Jan. 13, 2012
Date: Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012
Time: 1:30 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,538), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach) [Sirius/XM: 128/196]
TV: CBS (Ian Eagle/Greg Anthony)
GAME DATA: Arizona (12-5, 3-1 Pac-12) hosts Oregon (12-5, 3-2 Pac-12) Saturday in McKale Center in a nationally televised game on CBS-TV ... Four of Arizona’s five games with 80 or more points this year have come in McKale Center ... In 10 previous home games, the Wildcats are averaging 72.0 points per game (2.1 points better than its overall scoring average) and are limiting foes to a 38.9 (213-of-547) field goal percentage and just 58.9 points per game ... The Wildcats are 25-0 under Sean Miller when scoring 80 or more points.
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 178-75 (.704) and 58-28 (.674) 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 4-0 vs. Oregon as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: Brendon Lavender scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and then UA outscored OSU, 9-1, in the extra session as the Cats prevailed, 81-73, in overtime on Thursday. Lavender, who was 5-of-5 from three-point range in the second period, spearheaded a Wildcat attack that shot 70.6 percent (12-of-17) from the field after the break. In a game that featured seven ties and four lead changes, UA’s victory margin was its biggest of the game. The Wildcat guards combined for 69 of Arizona’s 81 points.
SCOUTING OREGON: The Ducks enter today’s game with a 12-5 record (3-2 Pac-12) following Thursday’s 67-58 win at Arizona State. On the year, Oregon averages 69.8 points, shoots 45.3 percent from the floor (403-of-889), 35.8 percent (115-of-321) from three-point range and 68.1 percent (265-of-389) from the line. Opponents average 66.7 points, are even on the glass and shoot 42.8 percent from the floor (423-of-988). Individually, three UO players average in double-figures, led by Devoe Joseph’s 15.1 ppg average. E.J. Singler leads the Ducks with a 5.2 rebounds per game average.
THE SERIES: Today’s game is the 69th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 45-23 advantage in the series, which dates back to Jan. 12, 1979. The Cats have won six of the last nine games in the series, including the last, 90-82, in Tucson on March 5, 2011. All-time, Arizona is 26-7 in series games played in Tucson, 19-14 in Eugene, and 0-2 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 48 in the UA media guide.
LAST MEETING: Arizona 90, Oregon 82, March 5, 2011: A balanced offensive attack paved the way as Arizona placed five played in double figures in outlasting Oregon. First-half efficiency proved to be the difference as the Cats outshot the Ducks, .593-.370, in the stanza and held a 41-32 lead at the break. Derrick Williams and Kyle Fogg combined for 23 second half points to help Arizona withstand an Oregon rally that trimmed the lead to as few as six points. UA clinched its first Pac-10 title since 2005 with the win.
THE EYE IS ON US: CBS-TV returns to Tucson to televise a regular season game in McKale Center for the second time in the Sean Miller era, the first being a 90-82 win over Oregon on March 5, 2011. Arizona has long been a staple on the Columbia Broadcasting System, amassing a 15-9 (.625) record in the regular season since the start of the 2000-01 campaign alone, including an 11-6 (.647) record in McKale Center. That mark doesn’t include Arizona’s 18-12 (.600) postseason record in that same span under the watchful eye of CBS.
BUCKLING DOWN: Arizona certainly answered the offensive challenge provided by Oregon State Thursday with an impressive display on the defensive end. OSU entered the game as the Pac-12 leader in scoring offense (84.4 ppg) and field goal percentage (.496), and UA held the Beavers to just 73 points (including an extra session) and a .397 (23-of-58) field goal percentage. It marked OSU’s lowest offensive output in nine games and was its third-lowest field goal percentage of the season. Arizona opponents are averaging only 58.8 points per game in Pac-12 action.
DECIDEDLY DIFFERENT: It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to look at the boxscore from Thursday’s game and see that field goal percentage in the overtime period was a telling statistic. In the extra session, Arizona connected on 3-of-6 shots (.500) from the floor, while holding Oregon State to 0-of-7 shooting. It’s safe to say that it was one of the leading indicators as to why the Cats outscored the Beavers 9-1 in extra time.
A NICE LEVEL: Arizona limited Oregon State to a .397 (23-of-58) field goal percentage Thursday, marking the seventh time this season that the Cats have held an opponent to less than 40-percent shooting. Through 17 games, UA foes are shooting a cumulative 40.0 percent from the floor (384-of-961), and that figure drops to 37.1 percent (82-of-221) in Pac-12 play. Three of four Pac-12 foes to date have failed to break the 40-percent plateau against the Cats. UA’s .371 FG percentage defense figure ranks second in the Pac-12 in conference-only games.
WINNING WAYS: UA won Thursday despite being outrebounded, 38-35, but managed to turn the tables in the game’s final 25 minutes. Having been beaten on the glass, 26-18, in the first half, UA responded by outrebounding Oregon State 17-12 the rest of the way, including 8-5 in overtime. On the year, UA is 2-3 when it gets ourebounded.
BALANCED ATTACK: Even though Arizona went to overtime Thursday, only three players logged more than 30 minutes and no one played more than 38. That certainly continues the balanced attack that Sean Miller has featured in 2011-12, as just three of UA’s top nine players are averaging more than 30 minutes per game and all average less than 32 minutes per game.
HEAT CHECK: Arizona blistered the nets in the second half of Thursday’s win, connecting on better than 70 percent of its field goal attempts (12-of-17/.706), its best shooting effort in any half this season, and a figure than included .778 shooting (7-of-9) accuracy from behind the arc. When you factor in free throw shooting in the period, Arizona made 75 percent (27-of-36) of all of its shots in the second half.
DIALED IN: Led by Brendon Lavender, who knocked down five treys in six attempts, Arizona shot better than 50 percent from three-point range for the second time this season. The Cats made 12-of-22 attempts from beyond the arc, and the .545 percentage trailed only the effort in the Dec. 22 game against Bryant when UA sank 13-of-23 (.565) long-range attempts. Not coincidentally, Lavender was 6-of-8 from behind the arc in that game and finished with 18 points.
HIGH EFFICIENCY: Senior Brendon Lavender made the most of his 19 minutes Thursday, hitting 6-of-7 shots from the floor, including 5-of-6 treys, to equal a career high with 18 points. The 6-foot-5 senior from Mesa, Ariz., scored 15 of those 18 points in the second half to equal the most points in a period for a Wildcat this season. On the year, Lavender is shooting 57.8 percent (26-of-45) from the floor, including a Pac-12 leading .605 (23-of-38) from three-point range. He averages 4.7 points per game and ranks second on the team with 23 treys despite averaging only 10.5 minutes per game. Interestingly, Lavender only has taken seven shots from two-point territory through 17 appearances and has missed four of them.
SHOOTING HIS WAY OUT: Entering Thursday’s game, freshman Nick Johnson had made just 8-of-23 (.348) FG attempts in Pac-12 play. He managed to shoot his way out of that funk against the Beavers, knocking down 5-of-10 attempts, including 3-of-4 from three-point range, to equal a season high with 19 points. Perhaps the best part about his effort Thursday was that he was active enough to get to the free throw line a season-high 11 times.
TWENTY-POINT NIGHT: Kyle Fogg notched the seventh 20-point game of his career (second this year) on a night when he moved past Mike Bibby (1996-98) on the Arizona career scoring list. The 6-foot-3 senior from Brea, Calif., sank a season-high seven field goals and all six free throws en route to a season-high 23 points and no turnovers in 36 minutes. He now has 1,072 career points, a figure that ranks 40th all-time at Arizona.
ON THE REBOUND: Forward Solomon Hill shared team-high rebound honors Thursday with eight, the last of which was the 450th of his career. The 6-foot-6 Hill, who ranks second in the Pac-12 with an 8.2 rpg average, is averaging 9.5 rebounds per game in his last six outings. He also passed out a game-high five assists Thursday and leads Arizona with a 3.1 assists per game average.
A WELL-ROUNDED EFFORT: Freshman Josiah Turner totaled four points (including his fifth trey of the season), three rebounds, four assists, a block and two steals Thursday vs. Oregon State. That continues a trend that has seen the point guard from Sacramento, Calif., average 6.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists in the last five games. Further, his 17 assists and nine steals in that span lead the squad, while his 17 free throw attempts rank third. For good measure, Turner’s assist:turnover ratio in that span is 1.9:1.
WORTH NOTING: Arizona passed out 17 assists against 13 turnovers in Thursday’s overtime affair, marking the ninth time in 17 starts this season that the Wildcats have posted a positive ratio. Additionally, UA’s 17 assists were the fourth-highest total for the team this season.
SCORING 80: It took an extra session to do it, but Arizona scored 81 points Thursday against Oregon State, topping the 80-point plateau for the fifth time this year (5-0). Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 205-19 (.915) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points.
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: Arizona next will be in action on Thursday, Jan. 19, when the Cats travel to Salt Lake City to take on Utah. Tip-off in the Huntsman Center is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. MST and can be seen on KWBA-TV and FOX Sports Arizona.