No. 4 Seed Arizona (22-10, 12-6) at Pacific Life Pac-12 Tournament Semifinals
March 8, 2012
Date: Friday, March 9, 2012
Time: 6 p.m. PST
Location: Staples Center (19,282), Los Angeles, Calif.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: FOX Sports Net (Steve Physioc/Marques Johnson/Rebecca Haarlow)
GAME DATA: No. 4 seed Arizona (22-10, 12-6 Pac-12) advances to the 2012 Pacific Life Pac-12 Tournament semifinals Friday evening vs. Oregon State ... Arizona's win Thursday was its 20th in Pac-12 Tournament action, making the Wildcats the only conference school to reach the 20-win plateau in the event's 15-year history ... UA's four championships (1988-90, 2002) in this event also is a league best ... In 15 tournament appearances, the Wildcats have advanced to the semifinals eight times and UA is 6-2 in those games ... Since the event was reincarnated in the Staples Center in 2002, the Cats are 11-9 in tournament play ... The number 70 looms large in conference tournament action as Arizona is 9-4 since 2002 when scoring 70 or more points and 2-5 when it does not.
THE RANKINGS: UA remains unranked in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' polls this week.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Sean Miller . . . is in his third season at the University of Arizona and his eighth overall as a college head coach with a record of 188-80 (.701) and 68-33 (.673) at Arizona ... 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 15 trips to the postseason in his 18 seasons as a head, assistant or associate head coach (9 NCAA/6 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, 17 of 18 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 ... He is assisted by James Whitford, Emanuel Richardson and Joe Pasternack ... Miller is 3-3 vs. Oregon State as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: Solomon Hill, Jesse Perry and Kyle Fogg combined for 55 of Arizona's 66 points as the Wildcats pulled out a 66-58 win Thursday over UCLA in the Pacific Life Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals. Arizona practically lived at the free throw line, connecting on 31-of-36 in the contest, including 24-of-27 in the second half. Arizona led for 38:26 of this contest, but it was four freebies by Hill with just under six minutes to go after the Bruins had tied it that gave the Cats the lead for good. Hill (25 pts./12 reb.) and Perry (16 pts./12 reb.) each posted double-doubles and helped UA control the glass, 39-30. Nick Johnson tallied four blocks for the Cats.
THE OREGON STATE SERIES: Tonight's game is the 75th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 54-20 series advantage. UA has won 21 of the last 26 meetings in the series, which dates back to Jan. 28, 1975, including the last, 81-73 (OT) on Jan. 12 in Tucson. All-time, Arizona is 30-6 in series games played in Tucson, 20-14 in Corvallis, and 4-0 in neutral-site games. In Pac-12 Tournament action, Arizona is 5-0 against Oregon State. The last time the two teams met was in last year's quarterfinals, a 78-69 UA win. For more series information, please see page 48 in the UA media guide.
LAST MEETING: Arizona 81, Oregon State 73 (OT), Jan. 12, 2012: Brendon Lavender scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and then UA outscored OSU, 9-1, in the extra session as the Cats prevailed. Lavender, who was 5-of-5 from three-point range in the second period, spearheaded a Wildcat attack that shot 70.6 percent (12-of-17) from the field after the break. In a game that featured seven ties and four lead changes, UA's victory margin was its biggest of the game. The Wildcat guards combined for 69 of Arizona's 81 points.
ONLY TWO REMAIN: In the three seasons since Sean Miller was hired as the UA head coach, Arizona has cumulative 36-18 (.667) mark in regular-season conference, a figure that is tied with California and Washington for the best record in the Pac-12 since the start of the 2009-10 season.
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE: Senior Jesse Perry and junior Solomon Hill both notched double-doubles for the Cats in Thursday's win, marking the third time this season that UA's frontcourt duo has each posted a double-double in the same game. It was the 111th double-double of the season for each player, and the 24th of the year for the Cats. No Pac-12 program has as many double-doubles this season as Arizona's 24, and Perry and Hill currently rank second individually in that category.
ELITEIST: By virtue of his 13 points Thursday, Kyle Fogg became the 25th player in Arizona history to score 1,300 career points. Additionally, the moment he steps onto the court Friday, the 6-foot-3 senior from Brea, Calif., will set a new school record for career games played with 137. Momentarily, he shares the record with former Wildcats All-American Jason Gardner (1999-2003).
ON THE GLASS: UA's frontcourt duo of Jesse Perry and Solomon Hill, who combined to pull down 24 rebounds between them, Arizona outrebounded UCLA, 39-30. Through 32 games this season, the Wildcats have ourtrebounded 23 opponents and are 18-5 in those games. Of Perry's and Hill's 24 caroms, 20 came on the defensive boards.
NOT TOO OFTEN: Arizona is just 5-9 this season when opponents outshoot the Wildcats, as UCLA managed on Thursday (.390-.349). Furthermore, only three times this season has Arizona shot less than 40 percent and won a game: Nov. 13 vs. Ball State (.395), Feb. 4 at Stanford (.383) and Feb. 25 vs. UCLA (.383). UA's .349 (15-of-43) field goal percentage Thursday was the lowest of the season in a winning effort, and the third lowest overall.
ASSERTIVE: It's always a good sign to see a team find ways to score even when the shots aren't falling. That was certainly the case against the Bruins, as UA connected on just 6-of-20 (.300) attempts in the second half. Regardless, the Wildcats proved to be the more aggressive in the second period and managed to get to the free throw line 27 times, making 24 of those. Over the last 15:49 of the game, Arizona made 22-of-25 free throws and just 3-of-14 (.214) attempts from the field. For a squad that averages 23.4 free throw attempts per game, Arizona's 31 makes equaled a season high and the 36 attempts from the stripe were the second-most this season, topped only by 43 Nov. 13 vs. Ball State.
CONTRIBUTING IN OTHER WAYS: While he was just 1-of-4 from the floor and finished with five points, freshman Nick Johnson definitely impacted the game in other ways, spotlighted by a UA season-high and personal career-best four blocked shots. Included in the effort were blocked shots on back-to-back lay-up attempts by the Bruins at the 15:19 mark of the second half in what was a five-point game at the time.
FILLING IN NICELY: Sophomore Jordin Mayes, who has logged a grand total of eight minutes played in to games since leaving the California game on Feb. 3 with a bruised left foot, definitely played a nice game Thursday against UCLA. Mayes tallied two assists, two rebounds and two steals in a total of 25 minutes played. In fact, his 25 minutes of burn was the most for the 6-foot-2 product of Los Angeles since logging 27 vs. Duquesne on Nov. 9.
UP NEXT: A win puts Arizona into Saturday's 3 p.m. PST championship game, which will be televised by CBS-TV. A loss sends the Wildcats back to Tucson to await word on its postseason fate.