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Cats Head to Bay Area; Face Cal on Thursday
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/30/2012
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Jan. 30, 2012

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Date: Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012
Time: 8 p.m. PST
Location: Haas Pavilion (11,877), Berkeley, Calif.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: FOX Sports Net (Steve Physioc/Marques Johnson/Rebecca Haarlow)

GAME DATA: Arizona (14-8, 5-4 Pac-12) opens the second half of the Pac-12 on the road, beginning Thursday at California (17-5, 7-2 Pac-12) in Haas Pavilion ... Over the previous five seasons, the Wildcats are 6-4 on the Bay Area road swing with a pair of sweeps and a pair of splits to its credit ... In six true road games this season, UA boasts a +5.0 scoring margin and is limiting opponents to a .389 field gaol percentage (138-of-355), while Jesse Perry leads the Cats individually with an average of 16.2 points per road 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 180-78 (.698) and 60-31 (.659) 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 3-1 vs. California as a head coach.

LAST TIME OUT: Washington’s offensive balance and key plays down the stretch offset a monster effort by Solomon Hill, as the Huskies held on for a 69-67 win Saturday. 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, as the Cats erased a seven-point deficit.

SCOUTING CALIFORNIA: The Golden Bears enter tonight’s game with a 17-5 record (7-2 Pac-12) following Sunday’s 69-59 win over Stanford. On the year, California averages 72.2 points, shoots 48.3 percent from the floor (586-of-1,214), 39.2 percent (113-of-288) from three-point range and 74.1 percent (304-of-410) from the line. Opponents average 60.2 points, are outrebounded by 5.3 boards per game and shoot 40.3 percent from the floor (491-of-1,218). Individually, three Cal players average in double figures, led by Allen Crabbe’s 15.8 ppg average. Crabbe also leads active Golden Bears with a 6.1 rebounds per game average.

THE SERIES: Tonight’s game is the 83rd meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 54-28 advantage in the series, which dates back to Feb. 1, 1924. Arizona has won 21 of the last 26 meetings, including the last, a 107-105 triple-overtime decision in Berkeley on Feb. 5. All-time, Arizona is 28-9 in series games played in Tucson, 23-18 in Berkeley, Calif., and 3-1 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 46 in the UA media guide.

LAST MEETING: Arizona 107, California 105 (3OT), Feb. 5, 2011: It took three overtimes to do so, but Arizona earned one of its most memorable victories in quite a while by outlasting California. MoMo Jones converted a game-tying conventional three-point play with 16 seconds to go in regulation, another tying trey with five seconds to go in the second overtime, and added the go-ahead-for-good lay-up with 1:03 left in the third extra period en route to a career-high 27, while Kevin Parrom scored 13 of his career-best 25 in the extra periods to go with six boards and six assists and Derrick Williams added 12 points and 18 rebounds. The UA bench outscored Cal, 52-3, in the 275-minute tilt, which was UA’s longest game since 1973.

ROAD WARRIORS: In the Sean Miller era, the Wildcats are 11-11 in conference road games and that mark is tied for the best road record in the league (California/Washington) since the start of the 2009-10 season.

LEADING THE WAY: Solomon Hill helped Arizona to a split in two games last week by averaging 22.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists as the Wildcats moved to 3-2 at home in conference play. The junior forward connected on 66.7 percent of his field goals (14-of-21) and 83.3 percent (5-of-6) of his three-point attempts and 92.3 percent (12-of-13) of his free throws to go with three assists and a steal. Included in the effort was a pair of double-doubles (eighth of the season) and a career-high 28 points on Saturday. Hill opened the week with 17 points, 11 boards and three assists Thursday vs. Washington State and added those career-high 28 points (9-of-10 FG) and 11 rebounds (which equaled a career high), to go with 8-of-9 from the free throw line Saturday vs. Washington. Hill scored 19 of his 28 points in the second half, including eight of Arizona’s last 12 points in the final 2:29 as Arizona erased a seven-point deficit to briefly tie the contest. He now has six double-doubles in Pac-12 play. On the season, he averages 12.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.

PARROM OUT: Junior guard/forward Kevin Parrom suffered a fracture to a bone in his right foot during Saturday’s game against Washington and will miss the remainder of the season. The injury occurred near the end of the first half and is unrelated to any of his previous injuries. The 6-foot-6, 215-pound, native of the Bronx, N.Y., was averaging 4.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game in 20 appearances this season (one start). He tallied seven points, three rebounds and two assists in 10 minutes of action Saturday vs. the Huskies.

TOP OF THE HEAP: As mentioned previously, Solomon Hill’s 28 points Saturday were a career high for the junior forward, and his 19 second-half points were the most for an Arizona player in any half this season. His nine field goals (in 10 att.) were a career high and his eight free throws made were a season high. Additionally, Hill’s 28 points were the most by an Arizona player not named Derrick Williams since Jan. 31, 2010, when Nic Wise scored 30 points against California.

BOARD WORK: Solomon Hill enters Thursday’s game just three rebounds shy of 500 for his career. In 91 career appearances (81 starts), the 6-foot-6 forward is averaging 5.5 rebounds per game and his current per game average of 8.3 is 3.6 rebounds per game better than his best single-season rebound average in his first two collegiate seasons.

ON THE MARK: Arizona exhibited both the ups and downs of its shooting eye this week, as the team connected on 50.8 percent of its attempts (30-of-59) in the win over Washington State and 42.0 percent (21-of-50) in the loss to Washington. Its cumulative 46.8 percent shooting for the week was 2.5 points better than its season FG percentage (.443). Perhaps more importantly, it’s how the Cats shoot in relation to the opposition that matters. This season, Arizona is 12-1 when shooting better than the opposition and 2-7 (0-4 Pac-12) when not.

MONTH-BY-MONTH: Arizona closed January with a 14-8 record (5-4 Pac-12) following a split in two games this week. In fact, Arizona split each of four Pac-12 weekend games this month. By month this season, the Wildcats were 5-2 in November, 5-2 in December and 4-4 in January. UA heads into February not just trying to improve its 5-4 conference record, but on a 7-7 record in the month of February during the Sean Miller, easily the most challenging month since the start of the 2009-10 season. In that span, Arizona is 12-5 (.706) in November under Miller, 15-8 (.652) in December, 16-8 (.667) in January, 7-7 (.500) in February and 9-3 (.750) in March.

MISCUES MATTER: Much has been made of Arizona’s turnover totals this season, and while the Cats’ average is 12.7 miscues per game through 22 starts, the team average rises slightly to 13.3 turnovers per game in Pac-12 play. Overall, Arizona is 7-1 when it commits fewer turnovers than the opposition and 7-7 when turning it over more. In Pac-12 action, those win-loss splits are 3-0/2-4. While it would be reasonable to assume that UA’s turnover differential might be bigger in its wins and losses, the Cats average 12.6 turnovers in its 14 wins and 13.1 miscues in its eight defeats.

SIMILAR FEATURES: Arizona’s 14-8 record features an 0-4 mark in games decided by five points or less – and three of those losses have come on the last three Saturdays by a combined five points. However, each of those defeats share a similar feature, as the Cats have struggled in each to open the second half. In the losses to Oregon, at Colorado and to Washington, Arizona is a combined 3-of-16 (.188) from the field in the first four minutes of the second half. In the games vs. the Buffaloes and Huskies, Arizona saw halftime leads of four and three points, respectively, turn to one-point deficits, while Oregon boosted a 14-point halftime lead to 17. Further, each contest saw Arizona with the ball on the game’s final possession with a chance to win or tie.

OUT OF THE GATE: Starting strong certainly can be beneficial to a team, not just in the second half, as mentioned above, but from the opening tip as well. This season, Arizona is 12-1 when tied or ahead at the 10-minute mark of the first half and 2-7 when trailing. The difference at that point is even more pronounced than at the half, when UA is 11-3 when leading at the half and 3-5 when not. Saturday against Washington, Arizona trailed 18-17 10 minutes into the contest and had rallied to lead 32-29 at the break.

TOUGH COVER: While Solomon Hill’s scoring efforts – a team-best 13.1 ppg in Pac-12 play – have moved him to the top of the Wildcat scoring table, it’s been his rebounding – 9.1 rpg in Pac-12 play – that has made him a difficult match-up. Hill equaled his career high with 11 rebounds against Washington to notch his sixth double-double in nine Pac-12 games. Furthermore, he has seven double-doubles in his last 11 games and in that span is averaging 14.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, while shooting 53.5 percent from the field (54-of-101) and 50.0 percent (12-of-24) from three-point range.

PERRY’S PRODUCTION: Senior forward Jesse Perry collected his eighth double-double of the season as well Saturday, after posting 13 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. The effort included a UA season-high nine defensive rebounds. It was Perry’s 10th time this season with 10 or more rebounds in a game. Incidentally, for Perry and Hill, who each have eight double-doubles this year, Saturday’s game marked just the second time this season that the UA frontcourt duo has posted double-doubles in the same game (Jan. 21 at Colorado).

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, Feb. 4, when UA heads across the Bay to Palo Alto to take on Stanford. Tip-off is scheduled for noon PST and can be seen nationally on FOX Sports Net.

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