California-Arizona Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 09, 2013
In sole possession of first place in the Pac-12, Arizona is relishing having some extra time to prepare for its next contest. It may not need much practice for a home matchup with California. The seventh-ranked Wildcats have traditionally dominated the Golden Bears heading into Sunday's meeting in Tucson. Arizona (20-2, 8-2) has won 22 of the last 27 matchups with California (13-9, 5-5). The Wildcats have also taken 16 of the last 17 meetings at home, including one that was later forfeited due to NCAA infractions. Arizona has not played since Wednesday's 73-66 home victory over Stanford. Coach Sean Miller said he would give his team a day off before this contest. "In February, less is more," Miller said. "It's so important that your players have energy and that the bumps and bruises can be addressed on a day that they don't have to run and do all the things you normally do." Miller indicated that reserve Grant Jerrett should be able to play Sunday after the forward sat out against the Cardinal because of foot pain. With Jerrett out, forward Angelo Chol played a season-high 24 minutes and had six points and eight boards to earn praise from his teammates. "I'm really one of the guys who cheers Angelo on," guard Mark Lyons said. "We all do, but I have a lot of faith in him." Lyons had a season-high 25 points and six assists, finishing two points off his career high set last season with Xavier. "Mark not only scored tonight, he made his teammates better," Miller said. "His six assists were much closer to eight or nine. He ran the team and led the team, and really let the game come to him." California fell 78-74 to Arizona at home in the lone 2011-12 matchup. The Golden Bears have lost three straight overall in this series, with junior guard Allen Crabbe averaging 19.7 points in those defeats as he seeks his first victory over the Wildcats. Crabbe leads the Pac-12 with 19.3 points per game. Cal looks to bounce back after falling behind by 16 points within the first 12 minutes of Thursday's 66-62 defeat at Arizona State. "We just started the game off like we were in la-la land," coach Mike Montgomery said. "We just were not moving, we weren't guarding, we weren't doing anything, they were just taking it right at us and we were caught in between." Crabbe's 12 first-half points helped the Golden Bears trail by just 10 at the break, but he went 1 of 6 from the field after halftime and finished with 16. Cal still cut a 15-point deficit with 8:24 left to two late before falling short. "We could have put some pressure on them, but we just made too many mistakes," Montgomery said. Solomon Hill is averaging 14.0 points for Arizona's second-best mark, but he has never reached double figures versus Cal. The senior forward's 5.0 scoring average in five games against the Golden Bears is his worst against any Pac-12 foe, and he has fouled out twice.
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