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Tuesday, December 18, 9 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: McKale Center (14,545) -- Tucson, Arizona. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: ORU 1-1, UA 6-0. Away Record: ORU 3-1, UA 2-0. Neutral Record: ORU 1-2, UA 0-0. Conference Record: ORU 0-0, UA 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The fourth-ranked Arizona Wildcats look to stay perfect as they host the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles at the McKale Center for non-conference action.
Oral Roberts returns to action for the first time since its 86-77 decision at Texas State on Dec. 5. The win was the second in a row for the Golden Eagles, who are 5-4 overall and 3-1 in road games this season. Coach Scott Sutton's squad has yet to face a ranked opponent, but it did pick up some notable victories at Pacific (69-67) and versus Loyola Marymount (75-66). ORU is ranked third in both scoring offense (69.9 ppg) and scoring defense (64.1) among Southland Conference schools.
The Wildcats are coming off of a thrilling 65-64 win over Florida on Saturday that lifted them to their highest ranking since 2004 and a stainless 8-0 record. Arizona has not started a season 9-0 since the 1987-88 campaign. In their six home games at the McKale Center this season, the Wildcats are generating 78.2 points per game and shooting 49.5 percent from the field, while limiting opponents to 60.8 ppg and a .408 field goal percentage.
This will be the first time these schools face off on the hardwood. Arizona head coach Sean Miller has never faced Oral Roberts before in his career, but the school is 3-1 all-time against the Southland Conference.
The Golden Eagles played tough inside their last time out as they held a 42-28 edge in the rebounding battle, blocked five shots, and outscored Texas State by 12 points in the paint to pick up the nine-point triumph. Senior center Damen Bell-Holter submitted a strong display with 21 points and eight rebounds. Niles Warren also tallied 21 points, but he went 7-of-19 from the floor. Shawn Glover filled up the stat sheet with 15 points, six rebounds, and four assists and blocks. Niles is pacing the Golden Eagles with 20.9 points per contest while Glover (11.3), Steven Roundtree (10.6), and Bell-Holter (10.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg) are also scoring in double figures.
Arizona is coming off of its best performance of the season as it got past Billy Donovan's Gators thanks to a go-ahead layup by point guard Mark Lyons with seven seconds to go that finished off a 7-0 run. The Wildcats outscored Florida 15-0 combined in the final 2:30 of each half. Although the Gators could have easily run off to a rout after hitting 10-of-18 from three-point range in the contest, Arizona outscored them 18-6 at the free throw line to stay undefeated. Senior forward Solomon Hill led the team with 18 points while Nick Johnson (15) and Lyons provided some scoring from the backcourt. The trio are combining for 40.3 ppg while rookie seven-foot center Kaleb Tarczekski is averaging a team-best 6.3 rebounds per game. Lyons, a Xavier transfer, is shooting a career-best 47.1 percent from the floor and senior swingman Kevin Parrom provides a threat from deep for the Wildcats.
Oral Roberts is expected to compete for the Southland Conference crown in its first season in the league and its difficult non-conference slate providing great experience to the team. The Golden Eagles do not match up with Arizona, which is back among the nation's elite. Miller is close to restoring the same winning culture that resided in Tucson during Lute Olsen's era.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona 81, Oral Roberts 67
12/18 10:32:03 ET
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