EUGENE, Ore. - Jamelle Horne's minutes shrunk again at Oregon, and they may not grow anytime soon.
Having lost his starting job to Jesse Perry in Arizona's Dec. 22 game against Robert Morris, the Wildcats' lone senior played just 13 minutes Thursday against the Ducks. He had five rebounds, all on the defensive end, an assist and a block, but was scoreless with 0-for-3 shooting.
"We need Jamelle to play well," UA coach Sean Miller said Friday, before the Wildcats moved to Corvallis for the weekend. "He has a different role right now, and it's probably the role that he deserves to have: someone who can contribute and not have the pressure of having to produce every play for long periods of time."
While Perry has started the last two games, getting nine points and a career-high eight rebounds in a season-high 24 minutes Thursday, Miller said he also wants to further deploy Kyryl Natyazhko with Derrick Williams, which would chew up more power forward minutes.
"I'm curious to see if we can continue to develop a relationship between Kyryl and Derrick, where they can be more comfortable on the court together and give us a different look," Miller said. "Kyryl could be one of our more improved players from a year ago, and we're constantly trying to seek out ways where we can get him on the court just a few minutes more. I think it'll help his development and our team's especially as we keep moving and playing bigger teams down the road."
Natyazhko played just 12 minutes Thursday, though that was partly a function of the matchup and style UA was facing inside. Natyazhko had only one rebound, though he has 39 defensive rebounds already after getting 38 all of last season.
"He's a lot better rebounder than he was last year," Miller said. "He has more defensive rebounds … and on offense he gives us a real identity, and screens and can make that 15- to 17-footer. He really knows what to do.
"He seems to be more comfortable now more than ever. It's great to see."
With an extra day in Corvallis because Fox Sports Net moved the OSU-UA game for a Sunday night telecast, Miller found himself trying to take advantage of the time yet keeping his player from going, well, nuts.
"It's hard to stay in a hotel for this many days without making it a negative," Miller said. "Getting them out is probably one of the things we're trying to do. The balance is preparing for Oregon State, relaxing and at the same time being able to enjoy themselves.
"This is their Christmas break and I don't want it to be drudgery in the state of Oregon."
Because it is winter break, the Wildcats don't even have study tables on this trip. So their idle time figures to be spent watching televised sports, playing video games and having a night out on the town in Corvallis.
You could say that means New Year's Eve will take on a somewhat different meaning particularly for New Yorkers MoMo Jones and Kevin Parrom.
"I don't know," Jones said, shaking his head slightly when asked about his New Year's Eve plans. "Whatever they have planned for us is what we gotta do. But we came here to take care of business."
The Wildcats were scheduled to stay at their hotel Friday night, but plans were in the works for a team dinner and/or movie in town today.
"I think we can prepare and get ready and at the same time give them some other things to do," Miller said. "Not that we're traveling the whole state but allowing them to leave the hotel some and watch some of the bowl games and basketball games that will be on TV. We want to make this trip as enjoyable as possible with the ultimate goal being to get two wins."
Losers to Seattle, Texas Southern and Utah Valley earlier this season, Oregon State has suddenly pulled off two straight double-digit wins after crushing ASU 80-58 on Thursday at Gill Coliseum.
The Beavers, it also may be worth noting, took care of Arizona last season.
"We beat them twice last year," OSU coach Craig Robinson was quoted in the Oregonian as saying after Thursday's game. "I'm concerned our guys will be a little overconfident."
Recently eligible guard Roberto Nelson appears to have breathed life into the Beavers, collecting 12 points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes Thursday. He made 4 of 5 field-goal attempts.
"Getting him back," Miller said, "adds a real quality player, one of the better young players in the conference, to what they already do."
• Reserve center Alex Jacobson did not play Thursday but Miller said his back is healthy and he will be available against OSU if needed.
• Arizona's 40-27 rebounding edge over Oregon represented the Ducks' second worst rebounding deficit of the season. Duke out-rebounded them by 15 on Nov. 27.
• What: Arizona at Oregon State
• When: 8 p.m. Sunday
• TV: FSAZ
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM