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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Reflecting on regression

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

Arizona head coach Sean Miller took the media podium Thursday, hoping to clear up his post-game comments following Saturday’s loss to the Oregon State Beavers.

He wanted to give credit where credit was due.

“”I don’t know if it came out necessarily after the game like I really wanted it to,”” Miller said. “”I thought Oregon State did a terrific job. They made key plays in key moments.””

The head coach gave credit not only to the Beavers’ execution but also to their success in frustrating the Wildcats.

Acknowledging the lack of effort from his own team, Miller said the loss reminded him of a football game with one team in the lead and the other throwing pass after pass, losing the time-of-possession battle.

“”One team has the ball for a total half, and when your team has a chance to go out there, we’re passing the ball. We’re in a hurry to score,”” Miller said. “”It’s 3-and-out.””

In basketball terms, the Wildcats rushed quick shots, attempting to score their way back into the game.

It didn’t work.

Arizona forced a transition game that wasn’t ignited by strong defense. Instead of shooting their way back into the game, they got caught playing poor defense and showing poor shot selection.

“”Your offense starts to make you frustrated while you sit on defense for 35 more seconds,”” Miller said, adding that his young team’s performance resembled the start of their season in November. “”While you break down on defense, you want to make it up right away. It was a sign of an immature team.””

Shooting through the Fogg

Arizona’s key shooters — notably its starting back-court of sophomore Kyle Fogg and senior Nic Wise — struggled from the field, making the entire team feel pressured to try quick buckets and prompting poor shot selection.

The pair went a combined 2-for-16 against the Beavers and had a frustrating 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

But they learned a lesson.

Miller cited NBA forward Tim Duncan’s poor shooting but relentless rebounding Wednesday, saying that players need to find another aspect of their game to help the team when their shots aren’t falling. The San Antonio Spurs’ big man shot a lowly 4-for-23 from the field but made up for the off-night with 26 rebounds.

Instead of contributing in other areas, the struggling Wildcats became frustrated.

Fogg admitted that he sometimes puts too much pressure on himself and that he let that affect him as the game developed.

“”I just let my bad offense get to me on defense,”” the starting guard said. “”I just got unfocused and had a bad game that night.””

Fogg wasn’t the only player to struggle. On Sunday, everyone appeared out of sync except junior Jamelle Horne, who had 15 points and 14 rebounds.

“”When guys sat and watched film, they kind of realized that they didn’t really play as hard as they maybe thought they were,”” Horne said.

Maybe the freshman-heavy Arizona roster hit the so-called “”freshman wall.”” Miller said he didn’t believe it, but Horne said it was “”that time of the season,”” where the rigorous schedule caught up to players physically.

“”You’re walking around a little slower to class than you were,”” he joked.

Fogg admitted he had hit a mental wall. He said people had a right to criticize him for playing poorly and that moving on to Sunday’s match-up with ASU is now the main concern.

“”Individually, I definitely didn’t do enough to prepare for the game,”” Fogg said. “”It definitely showed on the floor.

“”I just want to help the team win,”” he added. “”Really, I just got to be sure to catch up on sleep and go shoot the ball whenever I can, after practice, just at night, on my own.

“”Just play ball away from it all, just by myself. That’ll help me get everything together and get focused for Sunday.””

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