Arizona has had a lot of impressive wins this season, but head coach Sean Miller feels that none may have been as impressive as the 67-62 win over USC on Friday night.
"Well, I told the guys in the locker room after the game I thought this was our best win of the season," Miller said. "The reason is we respect USC a great deal. That senior class, and we've gone through some change at Arizona, but you really have to appreciate those kids' effort, not only tonight, but the whole season.
"We beat an excellent team tonight. We weren't favored and there was a reason. On our end, very proud of our guys' effort. Ironically we've got two L.A. guys here, and I think in each of their own right they played an excellent game and helped us win."
The Wildcats' strategy was obvious in numerous aspects, including the fact that it wanted to help in the paint defensively, leaving Marcus Simmons open often.
While Simmons made Arizona pay, Miller would not take a different strategy if the teams were to play again.
"To Marcus Simmons' credit, I know he hasn't made a lot of threes, but I think he equaled his season total against us," Miller said. "That's what seniors do. You could tell he was playing with a lot at stake. He answered the bell on a couple of open threes.
"We wanted to take his defender and really try the best we could at providing extra help, and if we had to do it all over again, I think we'd try to do the same thing."
Derrick Williams got plenty of credit for his 20-point performance, but he was quick to point out that he has plenty of help.
"That second group that comes in, they're the reason why we won a lot of our games this season, Jordin's individual effort," Williams said. "He had eight quick points and a couple threes and that broke open the game, especially tonight that second group, they're the reason why we won tonight. I give Jordin a lot of credit for that."
Miller added that Mayes' winning experience helps add to the overall attitude of the team.
"The thing about Jordin is he comes from such a great winning background," he said. "There is a guy that's coming off a back-to-back California State Championships, played hard, practiced hard, and played hard. In his first year at Arizona he's won a Pac-10 Championship, and so far 27 games.
"Part of what he brings to our team is the intangibles of knowing how to win because of where he's from. What high school he went to, who his high school coach was and just that pedigree. You can tell he believes in himself and he's very, very unselfish."
With the win over USC on Friday, Miller has the opportunity to win a championship that many did not feel would be possible in his second year.
"Means a lot," Miller said. "We came here trying to separate our regular season championship and pursue a quest for the conference tournament championship. You have that postseason now, and these guys understand that from this point forward after a lot of hard work and a great regular season, that when you lose, you go home. We talked a lot about trying to be at our best."
Wildcats get most impressive win yet
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