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Cats Return Home, Host OSU Thursday
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/10/2012
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Jan. 10, 2012

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Date: Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012
Time: 6:30 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,538), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach) [Sirius 93]
TV: KWBA-TV/FCS Central (Dave Sitton/Corey Williams)

GAME DATA: Arizona (11-5, 2-1 Pac-12) returns to the comfortable confines of McKale Center Thursday to host Oregon State (11-5, 1-3 Pac-12) ... UA looks to build a bit of momentum as four of the next six games are at home ... In nine previous home games, the Wildcats are averaging 71.0 points per game, outrebounding opponents by 7.2 boards per game and limiting foes to a 38.9 (190-of-489) field goal percentage and just 57.4 points per game ... Arizona (7.2) and Oregon State (6.9) rank 1-2 in the Pac-12 in three-point field goals made per game.

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 177-75 (.702) and 57-28 (.671) 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 2-3 vs. Oregon State as a head coach.

LAST TIME OUT: In a game in which Arizona never trailed, the Wildcats limited USC to 29 percent shooting and outrebounded the Trojans, 38-32, in picking up a 57-46 win Sunday in Los Angeles. UA jumped out to a 6-0 lead and never looked back, holding USC to 6-of-29 shooting and 16 points in the first half. Jesse Perry scored 12 of his game-high 20 points in the second half, while Solomon Hill collected his third consecutive double-double and Kyle Fogg added 10 points and two blocks. It was Arizona’s first win in the Galen Center since January 2008.

SCOUTING OREGON STATE: The Beavers enter tonight’s game with an 11-5 record (1-3 Pac-12) following Saturday’s 103-101 (4ot) loss to Stanford. On the year, Oregon State averages 84.4 points, shoots 49.6 percent from the floor (467-of-942), 37.1 percent (111-of-299) from three-point range and 69.3 percent (305-of-440) from the line. Opponents average 71.4 points, are outrebounded by 1.1 boards per game and shoot 43.5 percent from the floor (405-of-931). Individually, five OSU players average in double-figures, led by Jared Cunningham’s 17.6 ppg average. Eric Moreland leads the Beavers with a 6.8 rebounds per game average.

THE SERIES: Tonight’s game is the 74th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 53-20 series advantage. UA has won 20 of the last 25 meetings in the series, which dates back to Jan. 28, 1975, including the last, 78-69, on March 10, 2011 in Los Angeles in the Pac-10 Tournament quarterfinals. All-time, Arizona is 29-6 in series games played in Tucson, 20-14 in Corvallis, and 4-0 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 48 in the UA media guide.

LAST MEETING: Arizona 78, Oregon State 69, March 10, 2011: A quick 9-0 burst early in the second half quickly pushed a one-point game to double digits and gave Arizona all the breathing room it needed in a 78-69 win Thursday over Oregon State. Derrick Williams scored 16 of his 22 points in the first half, and Lamont Jones (10) and Kevin Parrom (13) combined for 23 points in the second to lead the way. UA connected on just 13-of-34 shots in the second half, but five of those were treys, as the Wildcats built as much as a 17-point lead.

OUR FOUNDATION: Jesse Perry guided Arizona to a split in two games last week by averaging 16.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists in the pair of outings. The senior forward connected on 53.8 percent of his field goals (14-of-26) and 5-of-7 (.714) free throws to go with a steal in 65 total minutes played. It was Perry’s 11th games in double figures this season, including the second 20-point game of the season, and continued a stretch that has seen Perry connect on 58.1 percent of his field goal attempts over his last seven games (36-of-62). He opened the week with 13 points and six rebounds Thursday at UCLA and added a game-high 20 points (9-of-13 FG) Sunday at USC. In both games last week, Perry equaled a career-best 13 field goal attempts. On the season, he averages 12.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game to go with a .547 field goal percentage.

AWESOME AT ONE END: A quick look at the statistics from last week’s games shows that the Wildcats put forth a solid defensive effort while in Southern California, combining to limit the Bruins and Trojans to an average of 55.5 points and a .363 (41-of-113) field goal percentage. Arizona held USC to just 46 points in Sunday’s win, the second-lowest defensive output by an opponent this season. The defensive effort dropped UA’s scoring defense figure to 62.0 points through 16 games, which would be the lowest figure for the program since 1984-85 (60.3 ppg).

AN INTERESTING TIDBIT: Arizona’s defense shone particularly well in separate halves last weekend in Anaheim and Los Angeles, respectively, as UA forced UCLA and USC into the lowest field goal percentages by half for an opponent this season. Sunday’s effort in the opening period at the Galen Center saw USC connect on only 6-of-29 attempts (.207), while UCLA managed to shoot just 29.6 percent (8-of-27) in the second half of Thursday’s game. Overall, USC’s field goal percentage (.293/17-of-58) was the lowest against the Cats this season.

THAT SINKING FEELING: It’s not often that a .156 three-point field goal percentage can look good, but that’s what happened last weekend in L.A., as Arizona connected on a whopping 5-of-32 attempts from behind the arc. That towered over UCLA’s and USC’s combined 2-of-24 accuracy (.083), that saw those squads manage just one trey each against the Cats. For the season, UA opponents are shooting just 26.0 percent (79-of-304) from behind the arc, a figure that leads the Pac-12 Conference.

FINDING A WAY TO GET IT DONE: Arizona managed to win Sunday’s game even though it scored fewer than 60 points. In the Sean Miller era, the Wildcats are 2-8 when scoring less than 60 points and both of those wins have come this season: Dec. 3 in a 53-39 win over Northern Arizona and Sunday’s 57-46 win at USC.

LET’S SEE WHAT HAPPENS: An interesting sidebar to tonight’s game could simply be tempo. Both teams come in with identical 11-5 records, and while Oregon State is the Pac-12’s top-scoring team at 84.4 points per game, the Beavers have surrendered an average of 91.0 ppg in its four conference games. In the Sean Miller era, Arizona is 24-0 when scoring more than 80 points.

ON THE GLASS: The Wildcats managed to outrebound both foes on last weekend’s road trip, meaning that Arizona now has outboarded 12 of 16 opponents to date. In those games UA is 10-2. Over the weekend, Solomon Hill averaged 10.5 rebounds per game, and in Sunday’s win over USC, freshman guards Nick Johnson (7) and Josiah Turner (5) combined for 12 rebounds. On the year, Arizona currently ranks sixth in the Pac-12 Conference with a +2.6 rebound margin.

FAST STARTS: UA managed a solid start in Sunday’s game, holding a 15-6 lead at the 10-minute mark of the first half. This season, Arizona is 7-0 when holding a lead at the 10-minute mark of the opening period. Eventually, Arizona enjoyed a 16-point lead at the break – equaling its largest of the season. The Cats are 9-1 in 2011-12 when holding a halftime lead.

TURNOVERS ARE BACK!: That flaky, buttery goodness would be great if we were talking about a bakery, but within the game of basketball turnovers are a bad thing. Since Pac-12 play began, Arizona is averaging 16 miscues per contest, second-worst in the league, nearly three more per game than its season-long average of 13.1. In the three games prior to Christmas, UA averaged fewer than 11 turnovers per game.

HOLDING THEIR OWN: Despite playing with a slightly undersized lineup, Arizona has managed to hold its own when it comes to scoring close to the basket. In three Pac-12 games, Arizona has tallied 90 points in the paint, just two fewer than the opposition. In the five games prior to conference action, Arizona averaged 32.4 points in the paint per game.

TWENTY FOR 33: Sunday at USC, Jesse Perry poured in a career-high nine field goals en route to a 20-point afternoon. For the 6-foot-7 forward from St. Louis, Mo., it was his second 20-point game of the season (second career) and his 20th game in double figures as a Wildcat. Perry has led Arizona in scoring three times so far this season, and currently leads the Cats with a 12.4 ppg average.

DOUBLE UP: Forward Solomon Hill collected his fifth double-double of the season (fifth career) Sunday with 11 points and 10 rebounds at USC. The 6-foot-6 junior from Los Angeles, Calif., also equaled a season high with two steals. Hill has double-doubles in three consecutive games, which is a first for him. On the season, Hill averages of 12.3 points, 8.2 rebounds (2nd among Pac-12 players) and 3.0 assists per game. It was Arizona’s 11th double-double of the year.

CONTRIBUTING IN OTHER AREAS: Sophomore guard Jordin Mayes managed to affect the game in ways other than scoring Sunday, grabbing a career-high four rebounds, equaling a season high with three assists and collecting a pair of steals. Mayes’ two pilfers Sunday gave him 15 for the season, tieing him with Kyle Fogg and Josiah Turner for the team lead.

BLOCKED SHOTS: Perhaps it’s just an anomaly, but a pair of Wildcat guards recorded all three of the team’s blocked shots in Sunday’s win. Kyle Fogg equaled a season high with his two swats, while Brendon Lavender notched his first block since Dec. 30, 2010, and now has five for his career. Overall, Arizona averages 3.1 blocked shots per game as a team.

SCORING 80: Arizona scored a season-high 100 points on Dec. 22 vs. Bryant, topping the 80-point plateau for the third fourth this year (4-0). Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 204-19 (.915) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points.

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: The Wildcats next will be in action on Saturday, Jan. 14, when UA hosts Oregon. Tip-off in McKale Center is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. MST and can be seen nationally on CBS-TV.

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