A Players' Program: Stanford preview - Tucson News Now

A Players' Program: Stanford preview

PALO ALTO, CA (AP) -

Arizona may have its mojo back, but it still needs to find a way to perform better away from home.

The seventh-ranked Wildcats will look to overcome their road woes and claim their 10th straight victory over Stanford in a matchup of two of the top teams in the Pac-12 on Thursday night.

Arizona (16-2, 4-1) has split four road games, averaging 65.8 points on 43.7 percent shooting compared to a 79.1 scoring average and 51.7 field-goal percentage at home.

The Wildcats returned to Tucson after a 58-56 loss to Oregon State on Jan. 11 and defeated Colorado 68-54 last Thursday and then-No. 8 Utah 69-51 on Saturday. They shot 49.1 percent against the Utes after shooting 40.0 in the previous two games, including a 17-for-45 performance versus the Beavers. Utah had held its first four league opponents to 36.6 percent shooting.

Arizona, which had a minus-19 margin on the boards in its two losses, outrebounded Utah 40-19.

"I don't think we want to make anything bigger than it needs to be right now, every game is important, we're in conference play. It's not easy in the Pac-12," said coach Sean Miller, who is 8-0 against Stanford. "... We can learn a lot from our Colorado and Utah games."

Stanley Johnson, who leads Arizona with 14.6 points per game, shot 3 for 11 in a 71-67 loss at UNLV on Dec. 23 and scored a season-low seven versus Oregon State. He's shooting 37.5 percent in four road games.

Johnson bounced back by totaling 40 points in the last two. He is one of three freshmen, along with Duke's Jahlil Okafor and Presbyterian's DeSean Murray, averaging at least 14.0 points and 6.0 rebounds.

"He's 19 years old, though there's a lot expected of him and he has high expectations of himself. ... To his credit I think he's learning and he's a smarter player. He knows what to expect more," Miller said. "Things are easier for him right now than ever before."

Arizona won both meetings with the Cardinal last season, including a 60-57 road victory despite shooting 36.0 percent.

Stanford (13-4, 4-1) improved to 9-0 at home with a plus-16.5 scoring margin after Saturday's 72-59 victory over Connecticut in a brief reprieve from league play.

"Man, it was awesome. Just to have Maples (Pavilion) filled up to the top like that," said Chasson Randle, who scored 23. "It definitely gives us a boost of energy once you're on the floor."

Randle and Anthony Brown, who added 18, are the nation's 10th-highest scoring duo at 19.8 and 15.4 points per game.

Randle, who has averaged 23.2 points over his last five, was held to 12 on 3-of-15 shooting in last year's home loss to Arizona. He is averaging 11.3 points while going 14 for 50 (28.0 percent) in four career games against the Wildcats with 10 turnovers and eight assists.

Brown hasn't fared well versus Arizona either, averaging 6.0 points on 11-of-34 shooting in five matchups.

Stanford has split its last eight games against top-10 teams.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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