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Arizona-Oregon Preview

AP - Sports

Unbeaten Arizona has been far from perfect despite getting off to its best start in 81 years.

Playing an Oregon team off to its best home start in 11 seasons, the fourth-ranked Wildcats might not get away with another sluggish performance.

Arizona will try to get one step closer to its 1931-32 team record of 16 straight wins to open the season on Thursday night when it visits the Ducks, who have won 16 in a row at home.

The Wildcats (14-0, 2-0 Pac-12) hope to put together a more complete effort after winning their last three games, including a pair over unranked opponents at home, by a total of 13 points.

The biggest margin in that stretch was in a 92-83 win over Colorado last Thursday, but that required overtime after the Buffaloes had what looked to be the game-winning shot waved off in regulation. Arizona then escaped with a 60-57 victory over Utah on Saturday when a last-second shot by the Utes rattled off the rim and backboard.

"At 14-0 you have to be in a number of close games, and we've been on the positive end of them," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "I hope we can continue to do that.''

It's not likely to be an easy task in the Wildcats' first Pac-12 road test. Oregon has won its 10 home games this season by an average of 23.5 points, its best start in Eugene since the 2001-02 team finished 16-0.

"We've been lucky for a couple of weeks now,'' Arizona swingman Kevin Parrom said. "The luck is going to run out soon. We have to play better.''

Despite the Wildcats' close calls, Solomon Hill has been a recent bright spot. The senior forward scored a team-high 19 points on Saturday, giving him 18.3 per game on 56.7 percent shooting in his last three.

Hill has totaled 30 points while shooting 12 of 19 from the field in his last two games against the Ducks (12-2, 1-0), including a game-high 16 in a 59-57 home loss last January that snapped the Wildcats' six-game series winning streak.

Guard Mark Lyons, the team's scoring leader (14.1 per game), will try to break out of a shooting slump after going 11 for 39 (28.2 percent) over his last three games.

After shooting 48.6 percent in its first 11 games, Arizona has hit just 39.0 percent from the field in its last three.

The Wildcats could struggle to improve those numbers against an Oregon team that has already held five opponents under 50 points for the first time since the 1982-83 season.

"Games are going to be tough from here on out," Parrom said. "We're (No. 4) in the nation, undefeated and we have to play harder. Nobody is giving us anything easy.''

The Ducks look for their fourth straight win following a 79-66 victory at rival Oregon State to open Pac-12 play Sunday.

Freshman guard Damyean Dotson leads a group of five Ducks averaging in double figures at 11.8 points per game after scoring a season-high 21 against the Beavers.

Senior forward E.J. Singler had 15 points and nine rebounds on Sunday and had 12 points and seven assists in Oregon's win over Arizona last January.

The Ducks, who rank second in the Pac-12 in scoring (77.5 ppg), hope to expose an Arizona defense that allowed Utah to make 14 of 27 shots in the second half on Saturday.

The Wildcats have been tough overall, though, ranking third in the conference in scoring defense (60.7).

Arizona will try for its fourth straight win at Oregon, which has lost 10 straight against top-10 opponents.

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