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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


No. 18 Arizona men’s basketball hosts hot Oregon team

Rebecca Noble

No. 18 Arizona men’s basketball will face another Pac-12 Conference test at home this weekend as both Oregon and Oregon State visit McKale Center on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

After splitting the Bay Area series last weekend, Arizona returns home where the Wildcats will look to defend their 49-game winning streak in Tucson. A win against Oregon would thus push the winning streak to 50 games.

“I try not to really think about it,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said Tuesday. “Everybody on our team knows what’s at stake. We don’t want that streak to create anxiety about what we do.”

For the Wildcats to defend the streak, they’ll need to top a No. 23 Ducks team that has re-entered the rankings after posting a dominant conference record through January.

Oregon currently sits atop the Pac-12 with a 5-2 record, 16-4 overall.

Arizona swept the Ducks last season, beating them three times by an average of 24 points per game.

Oregon ranks fourth in the conference in scoring defense this season, while Arizona is third. The Ducks average about 77 points per game and Arizona averages 82.

The Pac-12 front runners are led by sophomore forward Dillon Brooks, who is averaging 16.2 points per game. Freshman Tyler Dorsey, who de-committed from Arizona in the summer of 2014, is averaging 13.4 points per game for Oregon.

But it’s Chris Boucher, a 6-foot-10 forward out of Montreal, who has turned out to be perhaps the Ducks’ best all-around player this season.

The 2014-2015 NJCAA Division I Player of the Year averages 12.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game while leading Oregon in field goal percentage.

He had strong performances in Oregon’s past two wins against UCLA and USC, including an 18 point, 10 rebound, four block performance against the Bruins.

“I think Boucher is the best first-year player in our conference,” Miller said. “His shot blocking, his skill level, his rebounding—he’s a really terrific player and a big reason why Oregon is having the season they’re having.”

The Wildcats, meanwhile, boast the best field goal percentage in the conference, as well as the best rebounding margin between them and their opponents.

Defense has been the Wildcats’ biggest question, as they have allowed opponents to shoot 41 percent from the field. The Wildcats have also been forcing fewer turnovers than they give away, with a turnover margin of -0.95.

Arizona and Oregon have faced the same opponents, but with some different outcomes. Arizona has defeated Boise State twice this season, but the Ducks fell to the Broncos on Dec. 12. In turn, UCLA, USC and California all defeated the Wildcats—all of whom Oregon beat.

Arizona will once again be without freshman guard Allonzo Trier.

Trier, who averages almost 15 points per game, broke his hand against USC. Senior Ryan Anderson has continued to average a double-double, with almost 15 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Tip will be at 7 p.m., Thursday night and will be broadcasted on ESPN2.

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