Dec. 6, 2010
Date: Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010
Time: 6:30 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: KWBA/Fox College Sports Central (Dave Sitton/Corey Williams)
Game Data: Arizona (7-1, 0-0 Pac-10) looks to extend its winning ways in December when it hosts Cal State Fullerton (3-5, 0-0 Big West) Wednesday in McKale Center ... At 7-1, The Wildcats are off to its best start since the 2003-04 campaign ... Arizona is averaging 85.4 points per game in its five home games, and have won those contests by an average margin of 30.6 ppg ... Seven of Arizona’s 10 regulars are shooting 50 percent or better from the field ... The Wildcats have led at the half of each home game to date by an average margin of 16 points ... All seven of Arizona’s wins this season have been by 23 or more points ... Tonight’s game will be the 100 career appearance for Jamelle Horne, UA’s lone senior.
The Rankings: Arizona remains unranked in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. The Cats started the season unranked for just the fourth time in the last 24 seasons.
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 143-63 (.694) and 23-16 (.590) 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 0-0 vs. Cal State Fullerton as a head coach.
Last Time Out: Arizona used 56 percent shooting and a balanced offensive attack to pull away from Oklahoma, 83-60, Sunday as part of the Big12/Pac-10 Hardwod Challenge. The Cats hit 29-of-52 field goal attempts, including 11-of-16 from three-point range, saw seven players score eight or more points, committed a season-low 10 turnovers and never trailed. Bench scoring made the difference as Arizona outscored Oklahoma, 37-10. Derrick Williams tallied 16 points, while Solomon Hill added 10.
Scouting Cal State Fullerton: The Titans enter tonight’s game with a 3-5 record (0-0 Big West) following Saturday’s 90-76 win over San Diego. On the season, CSUF averages 71.4 points, shoots 44.2 percent from the floor (185-of-419), 35.4 percent (57-of-161) from three-point range and 75.0 percent (144-of-192) from the line. Opponents average 75.0 points, outrebound CSUF by 0.5 boards per game and shoot 44.5 percent from the floor (200-of-449). Individually, three Titans average in double-figures, led by Devon Peltier’ 15.6 ppg average. Orane Chin leads Fullerton with a 6.5 rebounds per game average.
The Series: Tonight’s game is the fifth meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 3-1 series advantage. Arizona won the first two games in the series, which dates back to Jan. 6, 1976, but the Titans broke though with a 67-66 win in Tucson on Dec. 1, 1983. The Cats and Titans last met on Nov. 28, 2007, in Tucson, a 91-65 UA win. All-time, Arizona is 3-1 in series games played in Tucson, 0-0 in Fullerton, Calif., and 0-0 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 43 in the UA media guide.
Last Meeting: Arizona 91, Cal State Fullerton 65, Nov. 28, 2007: Hot shooting and solid defense helped Arizona score 53 first-half points, hold a 23-point halftime lead and cruise to victory. UA shot 67 percent from the floor and held CSUF to just a 36.4 percent clip in the first period. Twelve players saw action and contributed to an effort that saw the Cats outshoot, outrebound and outdefend the visiting Titans. Jerryd Bayless led all scorers with 21 points, while Chase Budinger and Jamelle Horne chipped in with 17 and 12 points, respectively.
Against the Big West: All-time, Arizona is 25-5 (.833) against schools that currently make up the Big West Conference. The last time the Cats faced a Big West opponent came the last time CSUF visited McKale Center: Nov. 28, 2007 (see above for more information). For a conference breakdown, see page 47 in the UA media guide.
A Good Guy To Follow: Derrick Williams led Arizona to a 2-0 week and the best overall record in the Pac-10 by averaging 17.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals in Arizona’s two games last week. The sophomore forward connected on 78.6 percent of his field goals (11-of-14) and 83.3 percent (10-of-12) from the line, and added two treys, a block and an assist. Williams opened the week with his second double-double of the year with 18 points 10 rebounds at Rice, hitting 7-of-8 field goals and grabbing five offensive rebounds. He followed that up with 16 points (4-of-6 FG), four rebounds and a career-high four steals in Sunday’s 23-point win over Oklahoma. Williams has finished in double figures in eight games this year and has a streak of 17 consecutive games in double figures dating back to last season. This year, Williams averages 20.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game, while shooting 67.1 percent (51-of-76) from the field. He was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for his efforts.
Extrapolating is fun: Because it’s never too early to extrapolate data (and sometimes incredibly useless), let’s take a look at some Arizona statistics to date and compare those to the season-long charts and see where things stand, even though three-quarters of the season remains. The Cats are averaging 84.0 points per game and haven’t done that for a season since 2003-04 (87.1 ppg), capping a three-year run that saw Arizona score more total points in that span than any other team in the nation. UA is shooting 51.7 percent from the floor and haven’t done that since the 1991-92 campaign (.503), ending a streak of five straight seasons with a FG percentage of 50 percent or better. Arizona is limiting opponents to 59.6 points per game and haven’t accomplished that feat since 1950-51 (55.3 ppg), a year that saw the Cats appear in both the NCAA and N.I.T. postseason tournaments.
Piling Up Points: The Wildcat offense has certainly got out of the gate quickly this season, averaging 84.0 points per game, a figure that ranks second in the Pac-10 and 12th nationally. As was the case Sunday vs. Oklahoma, there is definite consistency to the effort, witnessed by UA’s 40 points in the first half and 43 in the second. Through eight games this year, Arizona has scored 40 or more points in 10 of 16 halves and at least once in each game. Additionally, the Wildcats have been outscored in a half just three times to date: twice vs. Kansas and once vs. Northern Colorado (39-36/2nd).
Everyone Contributes: All 15 players saw action in Sunday’s win over Oklahoma, marking the third time this year that everyone has found their way into the boxscore. Perhaps most impressively, Arizona has gotten consistent contributions from nearly all 15 guys. Against OU, seven UA players scored eight or more points and no one played more than 26 minutes. Cumulatively, Arizona is averaging better than 80 points per game and has just two double-figure scorers (Williams, 20.0 ppg/Hill, 10.0 ppg), and has 10 players averaging double-figure minutes. Only once this season has an Arizona player logged as many as 30 minutes in a game: 30 by Solomon Hill vs. New Mexico State, Nov. 18.
Unselfish Play: Arizona passed out 20 assists Sunday against Oklahoma, reaching the 20-assist plateau for the third time this season. Six different Wildcats notched multiple-assist games, led by Solomon Hill, Lamont Jones, Kyle Fogg and Kevin Parrom, who each had three. Through eight games, Arizona averages 17.1 assists per game and is led by Kyle Fogg’s 3.6 apg figure.
Ball Security: The Wildcats set a season low with 10 assists Sunday vs. the Sooners, a figure nearly four miscues below the team’s season average (13.8 topg). The effort enabled Arizona to post a 25-13 advantage in turnover points in the 23-point win. It also boosted UA’s turnover margin to +1.1 for the season. By comparison, UA carried a -1.2 turnover margin last year.
Rule the Air: Led by Jordin Mayes 3-of-6 effort Sunday, Arizona connected on 11-of-16 three-point field goal attempts (.688), which was a season high for accuracy. The effort boosted UA’s season-long three-point field goal percentage to .406 (73-of-180). Sunday’s game was the third straight contest in which the Cats have tallied 10 or more treys. In that span, Arizona has connected on 32-of-69 (.464) attempts from behind the arc, a figure that is 42 percent of the team’s total attempts.
The Power of 10: A balanced effort on the glass Sunday, gave Arizona a 31-21 rebound advantage over Oklahoma. It marked the seventh time in eight games that UA has won the rebound battle, and more impressively, marked the sixth time this season that the Wildcats have won those battles by 10 or more. Arizona’s +11.4 rebound margin leads the Pac-10 and ranks seventh nationally.
What Else Can he Do?: As if being Arizona’s leading scorer in all eight games and its top rebounder in five, sophomore Derrick Williams established a new career high with four steals in Sunday’s win, which was also an individual high for the Cats this season. The 6-foot-8 forward boosted his shooting percentages to 67.1 percent from the floor (51-of-76), 81.8 percent from three-point range (9-of-11) and 79.0 percent from the free throw line (49-of-62).
A Boost from the Bench: Forward Jesse Perry continues to play inspired ball off the Wildcat bench. Sunday against Oklahoma, the 6-foot-7 junior from St. Louis, Mo., hit 4-of-5 shots en route to a season-high nine points to go with five rebounds and an assist in 17 minutes. Perry has now collected five or more rebounds in four of eight appearances this season, and is averaging 5.1 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
Production from the Point: Arizona’s point guards – sophomore Lamont Jones and freshman Jordin Mayes – combined to tally 17 points, five rebounds, five assists and just one turnover in 33 minutes of action Sunday against Oklahoma. On the season, the duo has combined for a 1.4:1 assist:tunrover ratio.
Go to Solo: Forward Solomon Hill has become one of Arizona’s most consistent weapons by averaging 10.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 56.3 percent (27-of-48) from the field. The 6-foot-6 sophomore has already scored in double figures five times in 2010-11.
Scoring 80: Arizona scored 83 points Sunday vs. Oklahoma, topping the 80-point plateau for the sixth time this year. Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 192-19 (.910) 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., Sacramento High School; make up a class that was ranked in the top-10 nationally by both espn.com and rivals.com.
Up Next: Following tonight’s game, the Wildcats head back on the road to face No. 18 BYU in Salt Lake City. Tip-off on Saturday, Dec. 11, at Energy Solutions Arena is scheduled for 4 p.m. MST and can be seen on BYUtv.