratio.

 

Quick Hits:  It’s worth noting that Thursday’s win clinched a season in which the Cats will have less than 10 losses, snapping a streak of five straight years with 10+ losses ... Saturday’s game will be the final Pac-10 Conference game in McKale Center, as the league expands to 12 teams next year.

 

Scoring 80:  Arizona scored 87 points Feb. 19 at California, topping the 80-point plateau for the 12th time this year (12-0).  Arizona has scored 80 in nine of 15 home games this season.  Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 198-19 (.912) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points.   Arizona was 6-0 last season when topping the 80-point plateau.

 

Early Signees:  The Arizona coaching staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letter-of-Intent in the November early signing period.  Nick Johnson (G, 6-2, 180) from Gilbert, Ariz., who preps at Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev.; Sidiki Johnson (F, 6-8, 220) from the Bronx, N.Y, who preps at Wadleigh H.S. in Harlem; and Josiah Turner (G, 6-3, 185) from Sacramento, Calif., who preps at Quality Education Academy in Winston-Salem, N.C.; make up a class that was ranked in the top-10 nationally by both espn.com and rivals.com.

Up Next:  Following today’s game, the Wildcats head to Los Angeles for the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament.  Arizona is the No. 1 seed in the tournament and will open play on Thursday, March 10, at 2:30 p.m. PST.  Potential opponents will be finalized once the regular season concludes and seeds are set.

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