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UA, KU Meet In Match-up of Unbeatens
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: November 27, 2010
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Nov. 27, 2010

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Date: Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010
Time: 7:30 p.m. PST
Location: Orleans Arena (7,500), Las Vegas, Nev.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: ESPN2 (Dave O’Brien/Jay Bilas)

Game Data:  Arizona (5-0, 0-0 Pac-10) concludes play in the iBN Sports Las Vegas Invitational by facing No. 6 Kansas (5-0, 0-0 Big 12) Saturday at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.  ... Tonight’s game is Arizona’s first of the season against a nationally ranked opponent ... It is also the Wildcats’ first regular-season game against a top-10 foe since Jan. 15, 2009 (L, 83-60 at No. 9 UCLA) ... UA is off to its best start (5-0) since the 2002-03 season ... The Cats are averaging 85.2 points per game and are outscoring opponents by an average of 30.6 points per game ... Forward Derrick Williams is riding a streak of 14 straight games in double figures ... Over the last 27 seasons, Arizona has a record of 72-20 (.783) record in the month of November.


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 141-62 (.695) and 21-15 (.583) 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, 41, earned a degree in communications from Pitt in 1992 ... He is assisted by Archie Miller, Emanuel Richardson and James Whitford ... Miller is 0-0 vs. Kansas as a head coach.


Last Time Out:  Derrick Williams (22) and Solomon Hill (20) combined for 42 points as Arizona pulled away from Santa Clara in the second half to win, 82-59, Friday in the third round of the iBN Sports Las Vegas Invitational. The UA frontcourt duo combined to make 17-of-20 free throw attempts in the second period, helping the Cats ooutscore the Broncos, 48-31, after the break.  Arizona broke the game open with a 12-2 run over 4:16 in which eight of the points came from the line.  All told, Arizona held a 27-6 advantage from the line.  Jamelle Horne and Kevin Parrom added 12 points apiece.


Scouting Kansas:  The Jayhawks, ranked sixth natonally in both polls, enter tonight’s game with a 5-0 record (0-0 Big 12) following Friday’s 98-41 win over Ohio.  On the season, KU averages 93.0 points, shoots 58.9 percent from the floor (176-of-299), 40.4 percent (38-of-94) from three-point range and 66.4 percent (75-of-113) from the line.  Opponents average 52.2 points, are outrebounded by 9.8 boards per game and shoot 34.0 percent from the floor (102-of-300).  Individually, four Jayhawk players average in double-figures, led by Marcus Morris’ 19.6 ppg average.  Twin brother Markieff Morris leads Kansas with an 10.6 rebounds per game average.


The Series:  This is the 12th meeting of the two schools with Kansas holding a 7-4 advantage, though the teams have split the last six meetings dating back to the 2001-02 campaign.  Arizona won the last meeting, 84-67, on Dec. 23, 2008, in Tucson, in the Desert Diamond Fiesta Bowl Classic.  All-time, Arizona is 1-2 in series games played in Tucson, 1-2 in Lawrence, Kan., and 2-3 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 43 in the UA media guide.


Last Meeting:  Arizona 84, Kansas 67, Dec. 23, 2008:  Trailing 44-35 with 18:57 to go in the second half, Arizona responded with a 29-6 run over the next 8:44 to take control of the game.  All told, UA limited KU to 36 percent shooting and outscored the Jayhawks, 49-29, after the break.  Jamelle Horne posted career-high totals of 19 points and 13 rebounds to earn Fiesta Bowl Classic MVP honors, while Jordan Hill added 23 points and 11 rebounds.  Arizona outrebounded Kansas by 11 and held a 20-8 advantage in second-chance points.


Against the Big 12 Conference:  All-time, Arizona is 65-68 (.489) against schools that currently reside in the Big 12 Conference. The last time the Wildcats faced a Big 12 club was Dec. 6, 2009, when Oklahoma defeated Arizona, 79-62, in Norman. For a conference breakdown, see page 47 in the UA media guide.


In-Season Tournaments:  Arizona continues its first-ever appearance in the iBN Sports Las Vegas Invitational.  Generally speaking, in-season tournaments have been good to Arizona, as the club is 127-60 (.679) all-time in such events.  That number rises dramatically over the most recent 26 seasons, as the Wildcats are 98-20 (.831) in regular season showcases like this.


Against Ranked Opponents:  When Arizona takes the court tonight against No. 6 Kansas, it will mark the Wildcats’ first game this season against a nationally ranked foe.  Since the Associated Poll debuted during the 1949 season, Arizona is 126-163 (.436) against all ranked opponents, and the Cats are 7-13 against teams ranked No. 6 at the time of the game.  Last season, Sean Miller’s charges went 1-2 against ranked teams. Please see pages 70-72 in the UA media guide for more information.


Similar Features:  Aside from national rankings, the statistics show that Arizona and Kansas have had similar results to this point of the season.  Both KU (93.0) and UA (85.2) are averaging better than 85 points per game, both are shooting better than 50 percent as a team (.589/.515), both post large rebound advantages (+9.8/+13.2), both hold opponents to less than 40 percent shooting (.340/.369), and both hold opponents to less than 60 points per game (52.2/54.6).


Off the Mark:  Arizona entered yesterday’s game leading the Pac-10 Conference with a .526 field goal percentage, but only managed to post a .469 field goal percentage (23-of-49) Friday against Santa Clara.  It was also the first time this season that an opponent had outshot the Cats (.469-.481).  However, UA did win the game, marking just the third time in 16 occurrences in the Sean Miller era that the Cats were outshot from the field and still won.  Additionally, Arizona’s 23 field goals and 49 attempts Friday were both season lows.


Cashing In:  Even though the Wildcats weren’t as efficient offensively as displayed in its four wins of the season, Arizona did tally 48 points in the second half of Friday’s win, which was the second-highest second half total this season.  Still, UA pushed the lead to as many as 26 points and eventually won by 23 points, which equaled Arizona’s smallest winning margin this season.  Arizona also defeated Northern Colorado by 23 points (93-70) on Nov. 21.


Board Work:  Arizona’s focus on the glass has paid big dividends so far, as the Cats are ourebounding opponents by a +13.2 margin, tops among Pac-10 teams.  Friday’s win -- where the rebound totals were even at 30 -- marked this first time this season that Arizona had not won the rebounding battle and each of UA’srebounding totals -- 8 offensive, 22 defensive, 30 total -- were season lows.


Hold them down:  Arizona’s opponents have managed a cumulative .369 field goal percentage (97-of-263) though five games this year.  In fact, only Santa Clara (25-of-52/.481) has broken the 40-percent barrier against the Cats in 2010-11.  Perhaps Saturday’s game will be an interesting test of wills, as Kansas enters the contest shooting a cumulative 58.9 percent (176-of-299) from the field.


Charity Tosses:  Solomon Hill (10-of-12) and Derrick Williams (9-of-10) combined to make 19-of-22 free throw attempts Friday against Santa Clara.  In the second half alone, Arizona converted 18-of-24 attempts and finished with 27 makes in 34 attempts.  In five games, Arizona has outscored each opponent from the stripe by an average margin of 10.2 points per game.  All told, Arizona has scored more points from the free throw line (113) than the opposition has attempted (94).  Additionally, Arizona’s .779 (113-of-145) free throw percentage is tops in the Pac-10 Conference.


Two Topping 20:  Solomon Hill hit 5-of-6 field goal attempts and 10-of-12 free throws en route to a career-high 20 points and his first 20-point game.  He was joined on the 20-point plateau by Derrick Williams, who finished with a game-high 22 points.  For Arizona, it marked the first time this season that UA had to players score 20 or more points.  For Williams, it was the 10th 20-point game of his 36-game career.


Extending His Range:  Much has been written in this space about the fact that entering the weekend 19 of Derrick Williams’ 26 field goals on the season were either dunks or lay-ups.  Perhaps his most eye-opening statistic is that the 6-foot-8 forward from La Mirada, Calif., has five treys this season in six total attempts (.833).  Friday, against Santa Clara, Williams connected on all three of his attempts from behind the arc.  For a guy shooting 66.0 percent from the field, it was interesting that he was 3-of-3 from outside the arc and just 2-of-9 from two-point range.


Don’t Overlook Him:  Kevin Parrom put forth a solid effort Friday, connecting on 5-of-7 field goals, including 2-of-3 treys, en route to 12 points in a season-high 21 minutes.  For the 6-foot-6 sophomore swingman, it was his first game in double figures this season.  Parrom grabbed three rebounds, collected an assist and a steal without a turnover for good measure.  On the year, Parrom is averaging 6.2 points and 3.8 rebounds, while shooting .529 (9-of-27) from the floor.


Finding His Stroke:  Through five games to date, senior forward Jamelle Horne has connected on .469 (15-of-32) of his field goal attempts, including .350 (7-of-20) from three-point range.  But the 6-foot-7 product of San Diego, Calif., has been shooting it better of late, as he has hit 10-of-19 field goals (.526) and 6-of-13 (.462) three-point attempts over his last three games.  Horne is averaging 10.0 points per game in that span.


Moving the Ball:  Sophomore point guard Lamont Jones equaled a career high with five assists in Friday’s win.  The 6-foot sophomore from Harlem, N.Y., is averaging 3.4 assists in 22.6 minutes per game.  He was also credited with his first collegiate blocked shot on Friday.


In the Middle:  Sophomore center continues to come into his own so far this year.  The 6-foot-11, 264-pound native of Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, grabbed a team-high five rebounds Friday to go with a season-high 17 minutes played.  Natyazhko is averaging 6.0 rebounds per game in his last three outings.  Through five games, he has per game averages of 4.8 points and 4.6 rebounds.


Ball security:  Arizona forced a season-high 24 turnovers in Friday’s win and converted those miscues into 25 points.  On the season, UA opponents are averaging 15.8 turnovers per game.


Scoring 80:  Arizona scored 82 points yesterday vs. Santa Clara, topping the 80-point barrier for the fourth time this year.  Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 190-19 (.909) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points.   Arizona was 6-0 last season when topping the 80-point plateau.


Up Next:  Following tonight’s game, Arizona plays its first true road game of the season on Wednesday, Dec. 1 at Rice. Tip-off in Houston, Texas, is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST and can be seen on CBS College Sports.

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