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Cats Close Road Swing at ASU Saturday
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/16/2013
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Jan. 16, 2013

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Date: Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013
Time: 12:30 p.m. PST
Location: Wells Fargo Arena (10,734), Tempe, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: FOX Sports Net (Steve Physioc/Corey Williams)

GAME DATA: No. 7 Arizona (15-1, 3-1 Pac-12) closes a three game road swing Saturday at intrastate rival Arizona State (14-3, 3-1 Pac-12) in a nationally televised game on FOX Sports Net ... The Wildcats and Sun Devils meet on the hardwood for the 223rd time ... Three of the last six series meetings at Wells Fargo Arena have been decided by seven points or less with the teams splitting those results ... UA has a 3-1 record in true road games this year, carrying a +11.4 scoring margin in those games.

THE RANKINGS: UA is ranked seventh 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 nine 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 204-83 (.711) and 84-36 (.700) 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 5-3 vs. Arizona State as a head coach.

LAST TIME OUT: The Cats sandwiched a 15-4 burst around halftime that pushed its lead to 12 points en route to what became an 80-70 win Saturday at Oregon State. UA's lead never dipped below double figures in the last 17 minutes as UA limited OSU to 39 percent shooting and outrebounded the Beavers by six. Arizona sank 10 treys and shot 47.5 percent from the floor in earning its first conference road win of the season. Four Cats finished in double figures, and Grant Jerrett added eight points, five boards and six blocked shots.

SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils enter today's game with a 14-3 record (3-1 Pac-12) following Sunday's 68-65 loss at Oregon. On the season, Arizona State averages 72.6 points per game, shoots 46.1 percent from the floor (440-of-955), 34.0 percent (122-of-359) from three-point range and 61.5 percent (233-of-379) from the line. Opponents average 63.5 points, are outrebounded by 1.2 per game and shoot 38.4 percent from the floor (401-of-1044). Individually, three ASU players average in double figures, led by Jahi Carson's 17.1 ppg figure. Carrick Felix leads the Sun Devils in rebounding at 8.1 rebounds per game.

THE SERIES: Today's game is the 223rd meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 142-80 series advantage. Arizona has won 28 of the last 36 meetings in the series, which dates back to 1914, but ASU captured the last, an 87-80 decision on March 4, 2012, in Tempe. All-time, Arizona is 79-28 in series games played in Tucson, 62-51 in Tempe, and 1-1 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 46 in the UA media guide.

LAST MEETING: Arizona State 87, Arizona 80, March 4, 2012: In a game featuring 11 ties and 22 lead changes, Arizona State displayed the poise necessary in the second half to pull away late. The Sun Devils quickly erased a six-point halftime deficit, shot 60 percent from the floor, sank 16-of-17 free throws and committed just two turnovers in the period. In a one-point game with 51 seconds to go, ASU went 6-of-6 from the line to decide things. Kyle Fogg's 23 points led Arizona.

PLAYMAKER: Mark Lyons helped Arizona to a split last week by averaging 18.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, while shooting 44.8 percent (13-of-29) from the field and 80.0 percent (8-of-10) from the line. He opened the week with 21 points, his third 20-point game of the season, two rebounds and four assists Thursday at Oregon, and followed that up with 16 points, a season-high five rebounds, five assists and a pair of steals in Saturday's win at Oregon State. Lyons has now passed out four or more assists in a game eight times this season, including the last three consecutive. On the year, he averages 14.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game to go with a .429 field goal percentage.

FORWARDS, MARCH: Led by its starting forwards who combined to make 11-of-18 (.611), the Wildcats connected on 47.5 percent (28-of-59) of field goal attempts Saturday at Oregon State, which was the team's highest field goal percentage in five games. On the year, Arizona shoots .463 (408-of-882) from the field, but connected on just .416 (121-of-291) of its shots in the five games prior to its visit to Corvallis.

STILL CLEANING THE GLASS: Despite suffering its first loss of the season, Arizona outrebounded both Oregon (32-28) and Oregon State (43-37) by +5 margin and have outrebounded 13 of 16 opponents to date this season. The Wildcats have outrebounded its last four opponents and seven of the last eight, and 10 of those 13 positive rebounding efforts this year have been by 10 or more. To date, Arizona holds a +9.6 rebound margin, a figure that leads the Pac-12 Conference.

UNDER 40: The Cats held Oregon State to 39.3 percent shooting (24-of-61) Saturday in Corvallis, marking the ninth time this season - and first in Pac-12 play - that Arizona has held an opponent to less than 40-percent shooting. The in-conference defensive effort was much needed, as UA's league opponents are currently outshooting Arizona, .443-.427. Now past the halfway point of the regular season, Arizona opponents are shooting a cumulative .403 (353-of-877) from the field.

LONG RANGE GOALS: Another welcome sight in Saturday's win was a spirited attack from three-point range. Led by Solomon Hill, who knocked down a career-best five treys in Corvallis, Arizona knocked down 10 treys (in 25 attempts/.400), marking just the third time this season, and first since UA's sank 12 vs. Northern Arizona on Nov. 28, that Arizona has made 10 or more treys in a game. On the season, Arizona shoots .386 (130-of-337) from behind the arc.

A NICE COMBINATION: The Wildcat starting backcourt of Mark Lyons and Nick Johnson combined for 30 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and three steals Saturday at Oregon State. Both Lyons (5) and Johnson (6) equaled season highs in rebounding, while the duo turned it over just three times in 68 minutes played.

STANDING TALL: It's worth noting that Arizona averaged 6.0 blocked shots per game on the Oregon road trip, a figure that is a bit above UA's season-long 4.0 blocks per game average. Included in the effort was a season-high nine blocks Saturday at Oregon State, fueled mostly by the effort of freshman forward Grant Jerrett, who tallied a UA season-high six blocks of his own. Jerrett's total was the highest individual total for a Wildcat since Jamelle Horne blocked seven shots vs. Colorado on Nov. 24, 2009.

JUST DO WHAT YOU DO: Forward Solomon Hill continues to play like the senior leader he is, as he averaged 16.0 points and 6.0 rebounds this week in Oregon. That continues a solid run for the 6-foot-7 native of Los Angeles, Calif., who is averaging 17.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game over his last five outings to go with a .538 field goal percentage (28-of-52), including .571 (12-of-21) from three-point range. On the year, Hill is averaging 13.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game to go with a .458 (66-of-144) field goal percentage.

A COLLECTIVE EFFORT: Arizona's freshmen big men - Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett and Kaleb Tarczewski - combined to score 25 points, grab 17 rebounds and block six shots in the 80-70 win at Oregon State. The trio connected on 10-of-16 shots (.625). For the weekend, their collective efforts helped UA outscore the Oregon schools 66-58 when it came to points in the paint. On the season, Ashley, Jerrett and Tarczewski have combined for 11 games with 10 or more points and 26 games with five or more rebounds, including five games with 10 or more boards.

ON THE RISE: Mark Lyons certainly has been a strong addition for the Wildcats, as he currently leads the team in scoring (14.6 ppg), free throw percentage (.861) and assists (3.3 apg). Over the last eight games, he's been even better, averaging 15.8 points and 4.1 assists per game in that span to go with a team-leading 1.4:1 assist:turnover ratio.

GETTING OFFENSIVE: Not only has Kaleb Tarczewski proven to be a solid rebounder - currently he leads the team with a 5.9 rpg average - but he has been especially good at collecting offensive rebounds. His 39 offensive rebounds currently lead the Wildcats and no player in this game (averaging more than 11 minutes per game) has a higher percentage of his rebounds on the offensive boards than Tarczewski's 41.5 percent (39 of 94). Over the course of the season, Arizona averages 3.2 more offensive rebounds than the opposition. In Pac-12 Play, that figure is +5.5.

AWAY FROM HOME: After dropping Thursday's game at Oregon, Arizona bounced back with a 10-point win Saturday at Oregon State to earn a split in its first Pac-12 road trip last weekend and move to 3-1 in true road games this season. Additionally, the Wildcats own a 74.2 ppg scoring average in four true road games this year.

SCORING 80: Arizona scored 80 points Saturday at Oregon State, topping the 80-point plateau for the seventh time this year (7-0). Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 213-20 (.914) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. In the Sean Miller era, Arizona is 33-1 when scoring 80 or more points.

ALWAYS ON THE RUN: Arizona has displayed a knack for timely runs so far this season. Saturday at Oregon State, the Wildcats used a 15-4 run to bookending the half to push a one-point lead to 12. 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 3:13 (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 today's game, The Wildcats next will be in action on Thursday, Jan. 24, when the squad hosts No. 24 UCLA. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST and can be seen on ESPN2.

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