Lubbock, TX – The ninth-ranked Arizona Wildcats take to the road for the first time this season, when they invade United Spirit Arena to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday.
Sean Miller's Wildcats have enjoyed home cooking to start the 2012-13 season, posting four straight victories in Tucson, and enter this contest off their most lopsided win, a 93-50 pasting of instate rival Northern Arizona.
Chris Walker was named the interim coach on Oct. 4 and probably didn't envision a perfect start to the season in Lubbock. However, after four games, that is exactly where Texas Tech is at, including this week's 84-75 win over Jackson State. The Red Raiders open the season with an extended 11-game homestand and won't actually hit the road until the 2013 calendar year.
These are two old rivals from the Border Conference (1932-56). Texas Tech holds a 28-22 series advantage, but Arizona has closed the gap with wins in each of the last five meetings. This is the first time these teams have met since 1994.
Already leading by 13 points at the break, Arizona ripped off a 14-2 run to begin the second half to put the game away against the Lumberjacks. Mark Lyons led the way with a game-high 18 points. Solomon Hill was right behind with 17 points, while Nick Johnson and Chol Angelo chipped in 10 points apiece. Brandon Ashley scored just two points in the lopsided win, but was responsible for a game-high 11 rebounds.
Arizona has done it this season with offensive firepower. The Wildcats have delivered from all over the floor, shooting 51.2 percent overall, including an impressive 45.6 percent from 3-point range, averaging just over 10 3-pointers per contest. Four Wildcats are currently averaging double figures, led by Hill and Lyons at 14.0 ppg apiece. Ashley is next in line at 10.8 ppg and leads the team on the boards (8.5 rpg). Johnson rounds out the top scorers at 10.3 ppg and is the team's primary distributor (5.0 apg).
The Red Raiders have also remained unbeaten thanks to superior firepower. Texas Tech enters this game as one of the nation's top scoring teams, netting 88.8 ppg. The team boasts of four players averaging double figures, led by Jaye Crockett, who has done a great deal of damage coming off the bench, with team-highs of 16.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. Dejan Kravic is next in line with 13.5 ppg, while Josh Gray and Jordan Tolbert add 12.0 and 10.5 ppg, respectively.
In the win over Jackson State it was once again Crockett that led the charge, posting 20 points and eight rebounds in just 23 minutes of work. Kravic added 16 points and eight boards to the cause, while Gray and Jamal Williams chipped in with 12 points each. The Red Raiders shot a respectable .464 from the field in the game, a number even more impressive considering the team was an ugly 3- of-21 from behind the arc.