Oct. 30, 2012
Date: Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012
Time: 6:30 p.m. PDT
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,538), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
GAME DATA: No. 12 Arizona (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12) hosts Humboldt State (1-0, 0-0 CCAA) in its first exhibition game prior to the start of the 2012-13 season Wednesday in McKale Center ... Humboldt State is an NCAA Division II school located in Arcata, Calif. ... Last season, the Lumberjacks posted a 22-8 record overall and a 15-7 conference mark ... The Wildcats host fellow California Collegiate Athletic Association member Chico State in its second exhibition game on Nov. 6 before opening the regular season on Nov. 11 against Charleston Southern.
THE RANKINGS: UA opens the 2012-13 season ranked in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' polls, checking in at No. 12 in the AP poll and No. 11 in the coaches' poll. It marks the second straight year that the Wildcats open the year nationally ranked in both major college basketball polls.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Sean Miller . . . begins his fourth season at the University of Arizona and his ninth overall as a college head coach with a record of 189-82 (.697) and 69-35 (.663) at Arizona ... In his eight-year career, Miller's teams have won 20 games six times and captured five regular-season or postseason tournament championships ... 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 16 trips to the postseason in his 19 seasons as a head, assistant or associate head coach (9 NCAA/7 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, all 23 players to complete eligibility under Miller have earned their degrees ... He is assisted by James Whitford, Emanuel Richardson and Joe Pasternack.
LAST TIME OUT: Following a similar script, Arizona fell behind by double digits, only to rally and fall just short at the end in what was a 65-54 loss to Bucknell in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament. UA tailed 52-42 with 6:17 to go before cutting the deficit to two points with 2:59 before Bucknell closed the game on a 9-0 run. UA shot just 35 percent from the field, including 32 percent in the second half, and the Bison turned a 36-28 rebound bulge into a +6 margin in second-chance points. Solomon Hill posted a double-double and Jesse Perry added 14 points, but the rest of the Cats combined to shoot 7-of-27 from the floor.
SCOUTING HUMBOLDT STATE: Fresh off a season that saw the Lumberjacks win 22 games and capture the California Collegiate Athletic Association postseason tournament championship, coach Steve Kinder's HSU team is already 1-0 on the season following an 87-45 win over Pacific Union on Oct. 25. The `Jacks jumped out to a 43-19 halftime lead and cruised from there, connecting on 54.5 percent of its field goals (30-of-55), outrebounding Pacific Union, 36-25 and forcing 29 turnovers. Three Lumberjacks finished in double figures, led by Ethan Dillard's 16 points.
THE SERIES: While Arizona and Humboldt State have not met officially, at least during the regular season, the two squads did meet in an exhibition game on Nov. 1, 2011, a 60-51 Wildcat win. All-time, Arizona is 7-5 against current California Collegiate Athletic Association members (2-0 vs. Cal Poly Pomona; 4-5 vs. Cal State Los Angeles; 1-0 vs. San Francisco State). For more information, please see page 51 of the UA media guide.
LAST MEETING: Arizona 60, Humboldt State 51, Nov. 1, 2011: Arizona rebounded from a sluggish start to defeat Humboldt State, 60-51, in UA's final exhibition game of the season. The Wildcats dominated the game in certain statistical categories: UA outrebounded the Lumberjacks, 49-23, UA outshot the `Jacks, .409-.327, UA connected on 12 more free throws and committed 19 fewer fouls. However, Arizona had double the turnovers (20-10) and hit only 57.9 percent of its free throws to keep the game close. Five straight points from Angelo Chol opened a 10-point lead for the Cats with 3:11 to go that essentially put the game out of reach.
ON THE LIST: Senior forward Solomon Hill received preseason honorable mention All-America kudos from the Associated Press. The 6-foot-7 native of Los Angeles, Calif., who averaged 12.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in 2011-12, was among those players to receive votes in preseason voting done by national media members.
IN THEY GO: The Cats enter the season with a total of eight newcomers on the roster as part of the nation's third-ranked recruiting class according to espn.com, and the octet of Brandon Ashley, Jacob Hazzard, Grant Jerrett, Matt Korcheck, Mark Lyons, T.J. McConnell, Kaleb Tarczewski and Gabe York is a balanced bunch: one senior, two juniors and six freshmen; and four guards, three forwards and a center. One thing is certain here in the preseason, expect a myriad of player rotations from the Wildcats.
EARLY COMPARISONS: With only the McDonald's Red-Blue Game as a measuring stick, it's probably a bit premature to do such things, but here goes. Cumulatively, Arizona connected on 45.0 percent of its field goal attempts (45-of-100) on Oct. 21, a figure that was slightly better than last season's 43.9 percent effort from the floor. While UA connected on 12-of-33 (.364) of its attempts from three-point range, down from last year's .378 accuracy, it's two-point field goal percentage (those FG attempts taken inside the arc) was markedly better in the Red-Blue Game (33-of-67/.493) when compared to 2011-12's figures (537-of-1,129/.476).
CONTINUING A TREND: The Cats combined to hit 18-of-23 (.783) free throws in the Red-Blue Game, continuing a trend that has seen Arizona sink 71.4 percent (1,784-of-2,499) of its free throw attempts during the Sean Miller era. Of the six players to attempt multiple free throws in the intrasquad scrimmage, five successfully made every attempt.
ANOTHER POSITIVE: It's always hard to judge such things in an intrasquad scrimmage, especially one that last 28 minutes, but Arizona passed out a total of 25 assists against 14 turnovers in the Red-Blue Game. While the 1.8:1 assist:turnover ratio is modest, it is an improvement over last year's 1.1:1 ratio through 35 games.
A NICE START: Sophomore Nick Johnson led all scorers in the Red-Blue Game, finishing with 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting. The 6-foot-3 guard connected on 4-of-8 shots from behind the arc, and added three boards, four assists and three steals for good measure. A year ago, Johnson average 8.9 points per game.
LOOKING GOOD: Kevin Parrom put forth a nice effort to lead his victorious Red squad, tallying 17 points and six rebounds in 26 minutes of action. The 6-foot-6 senior swingman knocked down 5-of-8 shots, including 4-of-7 from three-point range. Parrom's four treys equaled the number made by the Blue team.
BEING ACTIVE: The four-man UA frontline, featuring three freshmen and a sophomore, certainly held its own in the Red-Blue Game, as Brandon Ashley, Angelo Chol, Grant Jerrett and Kaleb Tarczewski combined for 41 points, 21 rebounds, seven assists and four blocked shots. The quartet connected on a respectable 16-of-35 (.457) field goal attempts.
WARMING UP: Perhaps it was the sellout crowd of 14,400 in attendance, but whatever the reason, the shooters got off to a slow start at the scrimmage, as the Red and Blue teams combined to make just 18-of-50 (.360) field goals in the first half. Fortunately, things improved after the halftime break, as the clubs combined to shoot .540 (27-of-50) from the field.
WE COULD GET USED TO THIS: Freshman forward Grant Jerrett made the most of his McKale Center debut, collecting 14 points and a game-high eight rebounds. The 6-foot-10 native of La Verne, Calif., made 5-of-8 shots from the floor, including a trey, and added a block and a steal. Perhaps most impressively, he also shared game-high honors with four assists. That's a well-rounded debut.
SAME OL' SOLO: A year after averaging 12.9 points and 7.7 rebounds, senior forward Solomon Hill picked up where he left off in the Red-Blue Game with totals of 14 points, seven rebounds, two assists, a block and two steals. The 6-foot-7 Hill, who logged a game-high 27 minutes, connected on 5-of-8 shots from inside the arc.
STEPPING IN: Senior guard Mark Lyons collected 13 points, four assists and two rebounds in 25 minutes of Red-Blue action. The 6-foot-1 transfer from Xavier University scored 11 of those 13 points in the first half and added a steal. For the game, Lyons hit 5-of-9 FG attempts.
A MEASURED RESPONSE: Arizona forward Brandon Ashley contributed 11 points, five boards and a pair of assists in his 22 minutes of action in the Red-Blue Game. In addition to making 5-of-9 shots, the 6-foot-8 freshman from Oakland, Calif., collected three offensive rebounds to lead all players. He was one of four Wildcats to grab five or more rebounds during the intrasquad scrimmage.
SOLID IN THE MIDDLE: The seventh player to finish in double figures in the Red-Blue Game was freshman center Kaleb Tarczewski, who posted 10 points on 5-of-12 shooting. The 7-foot, 255-pound native of Claremont, N.H., also grabbed four boards and added a blocked shot.
UP NEXT: The Wildcats will next be in action on Tuesday, Nov. 6, as the team hosts Chico State in its final exhibition game. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. PDT in McKale Center.