A Player's Program: Arizona State preview - Tucson News Now

A Player's Program: Arizona State preview

TUCSON, AZ -

Following a home sweep of Utah and Colorado last week, the Arizona Wildcats will host in-state rival Arizona State in the third and final game of the first Pac-12 home stand in McKale Center this season. 

Thursday's game against ASU will be the 231st meeting between the Wildcats and Sun Devils in their series that goes back to 1913. UA has won the last six meetings with the Sun Devils in Tucson but the recent series has been tight as the Wildcats lead just 10-9 over the last 19 times the state rivals have gotten together.

Arizona (15-2) is off to just its third 4-0 start in conference play since 2000.

UA has four players averaging in double figures scoring led by freshman Lauri Markkanen at 16 points with seven rebounds per game. Dusan Ristic is averaging 12 points and six rebounds this season but has upped that average to 17 points per game since the start of Pac-12 play thanks to a blistering 64% shooting percentage from the field.

Wildcats’ junior guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright has tallied 25 assists to just five turnovers in his last four games while averaging just 23.8 minutes per game since his return from a high-ankle sprain that caused him to miss six games.

Arizona will look to defend its current 15-game home winning streak. The Wildcats have won 64 of their last 65 games inside McKale Center going back to the 2012-13 season. 

The Sun Devils return two starters (Holder and Obi Oleka) and four total lettermen from last year's squad that posted eight wins against top-100 RPI teams in Bobby Hurley's first season.

ASU (9-8, 2-2) has three scorers in the Pac-12's top-10 entering play this weekend. Torian Graham (18.1 ppg.) is second followed by Tra Holder (16.7/sixth) and Shannon Evans II (15.9/seventh) and four players averaging more than 13 points per game, while Oleka is one of three players in the league averaging a double-double (13.4 ppg./10.1 rpg.) and he leads the league in double-figure rebounding games with 11.

Tipoff is 7 p.m. and the game will be televised by ESPN2.

Copyright 2017 Arizona and Arizona State Athletics.

David Kelly contributed to this story.

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