Eugene, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - The seventh-ranked Arizona Wildcats set their sights on the their first-ever win at Matthew Knight Arena, as they hit the road for a Pac-12 tilt against the Oregon Ducks on Thursday night.
Sean Miller's squad has suffered just one blemish on its record thus far and that came at UNLV (71-67) in the team's last non-conference matchup of the season on Dec. 23. The Wildcats were able to find their way back to the win column, their 13th of the season, last weekend with a 73-49 whipping of in- state foe Arizona State in the team's conference opener.
Dana Altman's Ducks are no easy out, as they are sporting a strong 11-3 overall mark, highlighted by their current six-game win streak. Oregon opened league play against its in-state rival this past weekend as well, and disposed of Oregon State, 71-59.
Arizona holds a 46-26 lead in the all-time series with Oregon. These two teams split a pair of games last season, each winning on its home floor. The Ducks have won both meetings with the Wildcats at home, since the Matthew Knight Arena opened up (2011).
The Wildcats left no doubt that a long layoff meant nothing, as they dominated Arizona State at both ends of the floor en route to the lopsided win over the Sun Devils. Arizona shot 51 percent from the floor overall, and took a 45-25 lead into halftime before cruising to victory. Stanley Johnson, Brandon Ashley and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson tied for the team lead in scoring, as all three finished with 13 points.
The dominant performance by Arizona over the weekend did not come as a surprise. The Wildcats have played extremely well at both ends of the floor this season and currently own a +16.6 scoring margin as a result. The team is averaging a robust 76.1 ppg on .501 shooting, while holding foes to a mere 59.5 ppg and under 40 percent efficiency (.390). Johnson is just a freshman, but the 6-foot-7 youngster is tops on the team in scoring (14.4 ppg) and rebounding (6.9 rpg). Ashley (11.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg), Hollis-Jefferson (11.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and Kaleb Tarczewski (8.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg) complete a deep frontcourt. Gabe York (9.4 ppg) and T.J. McConnell (7.6 ppg, 6.1 apg) provide backcourt balance.
Oregon took just a two-point lead into intermission against Oregon State, but shot a sizzling 55 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes of action to distance itself down the stretch for the victory. Senior guard Joseph Young had the hot hand, shooting 10-of-15 from the floor, including 5-of-6 from 3- point range to finish with a game-high 27 points. Junior forward Elgin Cook just missed a double-double with 18 points and nine rebounds, while freshman forward Dillon Brooks checked in with 10 points in the win.
With Young leading the charge, Oregon is one of the top scoring teams around, averaging 78.8 ppg on a healthy .457 shooting. Young is a scoring machine and currently leads the Pac-12 in that category, pouring in 20.1 ppg. He isn't just a flashy scorer either, as Young contributes as a rebounder (5.3 rpg) and distributor (4.1 apg). He gets plenty of help from Brooks (14.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Cook (11.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg).