Oregon St. Beavers vs. Arizona Wildcats Pick & Prediction JANUARY 25th 2024

No. 9 Arizona is looking for some road energy entering an Oregon road trip, starting with a Thursday night game against Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore.

Arizona (14-4, 5-2 Pac-12) has lost its past two road games — 100-82 at Stanford on Dec. 31 and 73-70 at Washington State on Jan. 13.

“The goal is always to prepare to play good basketball, but you also have to acknowledge it’s harder on the road,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said.

“We’ve got to go look and see if we can get our collective energy and effort at a high enough level and create our own energy and come out and have fun playing basketball. … We’ve got to come out and just try to kick (butt). I mean, I don’t want to make it any more complicated than that.”

While the Wildcats are tied for the first in the Pac-12, Oregon State (9-9, 1-6) has lost five consecutive games and is in the basement. The Beavers are 0-7 away from home this season but have won 12 of their past 17 home games dating back to last season.

Perimeter defense has been an issue at times for Arizona. Stanford, for example, made 16 of 25 3-point attempts in its win over the Wildcats. Arizona knows it must corral Oregon State guard Jordan Pope to quash any upset hopes.

Pope averages 17.0 points per game and is the team’s top shooting threat, making 38.1 percent (40 of 105) of his shots from behind the arc. He has seven 20-point games this season, although he’s coming off a pair of road games (Utah, Colorado) in which he managed 17 points combined.

Oregon State shot 33.3 percent from the floor, including 17.6 percent from 3-point range (3 of 17), in its 90-57 loss at Colorado on Saturday.

“We’re not tough enough yet,” Beavers coach Wayne Tinkle said recently. “We’ve got to find a way to turn the corner. Find a way to start chipping away and getting some momentum here.”

Arizona’s shaky perimeter defense surfaced early Saturday against UCLA, which made six of its first nine 3-point attempts and took a 19-point, first-half lead. But the Wildcats, who average 89.9 points per game, rallied late to win 77-71.

Although that completed a home sweep of the Los Angeles schools, Arizona is just 6-4 in its past 10 games.

“You go through seasons and it’s cliche to say you’ve got ups and downs and things like that, but you have to dig deep,” said Lloyd, whose team plays at Oregon on Saturday. “Digging deep is a huge part of it, and I’m so proud of our guys.”

Caleb Love averages 18.2 points to lead the Wildcats. Oumar Ballo posts 12.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, asserting himself more on the boards recently with 40 rebounds in the past three outings. Pelle Larsson is at 12.9 points per game.

Arizona has won the past seven games in the series since a Jan. 12, 2020, loss in Corvallis. The Wildcats have won 20 of the past 22 meetings.

–Field Level Media

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