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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Coming down the home stretch

Arizona guard Kyle Fogg, right, shoots a left-handed floater over Washington State big man DeAngelo Casto, left, in Arizona?s loss to the Cougars in Pullman, Wash., Saturday. The Wildcats now feel fortunate to play five of their final seven games in McKale Center.
Arizona guard Kyle Fogg, right, shoots a left-handed floater over Washington State big man DeAngelo Casto, left, in Arizona?s loss to the Cougars in Pullman, Wash., Saturday. The Wildcats now feel fortunate to play five of their final seven games in McKale Center.

With seven games remaining in the season, now is the time for the Arizona basketball team to make a final postseason push.

After being swept on the road against Washington’s two state schools over the weekend, the Wildcats are still in a favorable position with five of their final seven games in McKale Center.

“”We haven’t played very many games at home, so now with five of our remaining seven at home, can we take advantage of that?”” said Arizona head coach Sean Miller. “”We do feel the sense of urgency; this is an important stretch, no question.””

In a weak Pacific 10 Conference, in which the regular season champion is expected to be the only at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats have very little room for error in their remaining schedule. Arizona went 5-2 against the teams remaining on its schedule and are 8-3 at home overall.

“”Having five of the last seven at home is great,”” said freshman forward Derrick Williams. “”We have had a couple tough road loses but we want to finish off strong,””

After beating California a week and a half ago in a first-place game, both Miller and his players preached the importance of moving forward despite an exciting win. But after going winless against the Huskies and Cougars over the weekend, whether the team fully moved forward is still in question.

“”We just didn’t have that chip on our shoulder (against Washington State),”” said freshman forward Solomon Hill. “”We came in kind of too relaxed. It’s just about keeping that same hunger that we started out with.””

Miller expects his young freshmen to play well in the last stretch of the season, considering that they’re nearing the top of their learning curve as college basketball players.

“”I’m looking forward to them finishing the season strong,”” Miller said. “”The old adage that freshman aren’t freshman … when you played that much and it’s the middle of February … that’s where they’re at right now … I would like to think that can even out with their experiences now.””

If the Wildcats hope to go dancing in March, winless weekends such as last weekend can’t happen in the final stretch of the season.

“”Every time we’ve lost this season we’ve always came back, but this time we just want to take care of business against Oregon,”” said Williams.

Horne’s rebounding struggles continue

Every time coach Miller speaks to media it is almost guaranteed that he will mention how important it is for forward Jamelle Horne to rebound in order for the team to succeed.

The coach seemed somewhat frustrated with Horne’s job on the glass.

When asked whether Horne took the words to heart, Miller said he didn’t know.

“”Nic Wise has 33 defensive rebounds in our conference play and Jamelle Horne has 31,”” Miller said.

Horne had only two rebounds in each of the games against Washington and Washington State.

“”We’ve talked to him all the time about it and it’s not an easy solution,”” Miller added.

Though Miller seemed frustrated, he knows that the team’s success will depend how Horne improves on the boards.

“”Jamelle Horne finishing the season strong rebounding the ball is one of the keys to us finishing the season strong,”” he said.

 

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