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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Moving on

Moving+on

LOS ANGELES — While Arizona didn’t play its best game on Thursday, it did enough to defeat Oregon State 78-69 in the quarterfinals of the Pacific 10 Conference Tournament in Staples Center.

Despite careless turnovers and continued struggles with the Beavers’ zone defense, the Wildcats did what matters most this time of the year.

“”In March, it’s about if you win or lose,”” Arizona men’s basketball head coach Sean Miller said. “”If you lose, you’re gone and you win, you have a chance to play another game.””

Led by hot 3-point shooting from forward Derrick Williams, who had 22 points on 5-for-6 shooting from beyond the arc, the Wildcats were able to overcome a sluggish start.

“”The way he shoots the ball from 3 sometimes, I think surprises all of us,”” said Miller. “”To make 5 of 6 tonight, every one of them seemed to be timely.””

Before Williams stepped up his play, the Wildcats looked more like a team eyeing the NCAA Tournament rather than focusing on Oregon State, struggling to match the Beavers’ early intensity. Some of those struggles can be attributed to the changes in the starting line-up before the game.

Sophomore forward Kevin Parrom made his first start of the season, replacing an injured Kyle Fogg, who came off the bench despite a thigh bruise.

“”In the first half I had the butterflies,”” said Parrom. “”I had jitters in my stomach, playing in Staples Center and it being my first game starting.””

The changes and adjustments played a role in Arizona’s slow start.

Oregon State guard Jared Cunningham had 19 points in the first half and finished with 23 points and six steals, allowing the Beavers to get into a groove.

“”That’s what they do best,”” Williams said. “”They get you in corners, and trap the ball and make you throw lackadaisical skip passes.””

In the second half, the Wildcats extended their lead to as many as 17 points led by Parrom’s 13-point effort in the frame.

The scorring barrage from Parrom was an appropriate response to an earlier incident when he was punched in the mouth intentionally by Oregon State’s Joe Burton. The referees initially called a flagrant foul on the play, but decided to eject Burton after going to the monitors.

Parrom, who has been involved in a few incidents throughout his young career, said he was just playing how he knows how to play.

“”I was just being physical,”” Parrom said. “”From what I remember, he just hit me, so I just fell and got back up.

“”He hit me in the right spot,”” Parrom added. “”It just happened, its part of the game. I guess I’m always in these type of situations.””

The Wildcats will take on Southern California in the semi-finals tonight at the Staples Center for a chance to play in the Pac-10 championship on Saturday.

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