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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Winners but not closers

Winners+but+not+closers

The Arizona basketball team completed an impressive sweep of the Southern California schools but may have developed a bad habit in the process.

Sean Miller called it a great weekend for Tucson but was concerned with the way his team closed out both games.

On Saturday, the Wildcats led the Trojans by 20 with 2:11 left in the game but only ended up winning by nine points in the end. On Thursday against UCLA, the Wildcats led by as many as 18 but allowed the Bruins to get within eight with less than five minutes remaining.

“”Kind of like déjà vu from Thursday, we’re not a mature, responsible team,”” Miller said after his team defeated USC 82-73 on Saturday. “”It shows up at the end, we will lose on the road or in a closer game because of the problem we experience near the end of the game. We don’t finish it off.””

So exactly why haven’t the Wildcats been able to finish?

“”It takes a lot to give teams a 10-0 (run). It takes turnover, score, turnover, score. It takes guys running through screens not being responsible,”” Miller said. “”We’re going to fight through that. Hopefully, we don’t have to learn that lesson with a loss.””

Despite having issues with finishing the last two games, the Wildcats did win both contests and are in a better position halfway through the Pacific 10 Conference schedule than they were a year ago.

While the Wildcats were in first place midway through conference play last season, their overall record was 12-9. This season, Arizona holds an 18-4 record overall and has been ranked already — something that never happened last season.

“”So far, I think we played some good basketball,”” Miller said. “”You can talk about the Oregon State game, but we’ve also won a couple of those close games.””

So what is the difference with this year’s team compared to last year’s team?

“”We’re a team of depth,”” Miller said. “”We’re a team that really depends on 10 guys.””

Arizona completed the first half of its Pac-10 schedule with an impressive sweep of the Southern California schools and finished 7-2 in conference play.

At this point last season, the Wildcats were 6-3 in the Pac-10 and 12-9 overall.

A year ago the Wildcats sat in first place in a much weaker Pac-10 but were unable to play as well in the second half of the Pac-10 schedule. This season, in the second half, the test for Arizona will be to play well enough to become a tournament team.

“”We just have to mature as the season goes,”” said forward Kevin Parrom. “”We just can’t let up. We have to be aggressive and just continue to play strong.””

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