Oral Roberts-Arizona Preview

Arizona will want to avoid a letdown after its biggest victory
of the season since its next game precedes a trip to Hawaii.

The fourth-ranked Wildcats can start 9-0 for the first time in a
quarter century when they host Oral Roberts and high-scoring Warren
Niles on Tuesday night.

Arizona scored the game’s final seven points in the last 56
seconds to stun then-No. 8 Florida 65-64 at home Saturday. Xavier
transfer Mark Lyons made the game-winning layup with 7 seconds
left, calling it the biggest shot he has hit in his life.

“We believe in a lot of guys on this team, but no one believes
in Mark Lyons more than me,” coach Sean Miller said. “I’ve seen him
since he’s been in 10th grade. Some guys are wired for the big
moment, big stage. That big shot, he wants to take it or make the
big play and no question when he drove I knew that something good
was going to happen.”

The Wildcats can begin with nine victories for the first time
since the 1987-88 team went 12-0 en route to the Final Four.
Arizona will try to improve to 7-0 at home before it begins play
Saturday in Honolulu at the Diamond Head Classic.

Rebounding could be a concern for the Wildcats, who were
outrebounded 33-22 by the Gators and gave up 12 offensive boards
while grabbing four. Improving that aspect of their game is
something that Miller probably needs to get through to his
team.

“We did a good job on offensive rebounding tonight, but there
are a lot of things we can improve on,” forward Solomon Hill
said.

The coach must also help his team guard against
overconfidence.

“We’re the real deal,” sophomore guard Nick Johnson said.
“Everybody said something about our schedule before this and this
was the opportunity to prove ourselves in front of the nation.”

The Wildcats’ defense will set their sights on Niles, who is
averaging 20.9 points to lead all Southland Conference players.
Niles, a 6-foot-5 senior swingman, has made 28 of 54 3-pointers
(51.9 percent) and has demonstrated consistency with three straight
21-point efforts.

Oral Roberts (5-4) has not played since an 86-77 victory at
Texas State on Dec. 5. The Golden Eagles allowed the Bobcats to
make their first eight shots to fall into an early 12-point deficit
before recovering to build a five-point advantage at the break and
leading the rest of the way.

“We came out flat and missed shots,” coach Scott Sutton said. “I
thought we got great looks early and couldn’t make anything and
then we allowed them to get in transition.”

These schools have never met, although Lyons may have some
familiarity with Oral Roberts. The guard was serving a suspension
with the Musketeers last season for his role in a brawl with
Cincinnati and sat out Xavier’s 64-42 home loss to the Golden
Eagles on Dec. 18, 2011.