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Cats Back in Action Saturday at WSU
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: January 21, 2011
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Jan. 21, 2011

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Date: Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011
Time: 7:30 p.m. PST
Location: Friel Court (11,671), Pullman, Wash.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)

Game Data:  No. 25 Arizona (15-4, 4-2 Pac-10) travels to Pullman, Wash., to face Washington State (14-5, 4-3 Pac-10) Saturday at Friel Court, looking to salvage the weekend with a victory ... In the Sean Miller era at Arizona, the Wildcats are 3-2 in the back end of Pac-10 weekend road games, including a 2-1 record when dropping the first game of the weekend ... The Wildcats are 3-3 in its last six trips to the Palouse with two of those games going to overtime ... In that span, Arizona has averaged just 63.0 points per game ... Washington State has won three straight in the series, equaling its longest series win streak since 1983-84 ... Look for UA to bounce back offensively, as the team has been held to less than 70 points in consecutive games just once this year.


The Rankings:  Arizona is ranked 25th in this week's ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll.  It is the first time UA has been ranked during the regular season since Jan. 7, 2008.  Arizona remains unranked in the Associated Press poll.


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 151-65 (.699) and 31-18 (.633) 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 0-2 vs. Washington State as a head coach.


Last Time Out:  Arizona battled for as long as it could before the Cats were eventually worn down by Washington, 85-68, Thursday in Seattle.  UA took its last lead, 44-43, with 16 minutes to go, before UW eventually pulled away outscoring the visitors by 12 points over the last nine minutes.  Isaiah Thomas was the difference, totaling 22 points and 11 assists to lead Washington, which shot 52 percent from the field and posted a +9 rebound margin in the second half.  Derrick Williams paced Arizona with 22 points and 11 rebounds.


Scouting Washington State:  The Cougars enter tonight's game with a 14-5 record (4-3 Pac-10) following a 78-61 win Thursday over Arizona State.  On the season, WSU averages 75.9 points, shoots 47.8 percent from the floor (525-of-1097), 39.1 percent (152-of-389) from three-point range and 70.6 percent (242-of-343) from the line.  Opponents average 64.3 points, outrebound WSU by 0.3 boards per game and shoot 37.9 percent from the floor (415-of-1096).  Individually, three Cougar players average in double-figures, led by Klay Thompson's 22.9 points per game figure.  DeAngelo Casto leads WSU with a 6.3 rebounds per game average.


The Series:  Tonight's game is the 68th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 51-16 series advantage. Arizona has won 44 of the last 50 meetings in the series, which dates back to Dec. 22, 1959, but WSU captured the last three, including a 78-60 win on Feb. 6, 2010, in Pullman.   All-time, Arizona is 25-8 in series games played in Tucson, 21-8 in Pullman, Wash., and 5-0 in neutral-site games.  For more series information, please see page 46 in the UA media guide.


Last Meeting:  Washington State 78, Arizona 60, Feb. 6, 2010:  Simply put, Washington State outplayed Arizona in all facets of the game as it pulled away for the 18-point win.  WSU shot it better, rebounded better and made all the hustle plays before breaking it open in the second half.  Arizona cut the deficit to two possessions twice in the second period, the last coming at 5:03, but a 12-0 WSU spurt from that point put a cap on the outcome.  Derrick Williams led the Cats with 16 points and seven rebounds, while Kyle Fogg added 13 points and four boards.


Beaten on the Glass: Arizona was bettered on the boards by Washington Thursday, 41-35.  It marked just the sixth time in 19 games that Arizona has surrendered supremacy on the glass.  The Huskies asserted itself in the second half, posting a 23-14 advantage in the period.  All told, UW grabbed 29 defensive rebounds, which was a UA opponent high in 2010-11.


In the Opening Period: Thursday in Seattle, Washington jumped out to a 36-31 halftime lead, which was just the fifth time that Arizona has trailed at the break.  All told, Arizona is 2-3 this season when facing a deficit at the half.  Prior to Thursday, Arizona's only halftime deficit since opening Pac-10 play was one point (33-32) to California on Jan. 6.  Arizona came back to win that game 73-71.


Tough to Win:  En route to its 85-68 win Thursday, Washington scored 49 points in the second half to break open what was a tight game.  The 49 points scored by the Huskies were the most allowed by Arizona in any half this season.  Not totally coincidentally, Arizona has allowed 49 points to Washington and 48 to Oregon State in the second half of both of its Pac-10 losses.  In UA's four conference wins, opponents have averaged just 34.3 points in the second half.


Similar Features:  Arizona attempted a season-high 60 field goal attempts in Thursday's loss, which resulted in a 40.0 field goal percentage (24-of-60).  The high number of shots wouldn't necessarily make one look twice at the boxscore, but the three times that Arizona has hoisted 60 FG attempts have come in three of the Cats' four defeats this season:  vs. Kansas, BYU and Washington.  In those three games, UA connected on a cumulative 40 percent of the its attempts in those three games (72-of-180).  Additionally, each of those opponents were nationally ranked at tip-off.


To the Aggressor goes the Spoils:  UA coach Sean Miller has often said that the more aggressive team is often rewarded with far more opportunities at the free throw line.  Thursday at Washington, the free throw advantage tilted heavily towards the hosts, as the Huskies attempted eight more free throws than Arizona and outscored the Cats by five in the game.  It was only the fifth time this season that an opponent had outshot Arizona from the line this season.


Off the Mark:  The Arizona starters connected on 19-of-41 (.463) field goal attempts Thursday vs. Washington.  Over the course of the season, the current UA starting line-up has been an accurate bunch, connecting on 304-of-611 (.498) of their combined field goal attempts.  By comparison, Washington's starting five sank 24-of-43 FG attempts (.558) on Thursday.


Bucking a Trend:  Arizona managed to win the turnover battle Thursday, forcing Washington into 14 miscues, which was two more than the Cats committed.  That UA was able to do that and lose by 17 points is unusual in the fact that the Wildcats are now 11-1 this season when winning the turnover battle.  Thursday's loss was the first of the season  for a club with a when accomplishing the feat on the heels of a -0.2 turnover margin through 19 games.


Double-Doubles:  Derrick Williams notched his sixth double-double of the season Thursday, collecting 22 points and 11 rebounds against Washington.  In addition to being the 10th such effort of his career and marked the second time the 6-foot-8 forward has notched a double-double in consecutive games in his career.  Williams closed the regular season a year ago with 12 points and 11 rebounds vs. UCLA and 18 points and 11 rebounds vs. USC on March 4 and 6, respectively.


Streaking:  Aside from posting three double-doubles in his last four games, sophomore Derrick Williams is enjoying a small burst of productivity of late.  Over the last four games, Williams is averaging 24.5 points and 10.5 rebounds, while shooting .636 (28-of-44) from the field.  In that span, Williams is averaging nearly 13 free throw attempts per game.


More Attempts:  En route to his game-high 22 points Thursday, Derrick Williams equaled a season high with 15 field goal attempts at Washington.  That figure is nearly double of what the native of La Mirada, Calif., averages through 19 games.  To date, Williams averages 8.9 field goals per game (170 attempts in 19 games).  In his 50-game career, Williams has attempted 15 or more FG attempts in a game just six times with a high of 17 on Dec. 23, 2009, vs. North Carolina State (made 10).


Showing up with Regularity:  With an ability to finish with contact, It's no surprise that Derrick Williams practically lives at the free throw line. What's most impressive is that his ability to get to the line has improved in Pac-10 play.  Through 19 games, 36.9 percent of his points scored (139-of-377) have come from the free throw line, where he averages 9.5 free throws per game.  In Pac-10 play, 38.9 percent of his points (49-of-126) have come from the line, where he is averaging 12 free throws per game.  To further that point, Williams has attempted 53 field goals in conference play and 72 free throws.


Shoring up the Frontline:  Junior forward Jesse Perry put forth a solid effort Thursday, finishing with eight points, six rebounds and a block in a season-high 24 minutes of action.  The 6-foot-7 product of St. Louis, Mo., connected on 4-of-4 free throws to boost his Pac-10 scoring average to 6.2 points per game.  On the season, Perry averages 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds, while shooting 45.1 percent (37-of-82) from the field.


A Solid No. 2:  Sophomore Solomon Hill registered 12 points and two rebounds  against Washington, and the 6-foot-6 forward continues to be Arizona's second-best scorer (8.7 ppg) and rebounder (4.5 rpg) this season.  In Arizona's last four games, Hill is averaging 10.0 points and 4.3 rebounds, while shooting 52.4 percent from the field (11-of-21).  What's been good to see from Hill is that he is getting to the line, averaging 5.5 free throw attempts per game of late, nearly double his average of 3.4 attempts per game through 19 appearances.


Ten for 12:  Lamont Jones tallied his sixth double-figure scoring game of the season Thursday.  He connected on 4-of-10 field goal attempts in a season-high 28 minutes played. Six of his points and both assists came in the second half.


Scoring 80:  Arizona scored 80 points Jan. 15 vs. Arizona State, topping the 80-point plateau for the eighth time this year.  Arizona has scored 80 in six of 11 home games this season.  Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 194-19 (.911) 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 and

Up Next:  Following tonight's game, Arizona returns home to close out the first half of the Pac-10 schedule.  The weekend begins Thursday, Jan. 27, when the Wildcats host UCLA.  The contest is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. MST and can be seen nationally on ESPN.

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