Jan. 22, 2013
Date: Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013
Time: 7 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,538), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach) [Sirius/XM: 91/91]
TV: ESPN2 (Dave Pasch/Bill Walton/Samantha Ponder)
GAME DATA: No. 6 Arizona (16-1, 4-1 Pac-12) returns home for a pivotal Pac-12 match-up against UCLA (15-4, 5-1 Pac-12) Thursday in McKale Center ... It marks the third annual "WHITEOUT" in UA's legendary home facility ... Arizona has been ranked in the top 10 of both polls for 10 consecutive polling periods, becoming the first Pac-12 team to accomplish that feat since UCLA in 2007-08 ... In nine home games to date, UA averages 78.9 ppg, posts a +15.7 scoring margin and a +8.4 rebound margin and shoots .480 (231-of-481) from the field.
THE RANKINGS: UA is ranked sixth 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 10 consecutive weeks.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Sean Miller . . . is in his fourth season at the University of Arizona and his ninth overall as a college head coach with a record of 205-83 (.712) and 85-36 (.702) at Arizona ... In his eight-plus year career, Miller's teams have won 20 games six times and captured five regular-season or postseason tournament titles ... 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, earning Pac-10 Conference and NABC District 20 Coach-of-the-Year honors ... 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 16 trips to the postseason in his 19 seasons as a head, assistant or associate head coach (9 NCAA/7 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, all 23 players to complete eligibility under Miller have earned their degrees ... Miller has recruited classes ranked in the top-10 nationally in each of the last two seasons ... He is assisted by James Whitford, Emanuel Richardson and Joe Pasternack ... Miller is 5-4 vs. UCLA as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: Mark Lyons scored 15 of his game-high 24 points in the second half as Arizona pulled away for a 71-54 win Saturday at Arizona State. The Cats shot 56 percent from the field - nine of its 14 FGs in the half were dunks or lay-ups - and outscored the Sun Devils, 42-28 in the closing period. UA outrebounded ASU by six, forced 17 turnovers and held them to less than 40 percent shooting. Nick Johnson added 19 points, while Solomon Hill chipped in with 13 points, six rebounds and a game-high five assists.
SCOUTING UCLA: The Bruins enter tonight's game with a 15-4 record (5-1 Pac-12) following Saturday's 76-67 home loss to Oregon. On the season, UCLA averages 77.6 points per game, shoots 47.6 percent from the floor (546-of-1,146), 35.2 percent (90-of-256) from three-point range and 72.0 percent (293-of-407) from the line. Opponents average 68.3 points, are outrebounded by 2.1 per game and shoot 41.4 percent from the floor (490-of-1,184). Individually, three UCLA players average in double figures, led by Shabazz Muhammad's 17.9 ppg figure. Kyle Anderson leads the Bruins in rebounding at 9.1 rebounds per game.
THE SERIES: Tonight's game is the 87th meeting of the two schools with UCLA holding a 49-37 series advantage. Arizona has won 17 of the last 31 meetings in the series, which dates back to Feb. 19, 1923, including the last, a 66-58 win in the Pacific Life Pac-12 Tournament, on March 8, 2012. All-time, Arizona is 22-14 in series games played in Tucson, 13-30 in Westwood, and 2-5 in neutral-site games (includes last January's game in Anaheim). For more series information, please see page 49 in the UA media guide.
LAST MEETING: Arizona 66, UCLA 58, March 8, 2012: Solomon Hill, Jesse Perry and Kyle Fogg combined for 55 of Arizona's 66 points to lead the Cats. UA practically lived at the free throw line, connecting on 31-of-36 in the contest, including 24-of-27 in the second half. Arizona led for 38:26 of this contest, but it was four freebies by Hill with just under six minutes to go after the Bruins had tied it that gave the Cats the lead for good. Hill and Perry each posted double-doubles and helped UA control the glass, 39-30. Nick Johnson tallied four blocks for the Cats.
FOLLOW HIS LEAD: Mark Lyons helped Arizona to a win in its only game last week by totaling a game-high 24 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals at Arizona, while shooting 53.3 percent (8-of-15) from the field and 100.0 percent (6-of-6) from the line, and was named Pac-12 Player of the Week. He equaled a season high with both the 24 points and three steals and tallied 15 of those 24 points in the second half, including six in the decisive 15-5 run midway through the period, as the Wildcats pulled away for the 17-point win. It was Lyons' fourth 20-point game this season. On the year, Lyons averages 15.2 points, 1.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game to go with a .437 field goal percentage.
GOOD AT BOTH ENDS: The Arizona defense limited Arizona State to just 39.1 percent (18-of-46) shooting from the field Saturday, holding the Sun Devils to less than 10 field goals each half. It marked the second straight league opponent, (10th foe this season) to fail to break the 40-percent barrier against the Wildcats. Through 17 games, UA opponents are shooting a cumulative .402 (371-of-923) from the field. The Wildcat offense tallied 71 points vs. ASU, marking the first time the homestanding Sun Devils had allowed more than 70 points in eight games. Additionally, UA held ASU to a season-low 54 points, a figure that was 18.6 points below its season scoring average entering the contest. Arizona held the lead for the game's final 27 minutes Saturday.
SUB 60 AND 20: The Cats put together a solid defensive effort Saturday, holding Arizona State to less than 60 points and fewer than 20 field goals. It marks the fourth time this season that Arizona has accomplished the feat with the last time coming against Miami, Fla., on Dec. 23 when UA held the Hurricanes to 19 field goals (in 52 atts./.365) and 50 points in what was a 19-point Arizona win.
SINGLE DIGITS: Arizona played Saturday's game with only nine turnovers, which marked the fourth time this season that the team kept its miscues in single digits. Additionally, the Wildcats forced 17 ASU turnovers Saturday and enjoyed an 18-11 advantage in points off turnovers. Through 17 games Arizona has a +1 turnover margin, but the Cats have been far better at converting those miscues into points, as UA averages 5.4 more turnover points per game than the opposition.
CHIPPING IN: Kevin Parrom tallied eight points and four rebounds in Saturday's win, connecting on 2-of-4 field goals and all four free throws in 24 minutes of action. Over the last 10 games, the senior swingman is averaging 9.1 points and 5.4 rebounds to go with a .493 (34-of-69) field goal percentage.
WHAT WE DO BEST: UA continues to do a great job on the glass, as the Cats outrebounded ASU, 33-27. Arizona has outrebounded 14 of 17 opponents to date this season, including the last five consecutive. Currently, Arizona boasts a +9.4 rebound margin, a figure that leads the Pac-12, and 10 of its 14 positive rebounding efforts this year have been by 10 or more.
A WALL OF PRODUCTIVITY: The UA starting frontcourt stood tall in Saturday's win, as the trio of Brandon Ashley, Solomon Hill and Kaleb Tarczewski combined for 20 points, 17 rebounds, six assists and just two turnovers to go with 8-of-19 (.421) shooting, while the Arizona State frontline starters amassed 14 points, 15 rebounds, two assists and 11 turnovers to go with 4-of-18 (.222) shooting. Tarczewski, the 7-foot freshman from Claremont, N.H., pulled down a game-high eight caroms to notch his 12th game this year with five or more boards.
TO OUR ADVANTAGE: Arizona enjoyed sizeable advantages in both points in the paint (32-18) and second-chance points (10-0) in Saturday's win. Much of the damage came in the second half, as UA connected on 56.0 percent of its field goal attempts (14-of-25) with nine of those field goals being either lay-ups or dunks, four of which were credited to Nick Johnson. Further, UA outscored ASU, 42-28, in the second half to mirror a season-long trend that has seen the Wildcats outscore the opposition by an average of 7.8 points in the second period alone. UA connects on 220-of-444 (.495) of its shots from the floor after the halftime break.
GUARDED OPTIMISM: For the second straight game, UA's starting backcourt was stellar, as Mark Lyons and Nick Johnson combined for 43 points (25 in the second half), five rebounds, five assists and five steals at Arizona State, while connecting on 15-of-28 (.536) field goal attempts. A week earlier at Oregon State, the duo tallied 30 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and three steals in a 10-point win. On the season, Lyons and Johnson combine to average 27.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game.
HE'S JUST GOOD: Senior forward Solomon Hill continues give the Cats consistent production across the board, as witnessed by his 13-point, six-rebound, season-high, five-assist performance against Arizona State. As Sean Miller said of Hill after the game, "In the moments when the game was in the balance, he answered the bell." The 6-foot-7 Los Angeles, Calif., product connected on 6-of-11 field goals and played a season-high 39 minutes with just one turnover. On the year, Hill averages 13.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.
FROM BEHIND THE ARC: As of Jan. 21, Arizona led all Pac-12 teams with its .382 (135-of-353) three-point field goal percentage and its average of 7.9 made treys per game. What's best for the Wildcats is the fact that it's a collective effort, as five UA players have made at least 14 treys to date. From a percentage standpoint, Arizona is the only team in the conference to have three individuals listed among the top 15 shooters in the league, as Solomon Hill (3rd/.435), Kevin Parrom (5th/.420) and Nick Johnson (9th/.377) all rank among the best.
ALWAYS ON THE RUN: Arizona has displayed a knack for timely runs so far this season. Saturday at Arizona State, the Wildcats used an 11-0 run to build a 13-point lead and all but end things. 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
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
15-4 run over 7:53 (1st+2nd) at Oregon State, Jan. 12
14-4 run over 5:48 (2nd) vs. Southern Miss, Dec. 4
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, Arizona next will be in action on Saturday, Jan. 26, when the Cats host USC. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. MST and can be seen on ESPNU.