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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Physicality to be expected for Arizona from now on

Much like the majority of the season for the No. 5 overall
and No. 1 seed in the Pac-12 tournament Arizona Wildcats, things were dicey
before the team pulled away later in the action. What was a six-point halftime
UA lead quickly got out of hand, en route to a 73-51 Arizona victory.

While the Wildcats picked up the defensive intensity down
the stretch, Cal resorted to physicality and even a bit of chippy play.

“We’re going to take some punches,” Arizona coach Sean
Miller said. “I’ve talked to these guys about that. And when I say punches, I
don’t mean a punch, I mean effort. And Cal played us really hard and physical.”

With a little less than three minutes left to play, Cal
forward David Kravish got tangled up with Arizona forward Brandon Ashley after
a missed shot. Arms intertwined, the two rolled on the floor and Kravish ended
up nearly sitting on Ashley, preventing the junior from getting back up.

Kravish gave Ashley a look as to say ‘I may not win this
game, but I will not give up’ and pushed his way off the Arizona forward.
Ashley took exception to the play and shoved Kravish right in front of a
referee. Both were assessed technical fouls at that point and it was deemed
over.

It really wasn’t surprising to see the physical play break
out, as seniors like Kravish are playing in their final collegiate games.
Emotion is natural. What was surprising was the speed in which Arizona coach
Sean Miller raced from the Arizona bench all the way across the court to break
up the raucous.

After the game, media members asked Miller questions about
his 40-yard dash time. While he didn’t directly address his thoughts about his
speed, he did say emotions ran high.

“Sometimes the emotion of it as a coach, you have to make
sure that we’re in place,” Miller said. “But I didn’t think [it was] as maybe
scary as that three to five seconds was. I thought both guys held serve and
moved on.”

While things may not have gotten out of hand this game, this
is a scenario Arizona could see down the road as teams look to hang on to their
seasons.

Multiple Wildcats said after the game that cooler heads
should prevail as they realize how important the rest of the season is.

“Guys get emotional and you just got to get passed it, be a
grown up and not be a little kid and get passed it,” McConnell. “I could see
where [Brandon Ashley] was coming from. He was not going to back down but he
can’t throw a punch or anything like that. You just got to be smart.”

As the Wildcats advance further in Pac-12 tournament play,
taking the team’s best punch to say is something that is expected. After all,
this is Arizona we’re talking about.

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Follow Roberto Payne on Twitter.

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