Oakland hits road seeking upset of No. 3 Arizona

Dec 16, 2014 - 3:26 PM Tucson, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - The third-ranked Arizona Wildcats close out a five-game homestand on Tuesday night, as they play host to the Oakland Golden Grizzlies in a non-conference clash at the McKale Center.

Sean Miller's Wildcats are clicking on all cylinders right now and are sporting a flawless 10-0 record. The team has had its share of cupcakes on the schedule, but also has some real quality wins, including topping nationally- ranked teams like San Diego State (61-59) and Gonzaga (66-63 OT). Most recently, the team made light work of the Michigan Wolverines in a 80-53 rout on Saturday.

Only two coaches have been at their respective Division I schools longer than Oakland's Greg Kampe and those are Syracuse's Jim Boeheim (39 years) and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski (35 years). Kampe's 31st season at the helm of the Oakland program hasn't exactly gone according to plan. The Grizzlies are sitting two games under .500 at 4-6, after having a three-game win streak halted on Sunday at Michigan State (87-61).

These two teams have met just one prior time and that was an 85-73 Arizona win in 2011 on Tucson.

Oakland doesn't shy away from competition, as the team will take on six opponents from the Power 5 Conference this year, the most since 2010-11. Michigan State was just one of those teams and really made light work of the Grizzlies last weekend in East Lansing. Oakland struggled to shoot the basketball (.396), especially from behind the arc (5-of-20), while the Spartans went a sizzling .557 from the floor and 10-of-17 from 3-point range. Dante Williams led the team with 15 points off the bench. Corey Petros managed to record a double-double in the loss, posting 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Kahlil Felder also finished with 13 points.

Offensively, the Grizzlies can hang with most teams, as they shoot a solid .470 from the floor on the season, leading to a healthy 75.3 ppg. The problem is that the strong play has not made its way to the defensive end, where the team is allowing a generous 77.8 ppg. Petros has been an anchor in the frontcourt, as the 6-foot-10 senior shoots .642 from the floor and leads the team in both scoring (16.3 ppg) and rebounding (8.4 rpg). Felder (15.3 ppg) can fill up the basket as well and is a strong defender (2.2 spg). Tommie McCune (12.4 ppg) and Williams (10.5 ppg) add scoring depth.

Arizona has the ability to adapt to its opponent and can win games at either end of the floor. The Wildcats are getting it done with efficient shooting (.507), putting up 76.4 ppg. Defensively, the team holds foes to just 59.4 ppg and under 40 percent shooting (.391). UA also lives comfortably in terms of rebounding (+7.2) and turnover (+2.8) margins. Freshman Stanley Johnson has made an immediate impact in the frontcourt for Arizona and leads the team in scoring at 14.1 ppg, while ranking second in rebounding (6.5 rpg). Rondae Hollis-Jefferson also produces up front, coming off the bench with 12.4 ppg and a team-best 6.7 rpg. Brandon Ashley gives the team a strong forward trio with his 11.4 ppg. Other key contributors include Gabe York (9.0 ppg), Kaleb Tarczewski (8.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and T.J. McConnell (7.2 ppg, 5.7 apg).

The Wildcats got off to a fast start and never took the foot off the pedal, as Arizona made light work of the suddenly struggling Wolverines. UA shot .582 from the floor, as five players notched double digits in the win. Johnson led the charge with 17 points. Tarczewski and York poured in 15 points apiece, while Hollis-Jefferson and Ashley added to the scoring deluge with 10 points each.

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