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Pac-10 Tournament Semifinal Notes
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/10/2011
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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March 10, 2011

Date: Friday, March 11, 2011
Time: 6 p.m. PST
Location: Staples Center (19,282), Los Angeles, Calif.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: FSN (Steve Physioc/Marques Johnson)

Game Data:  No. 1 seed Arizona (25-6, 14-4 Pac-10) remains in Los Angeles for the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament and advances to the semifinal Friday night at Staples Center against No. 4 seed USC (19-13, 10-8 Pac-10) ... Arizona's 18 wins and four championships (1988-90, 2002) in this event are league bests ... Since the event was reincarnated in the Staples Center in 2002, the Cats are 9-8 in tournament play, snapping a three-game tournament losing streak with a win over Oregon State on Thursday ... The number 70 looms large in conference tournament action as Arizona is 9-3 since 2002 when scoring 70 or more points and 0-5 when it does not ... In 14 Pac-10 Tournament appearances all-time, Arizona has now advanced to the semifinals eight times (1988, '89, `90, 2002, '04, '05, '06, '11) where the Cats have a 5-2 record to date.

 

The Rankings:  Arizona has been ranked for six consecutive weeks and currently is No. 16 in the Associated Press and No. 15 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' polls.  UA's six straight weeks in both national polls is the longest for a Pac-10 club in 2010-11.

 

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 162-68 (.704) and 42-21 (.667) 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 2-2 vs. USC as a head coach.

 

Last Time Out:  A quick 9-0 burst early in the second half quickly pushed a one-point game to double digits and gave Arizona all the breathing room it needed in a 78-69 win Thursday over Oregon State.  Derrick Williams scored 16 of his 22 points in the first half, and Lamont Jones (10) and Kevin Parrom (13) combined for 23 points in the second to lead the way.  UA connected on just 13-of-34 shots in the second half, but five of those were treys, as the Wildcats built as much as a 17-point lead.   Arizona put the game away with a 10-0 run midway through the second half, where the Cats held the Beavers without a bucket for 5:22.

 

The Series:  Tonight's game is the 98th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 57-40 series advantage.  UA has won 18 of the last 28 meetings in the series, which dates back to 1922, but USC captured the last, 65-57, in Los Angeles on Feb. 24. All-time, Arizona is 30-10 in series games played in Tucson, 24-30 in Los Angeles, and 3-0 in neutral-site games.  For more series information, please see page 45 in the UA media guide.  In Pac-10 Tournament action, Arizona is 3-0 against USC, posting an 80-57 quarterfinal win on March 9, 1990; an 81-71 championship game victory on March 9, 2002; and a 79-76 quarterfinal win on March 11, 2004. 

 

Last Meeting:  USC 65, Arizona 57, Feb. 24, 2011:  Nikola Vucevic scored 10 of his game-high 25 points in the last four minutes to lead USC to victory and end UA's eight-game win streak.  Arizona led 54-50 with 3:59 to go before succumbing to Vucevic's closing push that saw USC outscore UA, 15-3, in that span.  Arizona shot just 35.8 percent from the field and was outscored from the line, 22-13.  The USC starting frontline combined for 37 points and 22 rebounds and held Derrick Williams to a season-low eight points.

 

On Target:  Derrick Williams connected on 8-of-12 field goals, including 5-of-6 from three-point range to finish with 22 points Thursday against Oregon State.  The 6-foot-8 sophomore became just the 13th player in Arizona history (accomplished 17 times) to score 600 or more points in a season.  Williams, who now has 606 points through 32 games (18.9 ppg) played.  He has scored in double figures 31 times this season.  The only game in which he hasn't scored 10 points or more came Feb. 24 at USC, when he tallied eight points.

 

Relying on the Trey:  Of the 29 buckets Arizona tallied Thursday, 11 of those came from behind the arc, as Arizona hit 11-of-21 (.524) three-point attempts, marking the 12th time this season that the Cats have made 10 or more treys in a single game.  Incidentally, Arizona is 11-1 when reaching double figures from behind the arc.  The shooting certainly helped on Thursday, as Arizona outscored OSU, 33-21, from behind the arc.  On the season, Arizona averages 8.0 treys per game and shoots a cumulative .401 (255-of-636) from three-point range.

 

Board Work:  Led by Solomon Hill's career-high 11 rebounds, Arizona outrebounded Oregon State, 36-31.  It was the 21st time this season that Arizona has outrebounded the opposition and the Cats are 20-1 when accomplishing the feat.  Much of the damage on the glass came in the second half, as UA outboarded OSU, 23-16, in the period.  Hill grabbed eight boards in the second half, while Kevin Parrom added six in the period.  Incidentally, Arizona's effort Thursday reversed a trend vs. Oregon State, as the Beavers were just one of two Pac-10 teams (UCLA) to outrebound the Wildcats in both meetings during the regular season.  On the year, Arizona posts a +4.5 rebound advantage.

 

Not Too Often:  Arizona usually has been a club that gets off to a good start, but that wasn't the case Thursday, as Oregon State led by as many as seven points through the early part of the first half before UA rallied.  The simple fact that OSU held a 22-19 lead at the 10-minute mark of the first half marked just the eighth time this season that the Cats did not hold the lead at that point.  Through 32 games, Arizona is 21-2 when leading at the 10-minute mark of the opening period and 5-4 when tied or trailing.  Incidentally, Arizona righted the ship enough to hold a 40-37 lead at the halftime break, and the club is 24-1 when leading at the break.

 

Gotta Get Better:  The Wildcats shot a respectable .475 (29-of-61) from the field Thursday, but was outdone by Oregon State, who connected on 50.9 percent (28-of-55) of its shots.  Field goal percentage defense is an area that must improve if the Cats expect to extend the schedule in the month of March.  Over the last seven games, Arizona opponents have connected on 49.4 percent (191-of-397) and have shot better than 50 percent from the field five times in that span.  By comparison, opponent managed to top the 50-percent plateau against Arizona just four times in the first 25 games of the season.

 

A Slow Start:  Sophomore swingman Kevin Parrom earned his first start of the season Thursday (10th career) and proved to be a difference maker, as he tallied 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists and a block and steal.  However, he was a little sluggish out of the gate (no points, one rebound, one assist) and didn't really get going until the second half, when he connected on 5-of-9 shots, grabbed six rebounds and passed out three assists.  The finished product is what he's certainly capable of, as he's averaging 7.8 points and 3.5 rebounds to go with a .519 field goal percentage (84-of-162).

 

A Monstrous Effort:  Forward Solomon Hill put forth one of his best all-around efforts Thursday, registering nine points, a career-high 11 rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in 30 minutes of action.  The 6-foot-6 sophomore from Los Angeles hit 4-of-9 field goals and grabbed five offensive rebounds in collecting double-figure caroms for the first time in his career.  Hill joins Derrick Williams (11) and Jamelle Horne (1) as the only Wildcats to grab 10 or more rebounds in a game this season.

 

20-Point Games:  On the strength of some stellar shooting by Derrick Williams, the product of La Mirada, Calif., was able to notch 20 points, marking the 14th time he's accomplished the feat this season. As a team, Arizona has 22 20-point games.  In addition to Williams' 14, Lamont Jones has three, Kyle Fogg and Kevin Parrom have two each and Solomon Hill one.

 

Subtle Contributions:  The statistics may not wow you, but Jesse Perry and Kyryl Natyazhko made solid contributions to Thursday's win.  Perry, a 6-foot-7 junior forward from St. Louis, Mo., connected on 3-of-4 shots en route to seven points, four rebounds and an assist in 25 minutes of action.  Natyazhko, a 6-foot-11 sophomore center from Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, managed a put-back bucket and two offensive boards in five minutes.  On the year, these two have combined to shoot .481 (102-of-212) from the floor and average 8.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.

 

Stolen Moments:  In a game that saw 20 total steals, it was nice to see Arizona nearly double its season average in collecting nine steals.  The nine steals was Arizona's second highest of the season, and as mentioned above, was nearly double that of Arizona's average of 5.2 steals per game through 32 contests.  Derrick Williams, one of three Wildcats with two steals Thursday, leads the club with 31 steals (1.0 spg).

Up Next:  Following tonight's game, Arizona will either play in Saturday's championship at 3 p.m. PST on CBS or return home to await word on further postseason participation.

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