Oregon St.-Arizona Preview
After seeing the nation's longest home win streak come to an end, Arizona believes it is in danger of its first three-game slide in six seasons.
Coach Sean Miller had very harsh words for his No. 18 Wildcats ahead of Saturday night's matchup with an Oregon State team that has lost nine straight road Pac-12 games.
Arizona (16-5, 4-4) fell 83-75 to No. 23 Oregon on Thursday, seeing its 49-game run at the McKale Center end and prompting an apology from top scorer Ryan Anderson.
''I just want to say that on behalf of the team,'' Anderson said, ''we apologize to the fans, players, coaches, all the guys that put work into the streak.''
Miller was far more critical after watching the Ducks shoot 51.6 percent.
"I've never been more down looking at a team I've coached than the one I just saw," Miller said. "Leadership, effort, togetherness, playing for the win. Right now, things are going to get worse before they get better.
"We've got to come to grips with probably two things. One, Sean Miller's your coach. You're gonna play for me. And number two is, you're going to go so hard you can't breathe."
Arizona also fell last Saturday at California, 74-73. The Wildcats haven't dropped three straight since Feb. 13-25, 2010.
''These last two games, we haven't lived up to the standards that is held here at Arizona, especially effort-wise and paying attention to detail," Anderson said.
Anderson had 22 points and 10 rebounds Thursday and Gabe York scored 18 as Arizona shot a season-high 61.0 percent. The problem was that Anderson and Kadeem Allen each had five of the Wildcats' 19 turnovers.
Arizona is averaging 13.4 turnovers in conference play to match the second-worst mark.
Oregon State (12-7, 3-5) is forcing an average of 13.6 turnovers overall to rank fourth in the conference. The Beavers have dropped four of five after Thursday's 86-68 defeat at Arizona State, which shot 59.3 percent for the highest effort allowed by Oregon State.
"On the road you have to get some stops," coach Wayne Tinkle told Oregon State's official website. "Giving up 60 percent (shooting) is not Beaver defense. If we would have defended like we are supposed to, we scored enough to be in the game."
Gary Payton II had two points on 1-of-7 shooting after entering second in the conference with 17.5 points per game.
Tres Tinkle, a freshman who is the coach's son, is averaging 15.0 points in three games since joining the starting lineup.
Arizona should enjoy a significant edge on the glass. The Wildcats are third in the country in rebound margin at plus-11.6 while the Beavers are last in the conference at minus-2.1.
Oregon State has lost 31 of its last 32 visits to Tucson, although Miller is expecting a challenge based on his team's recent woes.
"We're going to have a quick turnaround and a really, really tough test on Saturday because we're going to play a good team, Oregon State, and because of the team that we are right now, and as a team that's really struggling to find itself," Miller said.