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Cats, Devils Renew Rivalry on Saturday
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/19/2010
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Jan. 19, 2010

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Date: Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010

Time: 7:30 p.m. MST

Location: Wells Fargo Arena (14,141), Tempe, Ariz.

Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)

TV: FSAZ (Daron Sutton/Tom Kuyper)

GAME DATA: Arizona (9-9, 3-3 Pac-10) closes out a three-game road trip Saturday at intrastate rival Arizona State (14-5, 4-2 Pac-10) at Wells Fargo Arena as part of the State Farm Territorial Cup Series ... The Wildcats and Sun Devils meet on the hardwood for the 217th time ... The last five series meetings at Ned Wulk Court have been decided by an average of 5.6 points per game with an overtime affair and three contests decided by three points or less and Arizona has won three of those five games ... UA seeks to win consecutive conference games for the first time since Feb. 12-14, 2009 ... Over its last five games, Arizona is averaging 75.6 points per game, and the Cats are 8-3 this season when scoring 70 or more points ... Following tonight's game, UA will be at home for five of its next seven games.

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 129-56 (.697) and 9-9 (.500) 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 its 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 1-1 against Arizona State.

LAST TIME OUT: Derrick Williams collected his first career double-double to lead Arizona to an 74-60 win last Saturday at Oregon. The Cats jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never trailed in the contest in which UA limited Oregon to 33.3 percent shooting and 16 points less than its season scoring average. Williams' game-high totals of 20 points and 13 rebounds spearheaded an effort that saw Arizona shoot 51.2 percent for the game and outrebound Oregon, 36-28. Nic Wise and Kyle Fogg each added 19 points.

SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils enter tonight's game with a 14-5 record (4-2 Pac-10) following Saturday's 66-57 win at Oregon State. On the season, ASU averages 68.6 points per game, shoots 46.4 percent from the field (436-of-939) and 73.2 percent (273-of-373) from the line. Sun Devil opponents average 54.7 points per game and outrebound ASU by 0.2 boards per game. Individually, three Arizona State players average in double figures, led by Rihards Kuksiks' 12.9 ppg figure. Eric Boateng leads the team with a 6.3 rebounds per game average.

THE SERIES: Today's game is the 217th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 138-78 series advantage. Arizona has won 24 of the last 30 meetings in the series, which dates back to 1914, but ASU swept the last five, including a 68-56 decision on March 12, 2009, in Los Angeles. All-time, Arizona is 77-27 in series games played in Tucson, 60-50 in Tempe, and 1-1 in neutral-site games. Please see page 107 in the UA media guide for more series information.

LAST MEETING: Arizona State 68, Arizona 56, March 12, 2009: Arizona State used a 10-3 burst to open the second half, took the lead and never looked back in a 12-point win in the quarterfinals of the Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament. Arizona struggled offensively all game, including just 25.7 percent shooting in the second half, and was held to less than 60 points for the third time in the last five Pac-10 Tournament games. ASU was the aggressor early in both halves, outscoring UA 17-6 in the first three minutes of each period. Jordan Hill (20) and Nic Wise (18) combined for 38 points, but the rest of the Cats mustered just 18 points.

A GOOD WEEK: Derrick Williams led Arizona to a split on the road with per game averages of 20.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in a pair of games this week. The freshman forward connected on 63.6 percent of his field goals (14-of-22) and 75.0 percent of his free throws (12-of-16), while also collecting an assist. Williams opened the week by totaling a team-high 20 points and a game-high seven rebounds Thursday at Oregon State. He then added another 20-point effort on 7-of-9 shooting, including 6-of-8 from the free throw line, to go with a career-high 13 rebounds in the win over at Oregon. Williams led a defensive effort against Oregon that saw the Wildcats limit the Ducks to just 60 points and 33.3 percent shooting, while his 13 rebounds was nearly half as many as Oregon collected for the game (28). It was Williams' first career double-double and marked his 16th game in double figures this year. Five of those 16 games in double figures have been 20-plus point efforts. On the year, Williams averages 15.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, while shooting 58.2 percent (89-of-153) from the field.

REBOUNDING WELL: Arizona posted a 74-60 win last Saturday at Oregon to even its overall record at 9-9 and the Pac-10 ledger at 3-3. It marked the third consecutive weekend in which the Wildcats won the back half of the weekend doubleheader to salvage a split. The fact that two of those three wins have come on the road speaks well for the Cats' resiliency. Arizona has dropped its three conference games by a combined total of 11 points (3.7 ppg) and rebounded to win the follow-up by an average of 15 points per game.

A CHALLENGING SLATE: The Wildcats' schedule, which ranks among the top-10 nationally in terms of strength of schedule, has certainly provided a stern test for this club that features 12 freshmen and sophomores among its 14-man roster. To date, Arizona has played nine home games and nine games at road or neutral sites. All told, Arizona is 6-3 at home, 2-4 in road games and 1-2 at neutral sites. UA's modest 2-4 road record shows a bit of improvement for the Cats, as last season's team went just 2-9 in true road games.

WINNING WITH SOME REGULARITY: Arizona posted rebounding wins in both games this week, including a 36-28 rebound advantage against Oregon on Saturday. The Wildcats have outrebounded five of six opponents in Pac-10 play and UA's +5.3 rebound margin in league play is a 5.2 rebounds per game improvement over its season-long average. Through 18 games this year, Arizona has outrebounded nine opponents but it hasn't been a strong indicator of success, as the Cats are just 5-4 when collecting more caroms.

CLAMPING DOWN: Arizona displayed a bit of toughness in Saturday's road win at Oregon, as the Cats never trailed in the game. The Wildcats jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and forced the Ducks to miss its first eight field goal attempts. Arizona limited Oregon to just 33.3 percent shooting (20-of-60) for the game and just 60 points, a figure that was 16 points below its season scoring average entering the contest. All told, it was the fifth time this season that Arizona has held an opponent to less than 40 percent shooting for the game and the first time since Dec. 9 (10 games). On the season, UA opponents are shooting .435 (462-of-1063) from the field.

A FIRST FOR THE FROSH: Derrick Williams recorded his first career double-double Saturday with 20 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. The freshman forward connected on 7-of-9 field goals en route to his 13th consecutive game in double figures. It was Arizona second double-double of the year, and the team's first since the season opener when Jamelle Horne 14 points and 11 rebounds against Northern Arizona.

ON THE MARK: Led by Derrick Williams' 7-of-9 marksmanship, Arizona connected on 21-of-41 field goal attempts (.512) Saturday, marking the fifth time this season that the Wildcats have shot 50 percent or better from the field and its first in a true road game. Included in the effort was 58.8 percent shooting in the first half (10-of-17), which was Arizona's best shooting half of the season. UA is 5-0 this year when topping the 50-percent plateau.

A FOGG APPROACHING: Kyle Fogg knocked down all 12 free throw attempts Saturday en route to 19 points at Oregon. The 6-foot-3 sophomore guard notched his career-best fifth consecutive game with 10 or more points. In that span, Fogg is averaging a team-high 16.6 points per game to go with per game averages of 3.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.0 steals, while shooting 50.0 percent (26-of-52) from the field.

SHARING THE BALL: Nic Wise registered a nice all-around performance Saturday, posting 19 points (5-of-10 FG), six rebounds and five assists. It marked the sixth time this season that the senior guard has had five or more assists in a game. Over the course of his career, Arizona is 25-10 (.714) when Wise collects five or more assists in a game. On the season, Wise is averaging 15.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

LINEUP CHANGES: UA head coach Sean Miller mixed things up a bit last Saturday at Oregon by changing the starting lineup for the first time in six games. Freshman swingman Kevin Parrom made his first career start and was joined in the starting five by Jamelle Horne, Derrick Williams, Kyle Fogg and Nic Wise. It's the fifth different quintet that Miller has used in 18 games, and each group has managed to post at least one win.

RE-ESTABLISHING A CONNECTION: Arizona guard Nic Wise seems to have located his long-range shooting touch, as the 5-foot-10 senior connected on 7-of-11 (.636) of his three-point field goal attempts last week in Oregon. In the previous five games, Wise made just 2-of-14 (.143) attempts from behind the arc. Wise currently ranks second on the team with 29 treys through 18 games, and is just 15 treys shy of moving into 10th place on the Arizona career three-point field goals list.

TOEING THE LINE: Led by Kyle Fogg's 12-of-12 effort last Saturday at Oregon, Arizona made a season-high 27 free throws (in 33 attempts) against the Ducks. On the season, Arizona averages better than 17 made free throws per game and has sunk 20 or more six times in 2009-10. Five times this year Arizona individuals have made 10 or more free throws in a single game (Wise 3, Williams 2, Fogg 1). Incidentally, Derrick Williams has boosted his free throw percentage in Pac-10 play to 79.2 percent (38-of-48), an improvement of nearly 11 percent over his season-long average.

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: Following tonight's game, Arizona returns home to host Stanford on Thursday, Jan. 28. The contest is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. MST and will be televised by FOX College Sports.

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