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Cats Host Bruins on ESPN2
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: January 24, 2011
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Jan. 24, 2011

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Date: Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011
Time: 7 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: ESPN2 (Rece Davis/Jay Bilas)

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Game Data:  Arizona (16-4, 5-2 Pac-10) returns home to host UCLA (13-6, 5-2 Pac-10) Thursday at McKale Center ... The game, which is scheduled to be aired on ESPN2, is the second of three appearances for the Wildcats on the ESPN family of networks this year ... Over the last six meetings with UCLA the cumulative points scored by each team is even at 434, while the victories are level at three apiece ... The UA homecourt has been a source of discomfort for Wildcat opponents, as Arizona limits foes to an average of 58.8 points per game and a .415 field goal percentage (236-of-569), while posting a +10.3 rebound margin ... Arizona leads the Pac-10 Conference in three-point FG percentage (.397) and three-point FG percentage defense (.271).

The Rankings:  Arizona is unranked in this week's Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' polls.  The Wildcats were ranked 25th in last week's coaches' poll, its first national ranking since 2008-09.

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 152-65 (.700) and 32-18 (.640) 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 2-2 vs. UCLA as a head coach.


Last Time Out:  Each half followed the same script, but what mattered most was that Arizona earned a hard-fought 65-63 win Saturday at Washington State.  Sluggish starts nearly doomed the Cats in both halves, as UA fell behind by 12 in the first and eight in the second before coming back strong and holding the lead at the final buzzer.  Derrick Williams tallied 17 points and 19 rebounds and Jamelle Horne hit three key treys in the last five minutes to push the Cats into the lead.  Led by Williams, Arizona outrebounded Washington State, 40-30, and enjoyed a 17-3 advantage in second chance points.


Scouting UCLA:  The Bruins enter tonight's game with a 13-6 record (5-2 Pac-10) following a 68-57 win Saturday over Stanford.  On the season, UCLA averages 71.9 points, shoots 46.0 percent from the floor (486-of-1057), 34.0 percent (106-of-312) from three-point range and 66.1 percent (288-of-436) from the line.  Opponents average 67.4 points, are outrebounded by 3.5 boards per game and shoot 42.3 percent from the floor (468-of-1106).  Individually, four Bruin players average in double-figures, led by Reeves Nelson's 13.9 points per game figure.  Nelson also leads UCLA with an 8.0 rebounds per game average.


The Series:  Tonight's game is the 82nd meeting of the two schools with UCLA holding a 47-34 series advantage.  Arizona has won 14 of the last 26 meetings in the series, which dates back to Feb. 19, 1923, but UCLA captured the last, a 75-69 win in Los Angeles as Part of the Pac-10 Tournament on March 11. All-time, Arizona is 20-14 in series games played in Tucson, 13-29 in Westwood, and 1-4 in neutral-site games.  For more series information, please see page 45 in the UA media guide.


Last Meeting:  UCLA 75, Arizona 69, March 11, 2010:  Arizona scored the first bucket of the game and never led again as UCLA controlled tempo and made all the hustle plays necessary to win.  The Bruins shot 53 percent from the field, won the rebounding battle and held a 16-6 advantage in turnover points in posting a six-point win. Arizona managed to trim the deficit to three or fewer points four times in the second half, but each time UCLA answered immediately with points of its own.  The loss was Arizona's fourth consecutive in the Pac-10 Tournament quarterfinals.


Quite a Week: Derrick Williams led Arizona to a road split by averaging 19.5 points, 15.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals in Arizona's two games last week.  The sophomore forward connected on 42.9 percent of his field goals (12-of-28) and 65.0 percent (13-of-20) of his free throws to go with two assists and a block and posted double-doubles in both games.  Williams opened the week by connecting on 8-of-15 field goals en route to 22 points and 11 rebounds at No. 20 Washington.  He followed that up with 17 points and a career-high 19 rebounds Saturday at Washington State, including 11 rebounds in the first half.  Williams has now scored in double figures in 29 consecutive games dating back to last season and has three consecutive double-doubles and four in his last five games.  The effort boosted his season per game averages to 19.7 points and 8.1 rebounds to go with a .623 field goal percentage.


Closing Fast: The Cats erased two sizeable deficits Saturday to earn its fourth true road win of the year.  Arizona fell behind by 12 points in the first half (22-10/8:18) and by eight in the second (45-37/11:58) before coming back to take the lead.  UA closed the first half with a 17-7 run to hold a 32-31 lead at the break and used an 18-13 push in the game's final five minutes to claim the two-point win.  It is the second time this year that UA has won a game when tied or trailing with five minutes to go in regulation.


Cleaning the Glass:  Led by Derrick Williams' game-high 19 rebounds Arizona held a commanding 40-30 rebound advantage on Saturday.  Included in the effort was a 15-6 advantage on the offensive glass, which led UA to a 17-3 advantage in second-chance points.  It marked the sixth time this season that Arizona has pulled down at least 40 rebounds, and was the 11th time that the Cats enjoyed a +10 rebound margin or better.  Through 20 games, Arizona has a +6.2 rebound margin.  Arizona is 13-1 this season when outrebounding the opposition.


Follow the Leaders:  UA starting backcourt enjoyed a solid night Saturday, as Lamont "MoMo" Jones and Kyle Fogg combined for 11 assists and just one turnover in 57 minutes of action.  Jones may have played his best game as UA's starting point guard, posting 11 points and a season-high four rebounds to go with five assists, which equaled a career high as well.  Fogg managed to pass out six assists in 29 minutes without a turnover.


A leading Indicator:  Arizona got 10 points in the final 2:07 of the first half, which enabled the Wildcats to lead 31-31 at the break.  That's a leading indicator of success this season as UA is 14-0 when leading at halftime.  Additionally, Arizona is 3-1 in games decided by five points or less.


A Great Equalizer:  It's not often that a team can win a game with a .368 field goal percentage, but one area in which the Wildcats were efficient was three-point shooting.  Against Washington State, Arizona sank 11-of-18 (.611) three-point attempts in balanced fashion, as eight different Wildcats dropped in at least one trey in the contest.  UA connected on 6-of-9 attempts from behind the arc in the second half.  Furthermore, Arizona's 11 treys Saturday equaled a season high and, interestingly, six of UA's nine second-half field goals vs. the Cougars were from behind the arc, where the club was 6-of-9.  On the year, Arizona shoots 39.7 percent (158-of-398), a figure that leads the Pac-10 Conference and ranks 21st nationally.


Beware of the Fogg:  Credit Kyle Fogg with a solid defensive effort, as well, on Saturday, as the 6-foot-3 junior from Brea, Calif., drew the primary defensive assignment on WSU's Klay Thompson, who entered the contest as the Pac-10 leading scorer.  Fogg held Thompson to a season-low nine points on 4-of-16 shooting.  Thompson's output was nearly 14 points below his scoring average of 22.9 ppg entering the contest and snapped a streak of 22 straight games in double figures.


On a Roll:  Sophomore Derrick Williams posted his third consecutive double-double Saturday, collecting 17 points and a career-high 19 rebounds.  Nine of the 6-foot-8 forward's 19 rebounds came on the offensive glass, and Williams tallied 11 rebounds in the first half alone.  It was also the fourth double-double in five games (seventh this season/10 career) for Williams, who is averaging 23.0 points and 12.2 rebounds in that span.  Tangentially, Williams has scored in double figures in 48 of 51 career appearances with 17 of those being 20-points or better.


Record Setter:  Derrick Williams' 19 rebounds Saturday at Washington State were the most for a Pac-10 player this season.  He collected nine offensive boards in the effort, three more than the entire WSU club managed.  Williams' 19 boards also set a UA record for rebounds by an individual in a Pac-10 game.  Additionally, his 19 boards were the most for a Wildcat since Jordan Hill grabbed 22 vs. UAB on Nov. 18, 2008.


When it Matters Most:  Senior Jamelle Horne saved his best for last on Saturday, as he connected on three treys in the final five minutes to help Arizona pick up the 65-63 win.  His first trey with 5:09 remaining tied the contest at 50, the second gave UA a four-point lead with 2:18 to go, and the third pushed the UA lead to five at the 1:41 mark.  The 6-foot-7 Horne leads Arizona with 27 treys this season and connects on 42.9 percent (27-of-63) of his attempts from behind the arc.  He also led the Wildcats in three-point field goals a year ago with 50.


Little Things Matter:  Forward Jesse Perry continues to shine when it comes to doing what it takes to win.  Saturday at Washington State, the 6-foot-7 junior from St. Louis, Mo., scored seven points, grabbed seven rebounds (three offensive) and added a steal.  Perry, who averages 6.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in Pac-10 play, hit what might have been the biggest shot of the game, a shot-clock-beating trey at the 8:34 mark which tied the contest at 47 and capped a 10-2 UA run.  His trey set the stage for Horne to answer the bell, as mentioned above.


Stepping in, stepping Up:  One of the UA sparks off the bench has been Brendon Lavender.  The 6-foot-5 junior guard from Mesa, Ariz., contributed six points with a pair of treys, equaled a career-high with two steals and grabbed a rebound in 11 minutes of action Saturday.  Incidentally, Lavender, who ranks third on the team with 22 three-pointers, averages one trey for every 11.8 minutes of action, the best of any of the Arizona regulars.


Scoring 80:  Arizona scored 80 points Jan. 15 vs. Arizona State, topping the 80-point plateau for the eighth time this year.  Arizona has scored 80 in six of 11 home games this season.  Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 194-19 (.911) 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 Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va.; 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 and

Up Next:  Following tonight's game, Arizona closes out the first half of the Pac-10 schedule by hosting USC on Saturday, Jan. 29.  The game is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. MST and can be seen nationally on FOX Sports Arizona.

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