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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Notes: Arizona faces Washington after ‘best win’

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Colin Darland
Colin Darland/Arizona Daily Wildcat

LOS ANGELES – Sean Miller called Arizona’s 67-62 win over the USC Trojans their best of the season.

“”The reason is we respect USC a great deal,”” Miller said. “”You watch how hard they play … We beat an excellent team tonight.

“”We weren’t favored,”” he said. “”There was a reason. We played better tonight.””

Now, the Wildcats will face the Washington Huskies for the Pacific 10 Conference title, set to tip off at 3 p.m. Pacific Time. The Huskies defeated Oregon 69-51 Friday night, and after splitting the season series with the home team winning each game, the preseason Pacific 10 Conference-best Washington team will be anxious to play the Wildcats.

“”They got us the last time,”” UW point guard Isaiah Thomas said. “”We want some revenge.””

Against the Trojans, the Wildcats won in a way they’ve won in a number of games this year, receiving a huge boost from their bench by outscoring USC’s reserves 23-4.

Early in the second half, Arizona led 40-36. Just after the bench came in around the first media timeout of the half, senior Jamelle Horne hit a 3-pointer. That was followed by eight consecutive Arizona points by freshman guard Jordin Mayes, who finished with eight points and three assists.

His burst gave Arizona a 50-38 lead, its largest of the evening.

“”That second group that comes in, they’re the reason why we won a lot of the games we won this season,”” forward Derrick Williams said. “”That broke open the game.

“”Especially tonight, that second group, that’s the reason why we won tonight,”” he added. “”I give Jordin a lot of credit for that.””

Cantu replaces O’Neill

Bob Cantu saw the wave of questions coming.

“”Kevin O’Neill not only is my head coach, but he’s a great friend of mine,”” the USC assistant and O’Neill’s replacement for the Pac-10 Tournament said to open his press conference. “”He’s also a great person. I truly value my friendship with coach O’Neill.””

Cantu, who has coached as a Trojan under head men Henry Bibby, Tim Floyd and now O’Neill, wasn’t sure whether O’Neill’s absence affected his players.

“”I think watching the game, our guys really competed,”” Cantu said. “”Obviously, (O’Neill) wasn’t standing there calling plays. We went through everything as if he were standing there.””

Hoping to catch the Wildcats off guard, Cantu said he implemented a few of his own plays into what was a game created by O’Neill.

“”I ran one play,”” Cantu said, “”I laughed because I said, K.O. is probably saying, ‘why is he running that play right now.’ I ran two plays that we hadn’t run before, one that I had run with Tim (Floyd) and one I would have run with Henry (Bibby).

“”We threw a couple extra things in there. Some worked, some didn’t.””

Fogg’s quad slowly recovering

Miller said guard Kyle Fogg had suffered a quad strain in the Wildcats’ final regular season game against Oregon last Saturday.

“”That’s why he’s not starting,”” Miller said. “”He still contributed. He gave us 10 minutes yesterday, 12 today. We tried to see if he was worse today.””

Fogg, who scored three points and grabbed three rebounds, didn’t show any worse for the wear on the back-to-back game. Miller said that after a hard fall that caused the injury, Fogg has been improving, though not at a very fast pace.

“”You can see him when he’s out there, he’s not completely 100 percent.””

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