Jan. 4, 2013
Date: Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013
Time: 3 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,538), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Jim Rosborough) [Sirius/XM: 113/192]
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Kevin Calabro/Matt Muehlebach)
GAME DATA: Third-ranked Arizona (13-0, 1-0 Pac-12) closes the opening weekend of conference action Saturday by hosting Utah (8-5, 0-1 Pac-12) in McKale Center ... One of four remaining unbeaten teams nationally, the Wildcats look to remain on the positive side of the ledger and face a quick turnaround after Thursday's overtime win ... Thursday's win gave UA its best start in 60 seasons, dating back to 1931-32 (16-0) ... Arizona is 32-1 under Sean Miller when scoring 80 or more points.
THE RANKINGS: UA is ranked third in both the Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. The Cats' No. 3 ranking is the highest for the program under Sean Miller, and the first time UA has been ranked in the top five in both polls since coming in at No. 3 in each on Jan. 5, 2004.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Joe Pasternack ... Miller is 2-0 vs. Utah as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: Trailing by as many as 17 points, including a 10-point deficit with 1:55 to go, Arizona outscored Colorado 15-5 down the stretch to force overtime and eventually pull away for the 92-83 win Thursday. The Buffs missed 5-of-8 free throws and turned it over twice in the last 104 seconds of regulation to give the Cats a chance. Arizona made three field goals and 5-of-6 free throws to cap the run. In the extra session, UA limited CU to just 1-of-9 shooting from the field, while the Cats knocked in 6-of-8 free throws. Six Wildcats finished in double figures, led by Mark Lyons, who tallied a game-high 24, including five in overtime.
SCOUTING UTAH: The Utes enter today's game with an 8-5 record (0-1 Pac-12) following Wednesday's 55-54 overtime loss at Arizona State. On the season, Utah averages 68.2 points per game, shoots 46.3 percent from the floor (313-of-676), 36.7 percent (83-of-226) from three-point range and 76.4 percent (178-of-233) from the line. Opponents average 57.0 points, are outrebounded by 7.9 per game and shoot 35.4 percent from the floor (268-of-758). Individually, two Utah players average in double figures, led by Jarred DuBois' 13.3 ppg figure. Jordan Loveridge leads the Utes in rebounding at 7.8 rebounds per game.
THE SERIES: Today's game is the 52nd meeting of the two schools with Utah holding a 28-23 series advantage. Arizona captured the last five meetings in the series, which dates back to Dec. 21, 1953, including a 70-61 win in Tucson on Feb. 11, 2012. Since leaving the WAC, UA is 8-3 against Utah. All-time, Arizona is 14-8 in series games played in Tucson, 7-19 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and 2-1 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 49 in the UA media guide.
LAST MEETING: Arizona 70, Utah 61, Feb. 11, 2012: Arizona found itself in an early 13-point deficit and spent much of the rest of the game digging itself out of that hole. Led by Brendon Lavender, who combined to score 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting in the second half, UA outscored Utah 45-28 in the period with Johnson's trey at 1:24 giving Arizona the lead for good. The Wildcats outscored the Utes 17-6 from the line and turned 15 UU miscues into 15 turnover points, including 13 in the second half.
WINNING THE TOUGH ONES: Arizona's overtime win Thursday was the program's sixth in its last eight overtime affairs, including a 5-2 record under Sean Miller ... This season, the Wildcats are 4-0 when tied or trailing with five minutes to go in regulation ... Thursday's win was the third this season in which Arizona trailed in the final minute of regulation. In those three contests, UA has outscored the opposition (Florida/San Diego State/Colorado) by a combined 15-2 margin.
DIFFERENCE MAKERS: A quick look at the boxscore shows that Arizona was able to do a number of little things that helped lead it to victory. UA outshot and outscored Colorado from the free throw line, outrebounded the Buffs by 11 and held the following statistical advantages: 36-32 in the paint; 16-12 off turnovers; 17-2 second chance; and 30-17 bench points.
A DOMINANT EFFORT: Arizona put forth a dominant effort on the boards Thursday, outrebounding Colorado, 44-33, including a 15-6 advantage on the offensive boards. On the year, Arizona has outrebounded 10 of 13 opponents with nine of those coming by 10 or more. UA's +9 offensive rebound advantage Thursday equaled the biggest margin of the season allowed by Colorado.
SPEAKING OF REBOUNDING: Today's game spotlight's two of the Pac-12's top rebounding clubs, as Arizona (10.2 margin) and Utah (7.9) rank second and third, respectively, when it comes to rebound margin. Additionally, the Cats (27.6 rpg) and Utes (31.7 rpg) also rank first and fourth in terms of rebounding defense, or the number of rebounds allowed to your opponent. Combined, the two teams have outrebounded 19 of 26 opponents to date.
BECAUSE YOU WANT TO KNOW: The Wildcats erased a 17-point, first-half deficit (30-13/4:47) in Thursday's win, but that wasn't the largest comeback in recent McKale Center history. On Dec. 2, 2007, Arizona eliminated a 20-point deficit in downing Texas A&M, 78-67. The Aggies held a 32-12 lead with 6:47 to go in the first half before the Wildcats outscored them 66-35 the rest of the way, including 50-27 in the second half. UA's Jerryd Bayless led the comeback, totaling 26 points.
SIX FOR 10: Led by Kevin Parrom (16), Solomon Hill (15), Nick Johnson (12), Kaleb Tarczewski (10) and Grant Jerrett (10) combined to total 87 points. It's the first time UA has had six players finish in double figures since Jan. 10, 2010, in an 87-70 win over Washington.
CHARITABLE CAUSE: Free throws proved to be influential against Colorado, as the Wildcats posted season-high totals of 28 FTs made and 36 attempts. Not only did Arizona outscore Colorado by 11 from the stripe, but did so at a better percentage (.778/.586). Led by Mark Lyons, who made 8-of-8 attempts in the second half and overtime, Arizona sank 18-of-24 (.750) attempts over the last 25 minutes of clock, while Colorado made just 13-of-23 (.565).
MAKING THE NECESSARY ADJUSTMENTS: After shooting a season-low 25.9 percent (7-of-27) in the first half, UA found its shooting eye in the second, connecting on 60 percent (18-of-30) of its field goal attempts in the period, which marked the sixth half this year in which Arizona has shot 60 percent or better from the floor. The Cats improved from behind the arc as well, jumping from .273 (3-of-11) in the first to .556 (5-of-9) in the second. On the season, Arizona shoots .472 (334-of-708) from the field and .387 (105-of-271) from three-point range.
A FORCE OFF THE BENCH: Kevin Parrom continues to be one of the Cats most productive players, as he tallied 16 points (6-of-9 FG), eight boards, two assists and a career-high three steals vs. Colorado, including five points in overtime. The 6-foot-6 senior swingman is averaging 14.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game over his last three games. Sports Illustrated'sLuke Winn called Parrom college basketball's best sixth man in the non-conference portion of the 2012-13 season.
HE ROARS: Guard Mark Lyons posted a season-high 24 points in Thursday's win, which was the most points by a Wildcat since Solomon Hill poured in 25 against UCLA on March 8, 2012. The 6-foot-1 guard from Schenectady, N.Y., hit just 6-of-16 field goals, but equaled a career high with 10 free throws, and scored five of those points in the extra session. Arizona has five 20-point scoring efforts this season and Lyons leads the Cats with two.
JOIN THE CLUB: Freshman center Kaleb Tarczewski posted his first collegiate game in double figures Thursday, as he connected on 4-of-7 field goals en route to 10 points. Interestingly, Tarczewski's seven FG attempts was well above his shots per game average of 4.5. The 7-foot center from Claremont, N.H., also grabbed four boards and added a blocked shot. He's the ninth different Wildcat to register 10 or more points in a game this season. Through 13 games, Tarczewski is averaging 6.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game to go with a .576 (34-of-59) field goal percentage.
PERCOLATING: Forward Grant Jerrett collected 10 points, six rebounds and two assists in a season-best 26 minutes Thursday to move his per-game averages to 6.2 points and 3.9 rebounds. Over his last five games, the 6-foot-10 freshman from Chino Hills, Calif., 7.6 points and 4.2 rebounds to go with a .517 (15-of-29) field goal percentage. He's one of six Wildcats averaging better than seven points per game in that span.
IT'S KEEPS YOU RUNNING: Arizona has displayed a knack for timely runs so far this season. Thursday against Colorado, the Wildcats used a 27-8 run to close the second half and through overtime to turn a 10-point deficit into a nine-point win. Here is a look at UA's notable runs to date:
26-3 run over 8:41 (2nd) at Texas Tech, Dec. 1
27-8 run over 6:53 (2nd+ot) vs. Colorado, Jan. 3
21-4 run over 9:07 (2nd) vs. Long Beach State, Nov. 19
23-6 run over 7:55 (1st) vs. Long Beach State, Nov. 19
22-7 run over 8:56 (2nd) at Clemson, Dec. 8
13-0 run over 4:26 (2nd) vs. UTEP, Nov. 15
14-2 run over 4:10 (2nd) vs. Northern Arizona, Nov. 28
22-10 run over 9:27 (1st) vs. Charleston Southern, Nov. 11
11-0 run over 3:13 (2nd) vs. Oral Roberts, Dec. 18
14-4 run over 5:48 (2nd) vs. Southern Miss, Dec. 4
SCORING 80: Arizona scored 92 points Thursday vs. Colorado, 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 212-20 (.914) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points.
RECRUITING CLASS: The Arizona coaching staff signed two student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent as part of the November early signing period. Rondae Jefferson (F, 6-7, 215) from Chester, Pa., who preps at Chester H.S.; and Elliott Pitts (G, 6-5, 180) from Dublin, Calif., who preps at De La Salle H.S.; make up a class that is ranked No. 18 nationally by espn.com.
UP NEXT: Following today's contest, Arizona returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 10, when the Cats travel to Eugene, Ore., to face Oregon. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. PST and can be seen on ESPN2.