Feb. 1, 2013
Date: Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013
Time: 7 p.m. PST
Location: Friel Court (11,671), Pullman, Wash.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Kevin Calabro/Brevin Knight)
GAME DATA: No. 8 Arizona (18-2, 6-2 Pac-12) closes the first half of Pac-12 play at Washington State (11-10, 2-6 Pac-12) Saturday in Pullman ... The Wildcats go for its first road sweep in Pac-12 action this year and seek a sweep of the Washington schools for the first time since the 2005-06 season and have won on Thursday in the state just twice in the last six years ... The last two series meetings in the Palouse have been decided by a total of six points - both UA wins ... Since the start of the 2009-10 season, Arizona is a Pac-12-best 17-14 (.548) in conference road games.
THE RANKINGS: UA is ranked eighth in both the Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. The Wildcats have been ranked in the top 10 in both polls for 11 consecutive weeks, the most by a Pac-12 team in five years.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Joe Pasternack ... Miller is 4-2 vs. Washington State as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: A Nick Johnson jumper with 2:01 to go gave Arizona the lead for good in a hard-fought road win, 57-53, Thursday at Washington. UA managed to win despite shooting 35.1 percent from the field by outrebounding UW 36-35, forcing 17 turnovers and limiting the Huskies to 30.8 percent shooting in the second half. Johnson scored 13 of his game-high 15 points in the second half, including eight in a 15-6 run that gave UA its biggest lead of the game with six minutes remaining. Four Cats finished in double figures as UA won in Seattle for the first time since 2007.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON STATE: The Cougars enter tonight's game with an 11-10 record (2-6 Pac-12) following Thursday's 63-59 loss to Arizona State. On the season, Washington State averages 63.4 points per game, shoots 42.4 percent from the floor (470-of-1,108), 33.0 percent (136-of-412) from three-point range and 66.8 percent (255-of-382) from the line. Opponents average 59.6 points, are outrebounded by 3.3 per game and shoot 40.6 percent from the floor (444-of-1,094). Individually, two WSU players average in double figures, led by Brock Motum's 18.5 ppg figure. Motum also leads the Cougars in rebounding at 6.8 rebounds per game.
THE SERIES: Tonight's game is the 72nd meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 55-16 series advantage. Arizona has won 48 of the last 54 meetings in the series, which dates back to Dec. 22, 1959, including the last, an 76-72 win on Feb. 16, 2012, in Pullman. All-time, Arizona is 27-8 in series games played in Tucson, 23-8 in Pullman, Wash., and 5-0 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 50 in the UA media guide.
LAST MEETING: Arizona 76, Washington State 72, Feb. 16, 2012: It was the Wildcat offense that got a chance to rise to the occasion, as the squad shot 60 percent from the floor in the second half and hit its free throws down the stretch in a four-point road win. Kyle Fogg collected his first career double-double (16 pts./10 reb.), leading a slew of six Cats with eight or more points. In a game that featured 11 ties and 11 lead changes, it was free throws that settled it, as UA was 7-of-7 in the last five minutes, while WSU hit just 3-of-7.
A MILESTONE: Saturday's game marks the 125th for Miller as the Arizona head coach, entering the contest with a record of 87-37 (.702) in three-plus years in Tucson. Here is a quick look at how Miller's 125-game start compares to the other UA head coaches to mentor as many games on the Wildcat sideline: Fred Enke, 93-32 (.744); Fred Snowden, 91-34 (.728); Lute Olson, 77-48 (.616); and Bruce Larson, 69-56 (.552).
LOOKING AT 21: With its win Thursday, Arizona stands at 18-2 on the season, marking the 10th time in program history that UA has started 18-2 or better through its first 20 games of the season. Since 1928-29 - the first time the Wildcats played more than 20 regular-season games - Arizona has posted a 19-1 record twice (1946-47, 1987-88) and an 18-2 record eight times (1928-29, 1931-32, 1942-43, 1949-50, 1988-89, 1992-93, 2002-03, 2012-13). Of the eight previous times that UA played a 21st game in those seasons (1931-32 played only 20 games), the Cats won its 21st game six times (1943, `47, `50, `88, `93 and 2003).
ROUND NUMBERS: The quartet of Nick Johnson, Solomon Hill, Kaleb Tarczewski and Mark Lyons combined for 45 of Arizona's 57 points Thursday, and each finished in double figures in the process. For two of those Cats, they reached round numbers in terms of career double-figure scoring games, as it was Lyons' 80th game with 10 or more points and the 30th for Johnson.
COMING BACK: The Wildcats trailed 28-23 at halftime Thursday, which was the sixth time that Arizona has trailed at the half. The team has been good at erasing those deficits, as the Cats are 4-2 when trailing at the break. To date, the largest halftime deficit UA has erased in a win this season was eight (35-27) on Dec. 4 vs. Southern Miss.
CLAMPING DOWN: Arizona limited Washington to a .368 (21-of-57) field goal percentage in Thursday's win, including a .308 (8-of-26) effort in the second half. Over the last two games, the Wildcat have held the opposition to a combined .322 field goal percentage (39-of-121). Through 20 games, UA opponents are shooting a cumulative .398 (442-of-1,111) percent from the field and 12 of those 20 foes have failed to shoot at least 40 percent from the floor against the Cats.
WE'VE SEEN THIS BEFORE: Arizona claimed another win by five points or less Thursday, improving the team's record to 4-1 in 2012-13 in those close contests. In the Sean Miller era, the Wildcats are 13-8 (.619) in Pac-12 games decided by five points or less.
BOARD WORK: After trailing on the boards 18-13 in the first half, UA bounced back and outrebounded UW 23-17 in the second period and win the battle of the boards, 36-35. On the season, the Cats have outrebounded 16 of 20 opponents, including seven of eight Pac-12 foes. In the Sean Miller era, Arizona is 65-14 when outrebounding the opposition.
GETTING BETTER: Arizona held Washington to just one three-point field goal in 12 attempts, good for a season-low .083 three-point percentage. Over the last five games, the Wildcats' three-point field goal defense has shown great improvement, as UA has held those foes to a combined .253 percentage (19-of-75) from behind the arc. On the year, UA opponents are connecting on .350 (124-of-354) percent of its long-range attempts.
MAKE IT WORK: In a game that awkwardly featured 34 combined turnovers, Arizona somehow managed to make that statistic work for them, as the Cats held a 20-10 advantage in turnover points Thursday in Seattle. On average, Arizona scores +5.4 more points off turnovers than the opposition so far. Here are two facts about the multitude of miscues on Thursday. First, it took 37:58 for both teams to have more field goals made than turnovers committed. Second, only five of Arizona's 17 turnovers came in the second half and the Cats didn't have one miscue in the final 9:30.
MORE ROUND NUMBERS: Wildcat senior Solomon Hill enters Saturday's game just four rebounds shy of 700 for his career. Currently, the 6-foot-7 forward from Los Angeles, Calif., ranks third on the squad with a 5.5 rebounds per game average and carries a 5.6 rebounds per game average over his 124-game career. He has 14 games with five or more boards this season.
SOLID ON "D": For a guy who scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half, Nick Johnson's greatest impact in Thursday's win over Washington may have been on defense. The 6-foot-3 sophomore guard from Gilbert, Ariz., held C.J. Wilcox, the Pac-12's leading scorer in conference play, to just 11 points - nine points below his scoring average entering the game - on 4-of-16 shooting. Additionally, Johnson collected four steals and a season-high three blocked shots to go with a season-best six rebounds. On the year, Johnson averages 13.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists and leads the Pac-12 Conference with 46 steals.
STEPPING UP: Freshman center Kaleb Tarczewski notched his second straight game in double figures with 10 points Thursday, bolstered by 6-of-7 shooting from the line, in a season-high 29 minutes of action. The 7-foot center also grabbed eight rebounds, marking the eighth time this year that he's collected seven or more rebounds in a game. Incidentally, Tarczewski is averaging 7.7 rebounds per game in six true road games to date.
AT THE LINE: Arizona converted 14-of-19 (.737) free throws Thursday at Washington, outscoring the Huskies, 14-10 from the stripe. UA, the Pac-12's best free throw shooting team at .753 (330-of-438), outscores its opponents by an average of 5.4 points per game from the free throw line. To date, Arizona has made more free throws (330) than the opposition has attempted (327).
ALWAYS ON THE RUN: Arizona has displayed a knack for timely runs so far this season. Saturday vs. USC, the Wildcats used an 18-4 run to open the game and put things out of reach quickly. Here is a look at UA's notable runs to date:
26-3 run over 8:41 (2nd) at Texas Tech, Dec. 1
27-8 run over 6:53 (2nd+ot) vs. Colorado, Jan. 3
21-4 run over 9:07 (2nd) vs. Long Beach State, Nov. 19
23-6 run over 7:55 (1st) vs. Long Beach State, Nov. 19
22-7 run over 8:56 (2nd) at Clemson, Dec. 8
18-4 run over 6:28 (1st) vs. USC, Jan. 26
13-0 run over 4:26 (2nd) vs. UTEP, Nov. 15
14-2 run over 4:10 (2nd) vs. Northern Arizona, Nov. 28
22-10 run over 9:27 (1st) vs. Charleston Southern, Nov. 11
11-0 run over 3:38 (2nd) at Arizona State, Jan. 19
11-0 run over 3:13 (2nd) vs. Oral Roberts, Dec. 18
RECRUITING CLASS: The Arizona coaching staff signed two student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent as part of the November early signing period. Rondae Jefferson (F, 6-7, 215) from Chester, Pa., who preps at Chester H.S.; and Elliott Pitts (G, 6-5, 180) from Dublin, Calif., who preps at De La Salle H.S.; make up a class that is ranked No. 18 nationally by espn.com.
UP NEXT: Following tonight's contest, the Wildcats next will be in action on Wednesday, Feb. 6, when the team hosts Stanford. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST and can be seen on ESPNews.