The University of Arizona

Wildcats to Host NAU in Intrastate Tilt on Wednesday

By Arizona Athletics, November 27, 2012

Game 4: No. 9 Arizona (3-0) vs. Northern Arizona University (2-3).

UA senior guard Mark Lyons.  (Photo by Luke Adams)
UA senior guard Mark Lyons. (Photo by Luke Adams)

The ninth-ranked Arizona men's basketball team (3-0, 0-0 Pac-12) will host Northern Arizona (2-3, 0-0 Big Sky) on Nov. 28 in McKale Memorial Center. The Wildcats and Lumberjacks will meet for the 122nd time on the hardwood, the third-most games of any series in UA history.

To date, Arizona is averaging a robust 82.7 points per game. The Wildcats field goal percentage has improved in each of its first three games this year and cumulatively stands at 49.1 percent (79-of-161). The UA will play four games in the next 11 days beginning Wednesday.

The UA is ranked ninth in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' polls this week. The Cats' No 9 ranking is the highest for the program under Sean Miller during the regular season, and the first time the UA has been ranked as high in-season since coming in at No. 8 in the Jan. 8, 2007, coaches' poll.

The Lumberjacks will enter the game with a 2-3 record (0-0 Big Sky) following a 70-62 win Saturday over Campbell. On the season, NAU averages 66.0 points per game, shots 43.1 percent from the floor (122-of-283), 33.7 percent (34-of-101) from three-point range and 68.4 percent (52-of-76) from the line.

Opponents average 73.8 points, outrebound the Lumberjacks by 6.0 per game and shot 44.6 percent from the floor (131-of-294). Individually, two NAU players average in double figures, led by Gabe Rogers' 16.6 ppg figure. Gaellan Bewernick leads the `Jacks with a 6.0 rebounds per game average.

Arizona will welcome back one of its own, as Jack Murphy will return to Tucson as the NAU head coach. Murphy served in a variety of capacities within the basketball program from 1998-2006, including manager, video coordinator and recruiting coordinator.

Also courtside this evening is longtime UA assistant coach Jim Rosborough, who will be serving as the color commentator for the Wildcat Radio Network. Rosborough was a member of the UA coaching staff for 18 seasons (1989-2007). In their eight seasons together, Murphy and Rosborough helped Arizona post a 199-66 record (.751), win four Pac-10 regular-season or postseason tournament championships, and earn a berth in the 2001 national championship game.

Last week, Arizona shot 53.6 percent, held a 41-23 rebound advantage and forced 17 turnovers, while Brandon Ashley posted 20 points and 10 boards in leading Arizona to a 94-72 win Nov. 19 over Long Beach State.

Seven different Wildcats scored in a 20-4 run over a span of 6:58 in the first half to break things open, as Arizona shot 63 percent from the floor (30-fo-56) in the opening period. Kevin Parrom hit all five of his field goal attempts to finish with 15 points, while Solomon Hill tallied 15 points to reach 1,000 for his career.

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 the NAU game, the Wildcats will hit the road for the first time this season, traveling to Lubbock, Texas, to face Texas Tech. Tip-off on Dec. 1 is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST and will be televised by ESPNU.