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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Commentary: UA still can’t win Thursday games

SEATTLE — The common Pacific 10 Conference memo never changes: Protect your home court and split on the road.

The Wildcats have handled the latter and more difficult goal throughout the first half of conference play by splitting both road trips to Los Angeles and Oregon.

Thursday’s 81-71 loss against Washington puts the pressure on Arizona.

“”We’re just going to play the way we’ve been playing,”” guard Momo Jones said. “”That’s the story. Because we lost (Thursday), we can’t deviate what we do.””

If there’s one optimistic statistic to take away, it’s Arizona’s 0-3 record on Thursday Pac-10 road games, including Thursday’s loss to the Huskies. The two Thursday losses prior, the Wildcats rebounded to steal the Saturday road game.

What’s the reason?

“”We’re just working hard,”” Jones said, without an answer. “”We’re not going to stop. We have a ways to go for improvement.””

Arizona’s loss, combined with California’s loss to USC last night, leaves them part of a four-way tie for first place in the Pac-10. ASU and UCLA are also 6-4 in conference play.

With the conference race becoming less and less defined, even discussing the top of the Pac-10 doesn’t make sense anymore.

“”We’ve really tried not to talk a lot about it or think about it,”” UA coach Sean Miller said. “”We’re so much in a mode to try to get better ourselves. I really feel like our best way of having the best season we can have is to focus on daily improvement and being ready to play.””

Added Washington coach Lorenzo Romar on the conference standings: “”It changes all the time.””

Lavender has his day

Arizona carried late-half momentum in both the first and second halves. UA sophomore Brendon Lavender hit three 3-pointers to close out the first-half and led the Wildcats with nine points.

One point shy of his season high, Lavender credited his success to getting himself set and into position as the difference-maker.

He finished the night with 16 points.

“”My confidence is not the issue at all, it’s just knowing my role and trying to execute everything I can do to help us win,”” Lavender said. “”Whenever I’m open, I feel like I can make any shot. I felt like that was a crucial point in the game where we need those shots.””

Foul shooting woes

Free throws were the difference-makers, in both a good and bad way in a tale of two halves.

Both teams struggled in the first half — Washington shot just 47 percent and trailed by six when the buzzer rang.

It all changed in the second half, where the Huskies made 21-for-25 free throws, especially down the stretch.

“”If you miss one or miss two, that’s a big difference,”” Miller said.

Awkward placements

No doubt the Washington students (“”The Dawg Pound””) have the best seats in the house — lining the entire sideline — but what about some of their hardworking peers?

Their cheerleaders are secluded in concourse entrances in each corner of the arena. The band? Standing as a line on the mid-level that separates the student section with the upper deck.

Still, the arena’s vintage gothic field house glass look, mixed with a high definition JumboTron makes it one of the cooler arenas in the Pac-10.

You’re not alone, Tucson

With 11:15 remaining, a Washington fan threw a water bottle in the direction of Miller. Officials called a controversial traveling call on the Huskies, leading into a media timeout. The PA announcer reminded fans not to throw material on the court. Police escorted two fans from the upper deck.

And 1

Arizona’s two-game red jersey winning streak was snapped Thursday.


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