The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

88° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Commentary: ‘We got what we deserved’

Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Alan Walsh
Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Rock bottom.

That’s how Sean Miller described Saturday’s loss to Oregon State in a press conference more entertaining than the game itself.

For once, Miller strayed away from the program-oriented, forward-thinking approach and discussed his dissatisfaction, his feelings and his emotions.

“”Twenty-three years of college basketball, and this is the rock bottom for me,”” Miller said. “”I’ve never felt this way after a loss.

“”We got what we deserved.””

Wow.

It’s hard to correlate Arizona’s pathetic effort on Saturday to the embarrassing losses against BYU at home (the worst defeat in McKale Center history) and at San Diego State earlier in the season. The Wildcats have already overcome growing pains by developing an identity, defining roles and relying upon more than just Nic Wise.

From a performance standpoint, the team on Saturday looked like it were playing in mid-November.

But effort-wise — giving up those backdoor passes and blowing defensive assignments — this was more than just a step backward.

“”I don’t think I’ve ever been more disappointed,”” Miller said.

Never?

“”Never like this.””

The frustration was evident on the court, with emotions pouring out from the most unlikely of players.

UA junior Jamelle Horne, still finding his own consistency in his sixth semester of college, let loose and let it be known.

Horne played a Sweet 16-type, all-around game with 15 points and 14 rebounds. More so, his on-court leadership stood out at a time when Wise’s didn’t.

Horne’s vocal presence was an attempt to get his teammates through a 20-point first-half performance. With SportsCenter put-back dunks of his own, Horne let out screams and jawed out teammates in search of support.

He even punched the padding after a foul.

The frustration couldn’t be more obvious.

“”Tough. It hurt us. I think everyone could tell,”” said freshman Momo Jones. “”If you’re a basketball fan or basketball journalist, whether the looks on our face or the no-looks on our face, beat down inside, it hurts.””

It’s easy to diagnose a performance from an offensive standpoint. Arizona’s starting backcourt — Wise and Kyle Fogg — shot a combined 2-of-16 from the floor against Oregon State to finish the weekend 6-of-37.

But it’s not about the shots. Those will eventually fall in.

It’s the big-picture issue Miller hinted toward in a quote in which it was hard not to read between the lines.

“”I’m not for everybody,”” Miller said. “”As a coach, you … gotta’ have some guys playing your way going good or bad. I don’t want a guy playing our way just when we’re winning.””

On Valentine’s Day Eve, the third straight over-capacity crowd wanted to love the Wildcats. Fans have rooted all season for this team’s grassroots upbringing and their nothing-ever-handed-to-them swagger.

Not Saturday.

You could almost feel animosity between the coaches and the disconnected players.

Miller calling out his team for not completely buying into the system might just be a tactic he’s using to discipline his players.

“”You only have so many bullets in your gun,”” said Miller, coincidentally the current head coach of Gilbert Arenas’ college team. “”I’ve used a few.””

And it won’t be the last if Sunday’s rivalry game against ASU doesn’t get the team to play with effort.

— Bryan Roy is an interdisciplinary studies junior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

 

More to Discover
Activate Search