Feb. 12, 2013
Date: Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013
Time: 8 p.m. MST
Location: Coors Events Center (11,064), Boulder, Colo.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Ted Robinson/Dan Belluomini)
GAME DATA: No. 9 Arizona (20-3, 8-3 Pac-12) hits the road for the Rocky Mountain road swing, beginning Thursday at Colorado (16-7, 6-5 Pac-12) in the Coors Events Center ... In seven true road games to date, the Wildcats average 72.0 points per game, enjoying a +5.8 rebound margin and a +9.6 scoring margin and limiting the opposition to a .395 (150-of-380) field goal percentage ... Three of Arizona's seven previous trips to Boulder have been decided by three points or less, including last season's one-point finish.
THE RANKINGS: UA is ranked ninth in both the Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. The Wildcats have been ranked in the top 10 in both polls for 13 straight weeks. Only five other squads in UA history have had longer streaks.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Joe Pasternack ... Miller is 3-2 vs. Colorado as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: Led by Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs, California shot 65 percent from the field in the second half to come from behind and win Sunday, 77-69. Crabbe scored 10 of his game-high 31 points in the Golden Bears' decisive 16-2 run to open the second half. Arizona did some things well - 9-of-18 three-point shooting, nine turnovers - but was no match for California's efficiency, as Crabbe and Cobbs combined for 20-of-29 shooting and 52 points. Mark Lyons led three Arizona players in double figures with 16 points.
SCOUTING COLORADO: The Buffaloes enters tonight's game with a 16-7 record (6-5 Pac-12) following Sunday's 72-68 win at Oregon State. On the season, Colorado averages 69.4 points per game, shoots 45.6 percent from the floor (562-of-1,232), 35.8 percent (117-of-327) from three-point range and 66.9 percent (356-of-532) from the line. Opponents average 63.9 points, are outrebounded by 3.6 per game and shoot 39.7 percent from the floor (540-of-1,359). Individually, four Colorado players average in double figures, led by Spencer Dinwiddie's 14.8 ppg figure. Andre Roberson leads the Buffs and the Pac-12 in rebounding at 11.6 rebounds per game.
THE SERIES: Tonight's game is the 18th meeting of the two schools with Colorado holding a 10-7 series advantage. Arizona has won six of the last nine meetings in the series, which dates back to Dec. 2, 1960, including the last, 92-83 (ot), Jan. 3, in Tucson. Ten of the previous 17 meetings came in the 1960s. All-time, Arizona is 5-3 in series games played in Tucson, 1-6 in Boulder, and 1-1 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 47 in the UA media guide.
LAST MEETING: Arizona 92, Colorado 83 (ot), Jan. 3, 2013: 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. 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. UA 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.
TOP CAT: Mark Lyons averaged 20.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game in a pair of tilts last week, while shooting 51.9 percent (14-of-27) from the field and 58.3 percent (6-of-10) from the line to go with four steals. He opened the week with a season-high 25 points, two rebounds and six assists Thursday vs. Stanford on 9-of-13 shooting (.692) and added 16 points (4-of-6 from three-point range), a season-high five rebounds, three assists and two steals Sunday against California. On the year, Lyons averages 15.4 points, 2.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
TUG O' WAR: In a series that has produced two overtime affairs and two games decided by two points or less in the five meetings, tonight's contest could turn on the performance from the three-point line. Arizona enters the game leading the Pac-12 with an average of 7.7 made treys per game and ranks second with a .363 (176-of-485) three-point field goal percentage, while Colorado enters ranked second in the league by limiting opponents to a .325 (163-of-502) percentage from behind the arc.
A RARITY: The Wildcats dropped an eight-point decision to California Sunday after holding a 38-33 halftime lead. It was the first time this season in 16 occurrences that Arizona failed to hold a lead at the break. Sunday's game marked just the fifth time this season that the Cats have been outscored in the second half, posting a +6.1 scoring margin in the period. Going a step further, UA is now 70-10 (.875) under Sean Miller when holding a halftime lead.
MORE RARITIES: UA connected on 9-of-18 three-point attempts Sunday vs. California, marking the fourth time this season that the Cats had made at least half of its long-range attempts. Over the last two seasons, Arizona is 9-1 when connecting on at least 50 percent of its three-point field goal attempts. Furthermore, Arizona finished Sunday's game with only nine turnovers, one shy of a season low. In that same span, UA is 10-3 when totaling fewer than 10 turnovers. This season, Arizona is 13-1 when committing fewer turnovers than the opposition, as was the case Sunday.
USUALLY A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS: Connecting on half of your three-point attempts, getting to the line 24 times and committing less than 10 turnovers usually equals success, but that didn't happen against California. Unfortunately, the Wildcats shot just 39.3 percent (22-of-56) from the field, missed eight free throws, including five in the second half, and allowed the Golden Bears to shoot 58.8 percent (30-of-51) from the floor. Sunday's game was the first of the season in which the Cats failed to connect on at least 70 percent of its free throws when shooting less that 40 percent from the field.
GOOD RUN: Senior guard Mark Lyons is enjoying a run of good play, averaging 20.3 points, 3.3 assists and 2.0 steals per game over the last three outings. In that span, the 6-foot-1 native of Schenectady, N.Y., has connected on 20-of-40 shots (.500) from the floor, including 9-of-19 (.474) from three-point range in 29.3 minutes per appearance. He's also hit 12-of-15 (.800) shots from the line in those three games. The effort has raised his season scoring average to 15.4 ppg, a figure that ranks seventh in the league.
ON THE RISE: Forward Brandon Ashley tallied 12 points and nine rebounds (five offensive) against California, which was his 10th double-figure scoring game of the season. Additionally, the 12 points equaled his highest point total of the Pac-12 season, while the nine boards were his most since Dec. 22 (13 games). Sunday's game saw the 6-foot-8 freshman attempt a season-high 10 field goals, collect two steals and log 29 minutes. On the season, Ashley averages 8.0 points and 5.8 rebounds, while leading the team with a .512 (62-of-121) field goal percentage.
ASSISTING THE CAUSE: Over the last three games, guard Nick Johnson has passed out 13 assists against only one turnover, including a spotless five-assist, zero-turnover game Sunday vs. California. The effort boosted his season assists per game average to 2.9, while his 1.7:1 assist:turnover ratio leads the team. Additionally, Johnson leads Arizona and ranks second in the Pac-12 with his 50 steals. Those 50 steals (2.2 spg) are nearly double his total of 26 last season. Through 23 games, the sophomore averages 12.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.
STREAKING: Senior forward Solomon Hill continues to play like one of the top players in the Pac-12 Conference. Over the last 10 games, the 6-foot-7 forward is averaging 15.4 points and leads the Cats with a 5.5 rebounds per game average and shooting percentages of .514 (56-of-109) from the field and .431 (22-of-51) from three-point range. He's finished in double figures in all 10 games and has pulled down five or more rebounds six times in that span.
PICKING IT UP: In two games last week, swingman Kevin Parrom averaged 7.5 points and 5.5 rebounds. The 6-foot-6 senior is shooting 47.8 percent (66-of-138) from the floor and has pulled down five or more rebounds 11 times in 2012-13. His FG percentage ranks third-best among Arizona regulars.
ANOMALY: Sunday's loss to California marked just the sixth time this season that Arizona was outrebounded (31-28), and the Cats are 4-2 when that happens. The Wildcats' +7.0 rebound margin currently ranks second in the league, while UA's .735 defensive rebound percentage - the percentage in which the team grabs a defensive rebound off a missed opposing shot - leads Pac-12 clubs.
LIMITING MISTAKES: As mentioned earlier, Arizona committed just nine turnovers Sunday vs. the Golden Bears and posted a +4 turnover margin for the game. On the season, UA ranks third in the Pac-12 by forcing on average 1.2 more turnovers per game than it commits. Over the course of the season, the Wildcats average 18.0 turnover points per game and outscore the opposition by 5.2 points per game in that category. Sunday vs. Cal, the margin was 17-13 in UA's favor.
BEFORE THEY MAKE ME RUN: Arizona has displayed a knack for timely runs so far this season. Jan. 26 vs. USC, the Wildcats used an 18-4 run to open the game and put things out of reach quickly. 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
18-4 run over 6:28 (1st) vs. USC, Jan. 26
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 3:38 (2nd) at Arizona State, Jan. 19
11-0 run over 3:13 (2nd) vs. Oral Roberts, Dec. 18
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 tonight's game, Arizona next will be in action on Sunday, Feb. 17, when the squad plays at Utah. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. MST and can be seen on the Pac-12 Networks.