Feb. 1, 2010
Date: Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010
Time: 7:30 p.m. PST
Location: Bank of America Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion (10,000), Seattle, Wash.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: FSN (Steve Physioc/Marques Johnson)
GAME DATA: Arizona (12-9, 6-3 Pac-10) opens the second half of the Pac-10 slate on the road at Washington (14-7, 4-5 Pac-10) in a nationally televised game Thursday in Seattle ... Winners of a season-best four consecutive games, Arizona finds itself with a share of the conference lead and a bit more of the spotlight ... Expect an up-and-down affair as the match-up features a pair of clubs who rank second and third (UW 74.2 ppg/UA 73.0 ppg), respectively, in scoring offense during Pac-10 play and who have combined to average nearly 171 combined points in the last five meetings at Bank of America Arena, where the losing team has failed to score 75 points just once ... The Cats are 2-3 in its last five trips to Seattle with those games being decided by an average of 6.4 points.
THE RANKINGS: Arizona remains unranked in both polls after opening the season unranked for just the third time in the last 23 seasons. The Cats closed the 2008-09 campaign ranked No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Sean Miller . . . is in his first season at the University of Arizona and his sixth overall as a college head coach with a record of 132-56 (.702) and 12-9 (.571) 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 16 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, 41, earned a degree in communications from Pitt in 1992 ... He is assisted by Archie Miller, Emanuel Richardson and James Whitford ... Miller is 0-0 against Washington.
LAST TIME OUT: Nic Wise equaled a career high with 30 points and provided the winning margin as Arizona earned a share of the conference lead at the midway point of the schedule with a 76-72 home win Sunday over California. Wise single-handedly outscored the Golden Bears, 7-3, in the final 53 seconds to provide the winning margin. Arizona limited Cal to just 37.7 percent shooting from the floor and forced 12 turnovers in the contest and received timely contributions from just about everyone to see action. Derrick Williams registered his second double-double of the season, while Lamont Jones chipped in with 10 points.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON: The Huskies enter tonight's game with a 14-7 record (4-5 Pac-10) following Saturday's 92-64 win over Washington State. On the season, Washington averages 81.4 points per game, shoots 44.7 percent from the field (593-of-1,328) and 71.8 percent (418-of-582) from the line. Husky opponents average 71.6 points per game and are outrebounded by an average of 5.0 boards per game. Individually, two Washington players average in double figures, led by Quincy Pondexter's 20.3 ppg figure. He also leads the team with an 8.1 rebounds per game average.
THE SERIES: Tonight's game marks the 67th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 43-24 series advantage. Arizona has won seven of the last 12 in the series, including the last, 84-70 in Tucson on Jan. 10. All-time, Arizona is 25-6 in series games played in Tucson, 17-15 in Seattle, Wash., and 1-2 in neutral site games. See page 110 of the UA media guide for more series information.
LAST MEETING: Arizona 87, Washington 70, Jan. 10, 2010: Arizona jumped out early and never really looked back in posting its first win over a ranked opponent. The Cats limited the Huskies to 33.3 percent shooting and held its two leading scorers for the season scoreless in the first half in building a double-digit lead. UW posted an 8-0 run to start the second period, but UA responded with a 14-6 run of its own to resume control. A season-high six Wildcats finished in double figures, led by Jamelle Horne's career-high 22 points.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Nic Wise led Arizona to its fourth win in a row and its first conference weekend sweep by averaging 22.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in a pair of games last week to earn Pac-10 Player-of-the-Week honors. The senior guard connected on 50.0 percent of his three-point field goals (5-of-10) and 90.5 percent of his free throws (19-of-21), while also collecting five steals to help the Wildcats grab a share of the conference lead at the midpoint of the league schedule. Wise opened the week by connecting on 10-of-12 free throws en route to 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in UA's eight-point win over Stanford. He followed that up by equaling a career high with 30 points, including 19 in the second half, on 8-of-16 shooting from the floor to go with three rebounds and three steals. Wise single-handedly outscored Cal 7-3 in the final 53 second of the contest to provide the winning margin. On the year, Wise averages 16.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, while shooting 90.2 percent (110-of-122) from the free throw line.
MOVING UP: After sweeping past Stanford and California last weekend, Arizona extended its winning streak to a season-long four games, and finished the first half of the Pac-10 schedule with a share of the lead with California. Incidentally, it is the first time the Wildcats have been in first place in conference play this late into the season since March 5, 2005, the date UA clinched its last Pac-10 regular-season title.
SUSTAINED DEFENSIVE INTENSITY: Arizona earned a share of first place Sunday by defeating California, 76-72. The Cats clamped down on Cal, holding the Golden Bears to just 37.7 percent (23-of-61) from the field. The effort was the second-worst field goal percentage of the season for California, a club that was shooting nearly 48 percent from the field as a team entering the contest. Additionally, it was the seventh time this season that Arizona has held an opponent to less than 40 percent shooting. In Pac-10 play, the Cats are holding opponents to a cumulative .413 (199-of-482) field goal percentage. Shooting better than the opposition has been a harbinger of success for the Cats as the club is 10-1 this season when posting a better field goal percentage than the opposition.
ANOTHER SOLID EFFORT: Freshman forward Derrick Williams finished off another stellar week of his own by posting his second double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds against California in a season-high 34 minutes. In the pair of wins this week, the 6-foot-8 native of La Mirada, Calif., averaged 19.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, while shooting .857 (13-of-15) from the free throw line. On the season, Williams averages 15.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest, while shooting 57.4 percent (108-of-188) from the field.
FINDING A WAY: Sunday's win evened Arizona record to 4-4 this year in games decided by five points or less. In a related note, Arizona has proven to be efficient in closing out games, as the Wildcats are 11-1 this year when tied or leading with five minutes remaining in the second half.
ON TARGET: In addition to being one of the nation's best free throw shooters (.902/110-of-122), Nic Wise has also reconnected from long range, as the senior point guard has hit 13-of-25 (.520) three-point field goals over his last five games.
BALL SECURITY: Arizona continues to make improvements when it comes to turnovers, especially offensively, as the Cats have turned it over on average 2.1 fewer times in conference play (12.4 to/g in Pac-10 play/14.5 to/g non-conference). In two wins this week, Arizona posted a +9 turnover margin, which becomes important as Arizona is 8-2 this year when Arizona forces more turnovers than it commits.
BETTER AT BOTH ENDS: Even though Arizona is averaging 73.0 points per game in Pac-10 play (0.4 points higher than the overall scoring offense), it's been defensive improvement that has been most notable, as the Wildcats are allowing 65.8 points per game in league play, a figure that is 4.9 points lower than the overall scoring defense. Additionally, Arizona's +7.2 scoring margin in Pac-10 play is the league's best.
STREAKING: Bolstered by Nic Wise's 30 points Sunday, Arizona scored 70 or more points for the fourth consecutive game. Not coincidentally, it was the squad's fourth straight win, and the Cats improved to 11-3 this season when scoring 70 or more points. For Wise, it was his second 30-point game of the season.
CONTRIBUTING IN ALL AREAS: Arizona swingman Kevin Parrom put forth a solid all-around effort in the win over California by registering six points, seven rebounds, and season-best totals of five assists and two blocks in 30 minutes. To date, the 6-foot-6 native of the Bronx, N.Y., Parrom is averaging 3.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists. Parrom has been especially good on the boards, as he has grabbed five or more rebounds in four of 11 appearances this year.
MORE FROM MOMO: Lamont Jones gave the Cats a lift off the bench Sunday, totaling 10 points, three rebounds and an assist in 17 minutes. The 6-foot freshman from Harlem, N.Y., connected on 3-of-6 field goal and 4-of-4 free throws to notch his fourth double-figure scoring game of the season. Additionally, Jones, who collected just two assists in Arizona's first six conference games, has improved his decision making as well by passing out seven assists in the last three games. On the season, Jones is averaging 5.2 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.
ACCEPTING CHARITY: Led by Nic Wise, who knocked down 9-of-9 free throw attempts, Arizona connected on 20-of-23 charity tosses (.870) Sunday against California. It marked the fourth consecutive game, and fifth in the last six outings, that Arizona has made 20 or more free throws. On the season, Arizona averages 18.4 made free throws per game, nearly four more made FTs than the opposition. The Cats have taken advantage of the opportunities, as UA leads the Pac-10 with a .749 (387-of-517) free throw percentage.
CAREER HIGH: Junior Jamelle Horne equaled a career high Sunday with four assists against the Golden Bears. It was the sixth time in his career that the 6-foot-7 forward from San Diego, Calif., has passed out as many helpers. Incidentally, all four of Horne's assists came in the second half. He ranks fourth on the club with 30 assists and a 1.5 assists per game average.
STARTING WELL: Good starts certainly help any team, and Arizona is no different, as witnessed by the team's 9-2 record when leading at the half. Despite holding a 3-7 record when tied or trailing at the break, two of those three wins have come in UA's last three ball games. Additionally, Arizona has outscored the last six Pac-10 foes in the second half by a combined 49 points.
SCORING 80: Arizona scored 87 points Jan. 10 vs. Washington, breaking the 80-point barrier for the fifth time this year. Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 185-19 (.907) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona is 5-0 this season when topping the 80-point plateau.
EARLY SIGNEE: The Arizona coaching staff signed one student-athlete to a National-Letter-of-Intent during the November early signing period. Daniel Bejarano (G, 6-5, 200) from Phoenix, Ariz., North High School. According to Bob Gibbons' All-Star Sports Top 250, he is No. 40 overall prospect in the country.
UP NEXT: UA travels across the state to Pullman to face Washington State on Saturday, Feb. 6. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. PST and can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona.