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Cats, Colonials Meet Wednesday in McKale
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 12/21/2010
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Dec. 21, 2010

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Date: Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010
Time: 6:30 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: KWBA/FS Arizona/FCS Atlantic (Dave Sitton/Corey Williams)

Game Data:  Arizona (10-2, 0-0 Pac-10) closes out the non-conference portion of the schedule Wednesday against Robert Morris (4-6, 1-1 NEC) in McKale Center ... A win tonight would give the Wildcats 11 non-conference wins in the 2010-11 regular season, its best out-of-conference win total since the 1999-2000 season ... In two games last week, Arizona limited opponents to 40.7 percent shooting (46-of-113) and just 60.0 points per game ... Through 12 games this season, Arizona averages 29.3 points per game from its bench, and reserves have posted eight double-figure scoring efforts ... In seven home games, the Wildcats shoot .503 from the field (188-of-373), average 80.4 points and outscore opponents by an average of 24.1 points per game .

 

The Rankings:  Arizona remains unranked in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls.  The Cats started the season unranked for just the fourth time in the last 24 seasons.

 

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 146-64 (.695) and 26-17 (.605) 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 1-0 vs. Robert Morris as a head coach.

 

Last Time Out:  Derrick Williams scored a game-high 22 points and Arizona got welcome contributions from its bench in earning a 72-62 win Sunday at North Carolina State.  Kevin Parrom (11 pts.) and Jesse Perry (10 pts./6 reb.) combined for 21 points as UA led for the final 33 minutes.   Arizona limited N.C. State to just 31.8 percent shooting, connected on 24-of-30 free throws and used its quickness to answer every NCSU challenge.

 

Scouting Robert Morris:  The Colonials enter tonight’s game with a 4-6 record (1-1 NEC) following Saturday’s 71-66 loss at Appalachian State.  On the season, RMU averages 62.7 points, shoots 39.6 percent from the floor (229-of-579), 32.4 percent (69-of-213) from three-point range and 64.1 percent (100-of-156) from the line.  Opponents average 63.4 points, outrebound the Colonials by 1.2 boards per game and shoot 40.7 percent from the floor (207-of-509).  Individually, two Robert Morris players average in double-figures, led by Russell Johnson’s 14.6 points per game figure.  Johnson also leads RMU with a 7.2 rebounds per game average.

 

The Series:  Tonight’s game is the third meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 2-0 series advantage.  The series debut took place in the NCAA Tournament, a 94-60 Wildcat win in Boise, Idaho, on March 16, 1989, in the first round of the West Region.  The Cats and Colonials last met on Dec. 28, 1996, in Tucson, a 118-54 UA win in the Bank One Fiesta Bowl Classic.  All-time, Arizona is 1-0 in series games played in Tucson, 0-0 in Pittsburgh, Pa., and 1-0 in neutral-site games.  For more series information, please see page 44 in the UA media guide.

 

Last Meeting:  Arizona 118, Robert Morris 54, Dec. 28, 1996:  Arizona posted the largest margin of victory in school history in the first round of the Fiesta Bowl Classic.  All 11 Wildcats to see action scored, including seven in double figures, in helping the Cats to its highest point total since 1991.  Bennett Davison led all scorers with a career-high 25 points  UA’s defense forced 27 turnovers, collected 16 steals and held RMU to just one field goal over a nine-minute stretch of the second half.  Arizona hit the century mark with 5:23 to go and rolled to the eighth-highest point total in program history.

 

Against the Northeast Conference:  All-time, Arizona is 5-1 (.833) vs. Northeast Conference members.  Arizona’s last meeting with an NEC foe came vs. Robert Morris on Dec. 28, 1996 (see above).  The last time the Wildcats met an NEC opponent other than RMU came on March 14, 1991, in a 93-80 win over St. Francis, Pa., in the 1991 NCAA West Region first round in Salt Lake City, Utah.  For a conference breakdown, see page 47 in the UA media guide.

 

Follow his Lead:  Kevin Parrom guided Arizona to a sweep by averaging 12.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in Arizona’s pair of games last week.  The sophomore swingman connected on 50.0 percent of his field goals (7-of-14) and 50.0 percent (5-of-10) of his shots from behind the arc.  Parrom opened the week by hitting 5-of-10 field goals and grabbing five rebounds to finish with a career-high 14 points in a win Northern Arizona, to go with four assists, a block and two steals to earn Fiesta Bowl Basketball Classic Most-Valuable-Player honors.  He followed that up with 11 points (2-of-4 FG/6-of-7 FT), and a rebound in Sunday’s win at North Carolina State.  It marked Parrom’s third and fourth double-figure scoring games this season (sixth career) and the first time in his career that he registered double figures in consecutive games.  On the year, Parrom averages 6.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, while shooting 50.0 percent (25-of-50) from the field.

 

Raleigh Redux:  Arizona beat the trend in its victory at NC State, handing the Wolfpack only its 12th non-conference loss in RBC Center games since the facility opened for the 1999-2000 season. The ‘Pack is 87-12 in such games.  The Wildcats held reigning ACC Rookie of the Week Ryan Harrow (1-for-9) and freshman phenom C.J. Leslie (1-for-14) to some abysmal combined shooting of 8.6 percent from the field, a pair of reasons the effort was UA’s second-best FG percentage defense outing (.318) of the year behind Idaho State’s .281 mark in the season opener.

 

That’s Not Right:  One anomaly Sunday was NC State’s 45 rebounds — a whopping 23 on the offensive glass — to 31 total by the Cats, their third consecutive rebound setback after eight rebounding advantages in the first nine games (with the other a tie).  Arizona still outrebounds opponents by a +6.4 margin, a figure that ranks second in the Pac-10 Conference, but the margin has fallen from 11.6 entering the BYU game on Dec. 11.

 

Getting Better:  Lamont Jones passed out four assists in Sunday’s win, which was his second-highest, single-game total of the season and his best effort since Nov. 26 vs. Santa Clara.  On the year, MoMo averages 2.4 assists per game.

 

Toeing the Line:  UA scored 24 points from the line (30 attempts) Sunday in Raleigh, its second-best total of the year and effectively enough to boost the season team percentage to .782, a figure that ranks 10th nationally, though no team ranked above the Cats has made (222) or attempted (284) as many charity tosses.

 

More on Free throws:  As mentioned previously, Arizona has connected on 224-of-284 of its free throws (.782), and if such a figure would hold up, it would be the second-best free throw percentage in school history.  Just how good have the Wildcats been from the stripe?  Five regulars are shooting better than 80 percent, while the five starters have combined to hit 156-of-192 (.813) of its FT attempts.  Arizona outscores the opposition by an average of 5.1 points per game from the free throw line.

 

Spurt-ability:  CBS Sports’ Clark Kellogg would have been proud of the Arizona effort on Sunday, as the Cats displayed a spurt-ability of its own in posting a 10-point win.  While it wasn’t the 26-0 or 14-0 runs witnessed in the first two games of the season, UA’s well placed 8-0 run in the first half and 10-0 run in the second enabled the team to remain comfortably in the lead, a position it held for the final 33:13.

 

Ball Security:  The Wildcats  have done a nice job recently of taking care of the ball, as the team has totaled 18 turnovers in the last two outings.  That’s the fewest for the program in back-to-back games this season, and the 9.0 average turnovers per game is more than four turnovers per game fewer than the Cats’ season-long average (13.3 to/g).  Arizona is 9-0 this season when committing fewer turnovers than the opposition.

 

Getting Defensive:  After allowing opponents have a cumulative .510 field goal percentage (78-of-153) in the three previous games, Arizona responded by holding North Carolina State to just 31.8 percent shooting (21-of-66) in Sunday’s win.  The .318 FG percentage was the second-lowest opposing FG percentage of the season (Idaho State/.281) and marked the sixth time that Arizona has held an opponent to less than 40-percent shooting in a game this season.

 

A consistent Effort:  On the strength of a season-high 10 free throws, Derrick Williams registered his fifth 20-point game this year, a figure that ties him for the lead in the Pac-10 Conference.  Additionally, it was the 40th game with 10 or more points in his 43-game career and his 21st consecutive dating back to last season.

 

Good at Both Ends:  In addition to his offensive exploits, sophomore Derrick Williams is steadily becoming a better defender.  The 6-foot-8 native of La Mirada, Calif., also leads the team in blocked shots (11) and steals (15).  He also leads the Cats in defensive rebounding with 47 (3.9 drpg).

 

Stepping Up:  With Jamelle Horne saddled with foul troubles Sunday, junior forward Jesse Perry easily stepped in and produced, connecting on 4-of-7 shots en route to a season-high 10 points – his first double-figure scoring effort as a Wildcat – and grabbed a team-high six boards in 20 minutes of action.  The 6-foot-7 product of St. Louis, Mo., is averaging 4.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per game to date.

 

Stat Sheet Stuffer:  To borrow another phrase from Chark Kellogg, Solomon Hill is quickly becoming a stat sheet stuffer.  The 6-foot-6 sophomore from Los Angeles, Calif., collected seven points, five rebounds two assists and a career-high four steals in the win at North Carolina State.  Averaging 8.6 points per game, Hill is Arizona’s second leading scorer, but he also ranks second in steals (14) and rebounding (4.8 rpg) and third in assists (28).

 

Keeping Momentum on your side:  Center Kyryl Natyazhko tallied four points and a blocked shot in Sunday’s win, but the two mid-range jumpers he hit were big in terms of momentum.  The first, at 6:45 of the first half, gave Arizona its biggest lead of the first half, while the second, at 9:37 of the second, started the decisive 10-0 run that put the game out of reach.  Through 12 appearances the 6-foot-11, 264-pound sophomore from Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, 3.5 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.

 

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 espn.com and rivals.com.

 

Up Next:  Arizona returns to action by opening Pac-10 play on Thurs., Dec. 30, in Eugene, Ore.  The Cats face Oregon at McArthur Court with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. PST.  The contest can be seen on KWBA-TV.

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