Feb. 3, 2012
Date: Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012
Time: Noon PST
Location: Maples Pavilion (7,329), Palo Alto, Calif.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: FOX Sports Net (Steve Physioc/Marques Johnson/Rebecca Haarlow)
GAME DATA: Arizona (15-8, 6-4 Pac-12) caps the Bay Area road swing Saturday at Stanford (16-6, 6-4 Pac-12) in Maples Pavilion ... Over the last five-plus seasons, the Wildcats are 7-4 on the Bay Area road swing with a pair of sweeps and a pair of splits to its credit ... Arizona looks to earn its first weekend sweep of the season after Thursday's four-point win at California - previously UA has earned a split in each of the four conference weekends in the first half of the Pac-12 slate ... Opponents are averaging just 60 points per game in UA's five Pac-12 road games to date.
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 181-78 (.699) and 61-31 (.663) 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. Stanford as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: Trailing 22-9 with 10:43 to go in the first half, Arizona responded with a 36-12 run to close the period and take control of the contest in what became a 78-74 win Thursday at California. The Wildcats hit 13 of 14 shots to close the first half en route to 54.9 percent shooting for the game. Cal made a run late, coming from 14 points down to tie the game, but Arizona never lost the lead as Kyle Fogg's trey with 1:23 to go put the Cats ahead for good. Fogg finished with a game-high 23 points, while Jesse Perry added 18 of his own.
SCOUTING STANFORD: The Cardinal enters today's game with a 16-6 record (6-4 Pac-12) following Thursday's 68-44 win over Arizona State. On the year, Stanford averages 71.8 points, shoots 44.9 percent from the floor (559-of-1,246), 35.5 percent (149-of-420) from three-point range and 65.3 percent (313-of-479) from the line. Opponents average 62.2 points, are outrebounded by 5.5 boards per game and shoot 41.9 percent from the floor (493-of-1,178). Individually, three Stanford players average in double figures, led by Josh Owens' 12.7 ppg average. Owens also leads the Cardinal with a 6.2 rebounds per game average.
THE SERIES: Today's game marks the 83rd meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 53-29 series advantage. Arizona has won 11 of the last 15 in the series, including the last, a 78-69 triumph in Palo Alto on Feb. 3, 2011. All-time, Arizona is 28-8 in series games played in Tucson, 21-18 in Palo Alto, Calif., and 4-3 in neutral site games. For more series information, please see page 48 in the UA media guide.
LAST MEETING: Arizona 78, Stanford 69, Feb. 3, 2011: Led by MoMo Jones, Arizona pulled away from Stanford late and moved into sole possession of first place in the Pac-10 standings. Jones scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half, including eight in the final five minutes, as the Wildcats outscored Stanford 18-9 in the final 3:47. Arizona shot 52.9 percent from the field and placed four players in double figures. UA connected on its last six shots to end the game and hit all eight free throws in the final 1:23.
IT JUST FEELS EARLY: Today's game is the first of three scheduled noon starts on the schedule with the others coming Feb. 11 vs. Utah and Feb. 25 vs. UCLA. Incidentally, it is the earliest start time of the season for the Wildcats, and perhaps it seems a bit earlier on the clock due to the squad's 8 p.m. PST tip at California on Thursday.
ROAD WARRIORS: In the Sean Miller era, the Wildcats are 12-11 in conference road games and that mark is the best road record in the league since the start of the 2009-10 season.
NO EASY PLACE TO PLAY: Maples Pavilion certainly is not the most hospitable facility for any visiting team, but it has been a venue for some close games, of late, between the Cats and Cardinal. Over the last five seasons, the average wining margin by either team in Maples is 7.2 points and the number of points scored by each team in that span is Stanford 350, Arizona 346, or 70.0-69.2 ppg.
IT'S ABOUT TIME: After dropping its first four games decided by five points or less, Arizona finally made enough plays to win a nail-biter this season. The Wildcats' 78-74 win Thursday was its first in a game decided by fewer than five points, and came in the wake of three consecutive losses in that scenario in each of the last three Saturdays by a combined five points. Las season, Arizona was 8-3 in games decided by five points or less.
NOW THAT'S A RUN: As mentioned above, Arizona used a 36-12 run over the last 10:43 of the first half to turn a 22-9 deficit into a 45-34 lead at the break. The Wildcats connected on 14-of-16 shots (.875) during the run, while limiting California to 4-of-12 shooting (.333) and seven turnovers in that span. The effort allowed Arizona to have a 14-6 advantage in turnover points in the first half.
THE NUMBERS ARE IN OUR FAVOR: Fourteen-of-16 shooting to close a half definitely will boost a team's field goal percentage, and the accuracy allowed the Cats to post a season-best .630 field goal percentage (17-of-27) in the first half Thursday at California on the way to a 54.9 percentage (28-of-51) for the game. It was the sixth time this season that Arizona has shot 50 percent or better from the field, and the program is 25-1 in the Sean Miller era when accomplishing the feat. Interestingly, Arizona's two best first-half shooting efforts this season have come in road games: Nov. 29 at New Mexico State (18-of-30/.600) and Thursday at California. In those two efforts, UA connected on 35-of-57 (.614) field goal attempts.
HALFTIME ADVANTAGE: Arizona 11-point halftime lead Thursday marked the fourth time in Pac-12 play that the Wildcats have enjoyed a double-figure lead after 20 minutes. On the year, Arizona is 12-3 when holding a halftime lead of any amount.
FOGGY, BOTTOM: Guard Kyle Fogg played one of his best games as a Wildcat, posting a season-high 23 points to go with four assists, a block and two steals. The 6-foot-3 senior from Brea, Calif., found the bottom of the net more often than not, connecting on 8-of-14 shots, including 5-of-6 (.833) from three-point range. Over his last 16 games, Fogg has connected on 38-of-77 treys (.494). He currently leads Arizona with a 12.4 ppg average and is just four treys shy of establishing a new single-season high for three-point field goal made.
TAKE CARE OF THE BALL: One of UA's keys to victory Thursday was the simple fact that it turned the ball over fewer times than California. The Cats, who averaged 13.3 turnovers per game in Pac-12 action entering the game, committed just 11 turnovers (three in the first half) vs. California and won the turnover category, 13-11. UA is 8-1 this season when committing fewer turnovers than the opposition.
A SIGN OF MATURITY: Almost lost in the statistics Thursday was the fact that Arizona's 63.6 three-point field goal percentage (7-of-11) was a season high. What might be even better about that figure is that UA wasn't overly reliant on the long-range bomb, but rather took the opportunity when it presented itself. In fact, UA's 11 three-point FG attempts equaled a season low. Furthermore, 18 of Arizona's 28 Arizona's field goals Thursday were either dunks, lay-ups, or scored in the paint.
LINE OF DEMARCATION: Arizona limited California to just one three-point field goal in Thursday's game and a .125 (1-of-8) three-point field goal percentage. On the season, UA opponents are shooting 26.7 percent (111-of-415) from behind the arc, a figure that leads the Pac-12 Conference. Interestingly, Arizona has held three opponents to just one trey in a game this year and all three times it's occurred in California (at UCLA, at USC, at California). In those three games, the Golden State schools have combined to shoot .094 (3-of-32) from three-point range.
THAT AIN'T RIGHT: The Wildcats sank just 15-of-29 free throws (.517) Thursday at California, to drop its season free throw percentage to less than 70 percent for the first time this season. In conference play, Arizona is shooting 65.5 percent (156-of-238) from the line. That number is a bit out of character for the Wildcats, as the program was shooting 73.8 percent (1,412-of-1,914) from the line during the Sean Miller era entering Pac-12 play on Dec. 31.
AN INSIDE PRESENCE: Freshman Angelo Chol put forth one of his best efforts to date Thursday, amassing eight points, four rebounds and two blocked shots in 16 minutes of action. The 6-foot-9 San Diego, Calif., product connected on 3-of-5 field goals in equaling season highs in both points and rebounds. On the year, Chol is averaging 2.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per game, while shooting .595 (25-of-42) from the field.
JOHNSON STEPS UP: Guard Nick Johnson registered his 10th double-figure scoring effort of the season, and his first in four games, with 11 points Thursday at California. The 6-foot-2 freshman from Gilbert, Ariz., dropped in 2-of-3 attempts from long range to go with five assists, a block and a steal. Currently, he ranks second on the club with 57 assists in conjunction with per game averages of 9.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
BEATEN ON THE BOARDS: Arizona suffered it's worst beating on the glass in Pac-12 play Thursday, 37-27, but did improve to 3-4 this year when outrebounded. It was the first time this season that UA was outrebounded by 10 or more an still managed to win (good shooting will do that). In other rebounding notes, Solomon Hill's next rebound will be the 500th of his career. Through 23 games, the junior forward leads Arizona with an 8.0 rebounds per game figure.
SCORING 80: Arizona scored 85 points Jan. 26 against Washington State, topping the 80-point plateau for the sixth time this year (6-0). Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 206-19 (.916) 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, Feb. 9, when UA hosts Colorado in McKale Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST and can be seen nationally on ESPN. It is UA's seventh appearance on the ESPN family of networks this season.