Feb. 6, 2012
Date: Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012
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: 128]
TV: ESPN (Jon Sciambi/Fran Fraschilla)
GAME DATA: Arizona (16-8, 7-4 Pac-12) opens a weekend homestand Thursday against Colorado (16-7, 8-3 Pac-12) in McKale Center ... The Wildcats and Buffaloes currently rank 1-2 in the Pac-12 Conference in both field goal percentage defense and three-point field goal percentage defense, so it no wonder the clubs combined to shoot 37.6 percent in this season’s first meeting on Jan. 21 ... In Thursday conference games at home, Arizona averages 83.0 points per game, boasts a +16.0 scoring margin and shoots 49.1 percent (54-of-110) from the field.
THE RANKINGS: UA remains unranked in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ polls this week.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Sean Miller . . . is in his third season at the University of Arizona and his eighth overall as a college head coach with a record of 182-78 (.700) and 62-31 (.667) at Arizona ... 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 ... He was named Pac-10 Conference and NABC District 20 Coach of the Year ... 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 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 15 trips to the postseason in his 18 seasons as a head, assistant or associate head coach (9 NCAA/6 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, 17 of 18 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 ... He is assisted by James Whitford, Emanuel Richardson and Joe Pasternack ... Miller is 1-1 vs. Colorado as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: A 12-2 Arizona run over 4:29 of the second half broke open a tight game and gave the Cats a 56-43 win Saturday at Stanford and its first road sweep of the season. Arizona limited Stanford to 25.4 percent shooting for the game, including 22.6 percent in the second half, and outrebounded the Cardinal, 43-40. Keyed by the run, UA made seven of its last eight shots from the field, while Stanford connected on just two of its last 13 attempts. Kyle Fogg led all scorers with 14 points, while Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson combined for 14 rebounds.
SCOUTING COLORADO: The Buffaloes enters tonight’s game with a 16-7 record (8-3 Pac-12) following Saturday’s 72-71 win over Oregon. On the year, Colorado averages 70.2 points, shoots 45.6 percent from the floor (544-of-1,192), 36.6 percent (141-of-385) from three-point range and 70.6 percent (385-of-545) from the line. Opponents average 62.6 points, are outrebounded by 5.9 boards per game and shoot 39.8 percent from the floor (514-of-1,293). Individually, four Colorado players average in double figures, led by Carlon Brown’s 12.9 ppg average. Andre Roberson leads the Buffaloes with an 11.2 rebounds per game average.
THE SERIES: Tonight’s game is the 15th meeting of the two schools with Colorado holding a 9-5 series advantage. Arizona has won three of the last four meetings in the series, which dates back to Dec. 2, 1960, but Colorado won the last, 64-63, in Boulder on Jan. 21. Ten of the previous 14 meetings came in the 1960s. All-time, Arizona is 3-3 in series games played in Tucson, 1-6 in Boulder, and 1-0 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 47 in the UA media guide.
LAST MEETING: Colorado 64, Arizona 63, Jan. 21, 2012: In a tightly contested game that featured 10 ties and 10 lead changes, Arizona did just about everything it could to win except to make shots. UA outrebounded Colorado, 44-35, including an 18-9 edge offensively, and got to the free throw line 30 times, but could not overcome 34.5 percent shooting, a figure that included 3-of-20 shooting from three-point range. UA rallied from a five-point deficit with 3:52 to go but could not convert a game-winner on the final possession.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Kyle Fogg earned Pac-12 Conference Player-of-the-Week honors after leading Arizona to a sweep in two road games last week by averaging 18.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists. The senior guard connected on 47.8 percent of his field goals (11-of-23), a sizzling 61.5 percent (8-of-13) of his three-point attempts and 87.5 percent (7-of-8) of his free throws to go with two blocks and three steals. He opened the week with a season-high 23 points, three boards and four assists Thursday at California and added 14 points (3-of-7 3-pt. FG), four rebounds and four assists to go with 5-of-6 shooting from the free throw line Saturday at Stanford. Fogg was equally as good on the defensive side of the ball, as his primary defensive assignment in each game shot a combined 8-of-28 (.286) from the field against him, helping UA post its first road sweep of the season against a pair of teams that entered play vs. Arizona with a combined record of 26-1 at home this year. On the season, Fogg averages 12.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. It was the first time in his career that Fogg has earned P.O.W. kudos.
DEFENSE NEVER RESTS: Credit Arizona’s defense with a win in Saturday’s game, as the Wildcats limited Stanford to 25.4 percent shooting (16-of-63) for the game, including just 22.6 percent shooting (7-of-31) in the second half. UA forced Stanford to miss 12 of its last 14 shots in the game and outscored the Cardinal 21-6 over the game’s final nine minutes. Not only was it the lowest opposing field goal percentage of the season, but it was the lowest such figure since Dec. 2, 2000, when Arizona limited Saint Mary’s to just 25.0 percent shooting (15-of-60) in a 101-41 UA win. The effort Saturday helped drop UA’s overall field goal percentage defense figure to 39.8 percent (540-of-1,358) through 24 games, a figure that ranks 40th nationally.
CLAMPING DOWN: As has been the case for much of the Sean Miller era, Arizona continues to be an excellent team in terms of three-point field goal percentage defense. In this week’s Bay Area games, Arizona limited the opposition to 4-of-20 (.200) shooting from three-point range. The effort sunk the UA defensive figure to 26.7 percent (114-of-427) through 24 games. Arizona enters play this week ranked fourth nationally in three-point field goal percentage defense. In Pac-12 play, opponents are shooting 25.3 percent (41-of-162) from beyond the arc.
ALWAYS ON THE RUN: The Wildcats used a pair of well-timed runs last weekend on the way to its road sweep. Thursday in Berkeley, the Cats posted a 36-12 run over the last 10:43 of the first half to build a 45-34 lead at the break, and the Cats never trailed again. Saturday in Palo Alto, Arizona trailed 37-35 with 9:00 to go when a Josiah Turner free throw ignited a 21-6 run to close the contest. Six different Arizona players scored in the run, led by Nick Johnson’s seven points.
EVERYBODY REBOUNDS: Arizona got a total team effort on the glass in Saturday’s win, as the Wildcat starters combined for 33 of the team’s 43 rebounds en route to a 43-40 rebound edge at Stanford. UA’s freshman guards Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson each grabbed a season-high seven rebounds as the 33 caroms collected by the starters were the most by the starting five in a single game this season. On the season, Arizona is 13-4 when outrebounding the opposition and its 34 defensive boards Saturday were a season high. Through 24 games, Arizona enjoys a +2.2 rebound margin – not a bad effort for a team with a starting five who average just under 6-foot-5.
LAST LINE OF DEFENSE: Led by Angelo Chol, who collected six swats of his own, Arizona blocked 13 shots in two games last week. Not only is the 6.5 blocks per game figure nearly double that of the Cats’ season-long average (3.3 bpg), but it was Arizona’s highest total this season in back-to-back games. Five different players collected blocked shots this week. Chol, who averages just 11.8 minutes per game, leads Arizona with a 0.8 blocked shots per game average.
MOSTLY ON THE MARK: On the whole, Arizona did a fairly good job of shooting last week, connecting on 46-of-98 (.469) attempts from the floor, highlighted by a 54.9 percent (28-of-51) effort Thursday at California. While Saturday’s 38.3 percent effort (18-of-47) at Stanford wasn’t stellar, the Cats made shots when it counted, connecting on 50 percent of its field goal attempts in the second half (9-of-18), including six of its last seven attempts over the last eight minutes. To date, UA is shooting 44.5 percent (562-of-1,262) from the field and is 14-1 this year when outshooting the opposition.
SHORTER BENCH, MORE MINUTES: Arizona’s depth will be tested as the Cats lost sophomore guard Jordin Mayes to a left foot injury last Thursday that will require further evaluation. Sean Miller played just seven players in Saturday’s win – the fewest this season – and saw four players log more than 32 minutes of action. On the season, Arizona doesn’t have a player averaging more than 31 minutes per game. Guards Josiah Turner (32) and Brendon Lavender (20) logged season highs at Stanford in terms of minutes played.
WEARING OUT A PATH: While the Cats still need to work on accuracy, the team has been able to increase its trips to the free throw line of late. In last week’s games, Arizona attempted 54 free throws, nearly double that (28) of the opposition. Over its last five games, Arizona has averaged 26.6 free throws per game, 7.6 more than its foes. That recent increase is 4.4 more attempts per game than its average through 24 games (22.2). On average, Arizona attempts 3.5 more free throws per game that its opponent and scores 3.1 more points from the charity stripe.
BOOSTING PRODUCTIVITY: Senior forward Jesse Perry averaged 14.5 points and a team-leading 5.5 rebounds in a pair of games last week. The 6-foot-7 native of St. Louis, Mo., connected on 11-of-22 field goals and added a pair of assists. To date, both his 284 points (11.8 ppg) and 177 rebounds (7.7 rpg) surpass his 38-game totals from a year ago (250 pts/6.6 ppg and 169 reb./4.4 rpg). Perry leads UA regulars with a .498 (104-of-209) field goal percentage.
STEPPING UP: Freshman forward Angelo Chol enjoyed what may have been his best back-to-back games as a Wildcat by averaging 5.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots in the games at California and Stanford. He hit 4-of-6 attempts from the field, but it was his defensive presence in those 36 minutes played that aided the Wildcat cause. Through 24 appearances, Chol is averaging 2.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game to go with a .605 (26-of-43) field goal percentage.
SO MUCH FOR THE MID-RANGE: While Arizona managed a 9-of-18 shooting half to close the game at Stanford, a quick look at the shot chart shows how efficient the Cats were offensively. Of Arizona’s nine field goals in the period, seven were either dunks, lay-ups or scored in the paint. The other two buckets were drained from behind the arc.
RECRUITING CLASS: The Arizona coaching staff signed four student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent as part of the November early signing period. Brandon Ashley (F, 6-8, 215) from Oakland, Calif., who preps at Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev.; Grant Jerrett (F, 6-10, 220) from LaVerne, Calif., who preps at LaVerne Lutheran H.S.; Kaleb Tarczewski (C, 7-0, 220) from Southborough, Mass., who preps at St. Mark’s School; and Gabe York (G, 6-1, 170) from Orange, Calif., who preps at Orange Lutheran H.S.; make up a class that was ranked No. 1 nationally by espn.com and rivals.com.
UP NEXT: Once again, a quick turnaround will be of the order as Arizona next will be in action on Saturday, Feb. 11, when UA hosts Utah in McKale Center. Tip-off is scheduled for noon MST and can be seen nationally on FOX Sports Net.