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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona, UW take spotlight

Head coach Sean Miller doesn’t want the Arizona men’s basketball team to make the same mistake twice.

“You can’t go from a Thursday night game and say ‘When’s the next game?’” Miller said. “There’s a process in place when the game ends to the next game begins and you have to do a great job as a team really honoring that process.”

Miller referenced the Wildcats’ loss in McKale Center to Oregon two weeks ago during a hyped, nationally televised contest, the closest thing to what the Wildcats will face Saturday against Washington at 5 p.m.

“To me, in our last home stand in a late-Thursday night game, we didn’t do a good enough job leading up to the jump ball and we got what we deserved against a very good Oregon team,” Miller said.

The Wildcats (14-5, 5-3 Pac-12) are halfway through a weekend that junior forward Kevin Parrom called a “must sweep” on Twitter, and the Huskies (11-9, 3-5) will face the hostile White Out environment for the second time in two years on Saturday when Arizona hosts ESPN’s College GameDay. But with a win against Washington State already secured, Arizona has to go back to step one.

“I think it just restarts all over again. Go in with the same mentality in practice tomorrow,” junior forward Solomon Hill said. “Try to execute the game plan for Washington.”

The Huskies are tied for the Pac-12 Conference lead and bring an offense ranked second in the conference behind only Oregon State. The Wildcats will have to work to stop second-chance points for Washington, who is the conference’s leading offensive rebounding team.

Miller has had the team focused on improving offense as well as maintaining defense but he said Arizona’s first step would be putting an emphasis on preparation for Washington, if the Wildcats want to make this their first conference weekend sweep.

“We have to be ready,” Miller said. “Our preparation is the name of the game right now.”

Indicative of many of the games the Wildcats played in this season, Saturday’s contest with Washington should be closely contested. The last two times Arizona faced the Huskies, the game came down to the final possession, once with former Wildcat Derrick Williams’ block and the other with former Husky Isaiah Thomas’ buzzer-beater 3-pointer to send the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament.

This weekend, with a whiteout atmosphere and Arizona’s own tournament hopes on the line, senior Kyle Fogg said the Wildcats wouldn’t back down from the challenge.

“We all came to Arizona to play in big games like this against great competition,” Fogg said. “We’re really excited to have another big one on Saturday.”

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