Game 15: No. 4 Arizona (14-0, 2-0) at Oregon (12-2, 1-0)
Jan. 8, 2013
Complete Release as a PDF File
Date: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013
Time: 6 p.m. PST
Location: Matthew Knight Arena (12,369), Eugene, Ore.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: ESPN2 (Dave Pasch/Bill Walton)
GAME DATA: Fourth-ranked Arizona (14-0, 2-0 Pac-12) hits the road for the first time in Pac-12 action, heading to Eugene, Ore., Thursday to face Oregon (12-2, 1-0 Pac-12) in Matthew Knight Arena ... It is Arizona's first appearance in the facility, which opened in 2011, and the Cats are 4-1 in its last five trips to Eugene ... In two true road games this season, Arizona is averaging 75.5 points per game and limiting the hosts to 55.5 points and a .365 (42-of-115) field goal percentage.
THE RANKINGS: UA is ranked fourth in the Associated Press poll and third in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. The Cats' No. 3 ranking is the highest for the program under Sean Miller, and Arizona now has been ranked in the nation's top five for four consecutive weeks.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Sean Miller . . . is in his fourth season at the University of Arizona and his ninth overall as a college head coach with a record of 203-82 (.712) and 83-35 (.703) at Arizona ... In his eight-plus year career, Miller's teams have won 20 games six times and captured five regular-season or postseason tournament titles ... 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, earning Pac-10 Conference and NABC District 20 Coach-of-the-Year honors ... 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 ... Miller has recruited classes ranked in the top-10 nationally in each of the last two seasons ... He is assisted by James Whitford, Emanuel Richardson and Joe Pasternack ... Miller is 4-1 vs. Oregon as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: In a game that Arizona led throughout, the Cats had to withstand a Utah rally in what was a 60-57 win Saturday. The Cats connected on just 36.2 percent of its field goal attempts and saw a 10-point lead dwindle to three on the final possession before a Utah game-tying shot was off the mark with four seconds to go. Arizona outrebounded Utah by 11 and held an 11-2 advantage in points off turnovers. Solomon Hill and Mark Lyons combined for 20 points in the second half.
SCOUTING OREGON: The Ducks enter tonight's game with a 12-2 record (1-0 Pac-12) following Sunday's 79-66 win at Oregon State. On the season, Oregon averages 77.5 points per game, shoots 46.7 percent from the floor (388-of-831), 31.5 percent (78-of-248) from three-point range and 73.6 percent (231-of-314) from the line. Opponents average 60.8 points, are outrebounded by 10.6 per game and shoot 38.4 percent from the floor (304-of-792). Individually, five Oregon players average in double figures, led by Damyean Dotson's 11.8 ppg figure. Arsalan Kazemi leads the Ducks in rebounding at 9.8 rebounds per game.
THE SERIES: Tonight's game is the 70th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 45-24 advantage in the series, which dates back to Jan. 12, 1979. The Cats have won six of the last 10 games in the series, but Oregon captured the last, 59-57, in Tucson on Jan. 14, 2012. All-time, Arizona is 26-8 in series games played in Tucson, 19-14 in Eugene, and 0-2 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 47 in the UA media guide.
LAST MEETING: Oregon 59, Arizona 57, Jan. 14, 2012: Oregon built a 17-point, second-half lead, only to see Arizona roar back and take a two-point lead of its own with 2:59 to go before E.J. Singler and Garrett Sim sank back-to-back buckets to give the Ducks the lead for good. Arizona had opportunities on the closing possession, but a game-winning trey and a game-tying jumper were off the mark. Solomon Hill led all scorers with 16 points, but Oregon's balance put four players in double figures.
CONSISTENTLY GOOD: Solomon Hill led Arizona to a pair of wins last week by averaging 17.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 66.7 percent (10-of-15) from the field, 83.3 percent (5-of-6) from three-point range and 90.0 percent (9-of-10) from the line. He opened the week with 15 points and eight rebounds in the overtime win over Colorado, notching 13 of those points in the second half and overtime period. Against the Buffaloes, Hill connected on 4-of-8 field goals and 5-of-6 free throws, while three of his team-high eight rebounds were offensive. He followed that up with a game-high 19 points, six rebounds, an assist and steal in the win over Utah. Hill connected on all three treys and 6-of-7 field goals in the three-point win, including a key three-point field goal with 4:59 to go that pushed a one-point lead to four. On the season, Hill averages 13.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game to go with a .451 field goal percentage.
FWIW: With a pair of wins last weekend to begin Pac-12 play, it marks the first time in the Sean Miller era that Arizona has opened conference play 2-0. In fact, it's the first time since 2006-07 that the Wildcats have been 2-0 in Pac-12 action after the first weekend of the conference schedule.
TEN OR MORE: Arizona outrebounded both Colorado (44-33) and Utah (38-27) by +11 margins and have outrebounded 11 of 14 opponents to date this season. Interestingly, 10 of those 11 positive rebounding efforts this year have been by 10 or more. Both Colorado and Utah carried a rebound margin of +5.0 or better entering the games against Arizona. Through 14 games, UA holds a +10.3 rebound margin.
OFFENSIVE TO SOME: Led by Kaleb Tarczewski, much of Arizona's rebound dominance last week came on the offensive glass, as the Cats posted a cumulative 33-14 offensive rebound advantage in the wins over Colorado and Utah. Saturday against the Utes, Arizona held an 18-8 advantage on the offensive glass, marking the fifth time this season that Arizona has posted an offensive rebound advantage of eight or more. Individually, nine of Tarczewski's 13 rebounds this weekend were offensive, including a season-high seven Saturday against Utah. His efforts help Arizona enjoy a +6.0 advantage per game when it comes to second-chance points. Further, Arizona has pulled down 12 or more offensive boards in a game nine times this year, including the last five consecutive.
CONVERSIONS: On the surface, a season-low 11 free throws made and 12 free throw attempts might raise eyebrows, but in a three-point game Arizona outscored Utah 11-8 from the charity stripe - Utah and Arizona, the Pac-12's two best free throw shooting teams combined to make 19-of-21 attempts in the contest. Arizona has outscored the last 13 opponents from the free throw line and on average scores 7.5 more points per game from the line than its opponents.
IT'S TOUGH AT THAT END: Through 14 games, the Wildcat defense is allowing an average of 60.7 points per game. Counting Saturday's 57-point effort against Utah, the Wildcats have held eight opponents to less than 60 points in 2012-13. UA's current 60.7 ppg scoring defense figure is the lowest of the Sean Miller era and the lowest for the program since 1984-85 (60.3 ppg). Currently, UA's scoring defense figure ranks third in the Pac-12.
TIGHTENING UP: Through 14 games, Arizona is averaging 14.0 turnovers per game, but the Cats have sharpened that up in its last three, averaging just 10.0 turnovers in the wins over San Diego State, Colorado and Utah. Included in that span were the two lowest turnover figures of the season: 8 vs. San Diego State and 9 vs. Utah. On the season, Arizona posts a +6.7 ppg advantage in points off turnovers, and in the last three games the margin is 43-26. In Saturday's three-point win over Utah, the advantage was 11-2 in Arizona's favor.
A STANDOUT PERFORMER: Over the last four games Kevin Parrom has been one of Arizona's most productive players, averaging 12.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. In that span, the 6-foot-6 swingman has connected on 58.8 percent of his field goal attempts (20-of-34), including 46.7 percent (7-of-15) from three-point range. Through 14 games, Parrom is averaging 9.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
A PLAYMAKER IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE: It was another week of strong finishes for Mark Lyons, this time from the free throw line. Thursday vs. Colorado, Lyons equaled a career high with 10-of-10 free throws made, including a pair with nine seconds remaining in regulation that tied the contest and was 3-of-3 in overtime. Saturday vs. Utah he was 5-of-6 from the line, including two free throws with seven seconds to go that provided the final margin. Fifteen of Lyons's 36 points this week came from the line, and he leads Arizona with a .883 (53-of-60) free throw percentage. He finished Saturday's game with 12 points, marking the 75th game in double figures in his college career.
WORKING TOGETHER: Arizona's three freshmen inside players - Brandon Ashley (13), Kaleb Tarczewski (12) and Grant Jerrett (9) - have combined for 34 blocked shots and the trio ranks first, second and third on the squad in that category.
WINNING WHEN WE'RE NOT AT OUR BEST: Arizona connected on just 36.2 percent of its field goal attempts (21-of-58) Saturday against Utah, winning its third game this season (at Clemson/SDSU/Utah) when it misses more than 60 percent of its field goal attempts, and is 5-0 when shooting worse than the opposition. On the season, Arizona shoots 46.3 percent (355-of-766) from the floor and limits the opposition to 39.8 percent (304-of-764).
FAST START: Freshman forward Brandon Ashley put his best foot forward in a hurry vs. the Utes, scoring Arizona's first seven points of the game and posting nine of his 11 points in the first nine minutes. It was the sixth game in double figures for the 6-foot-8 native of San Francisco, Calif., and his first in four game. To date, he's averaging 8.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game to go with a .569 field goal percentage.
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
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, the Wildcats are back in action on Saturday, Jan. 12, when the squad meets Oregon State. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. PST and can be seen on ESPNU.