Miller both proud and disappointed after loss

Sean Miller was proud of his team and disappointed at the result on Thursday. Read on to see him discuss both, including the last play of the game.

Sean Miller talked about his respect for Ohio State throughout the week, but that did not seem to make Thursday's loss any easier.

After the game, Miller was quick to credit the Buckeyes, especially one player in particular who he feels made the difference.

"From my perspective, just in terms of the game, the one thing that I really had my eye on was LaQuinton Ross," Miller said. "I really believe if you look at Ohio State's winning streak, when he enters the game, it changes things in a very positive way for their team.

"We had a game plan in place to switch, and it's easier said than done. He's out there with some other really skilled and good players. But his 17 points and the 22 5 run after halftime really, in my mind, stand out in the difference of a great game, a really hard fought game."

Although there was disappointment, Miller also expressed how proud he was of his own team and the season that it had.

"I couldn't be prouder of our team," he said. "This is my ninth team I've coached as a head coach. I leave this season with no regrets. These guys as a group, especially these three, they led their team. Not that we're perfect, but we practiced hard. We tried really hard.

"This process started a long, long time ago, and for us to win 27 games and lose in the Sweet Sixteen to Ohio State, we leave here with our head held high. Me as the coach, I leave here with my head held high because of these guys right here. They did everything we wanted them to do."

Arizona went into the half leading, but a sequence in the second half caused him to call numerous timeouts. After the game, Miller said that he felt those timeouts were to keep the Wildcats from falling behind too much.

"Yeah, the end of the first half, first of all, we're not that much better than them, maybe vice versa," he said. "So there are going to be runs and there are going to be a run by us and a run by them. I felt we played a good first half, a lot of good things. That's why we went into halftime as the leader.

"We really were on our heels through, I would guess, maybe the first ten minutes of the second half, maybe the first eight minutes. The fact that I called as many timeouts as I did, I felt like our team was reeling."

One of the biggest factors in the game was that Arizona was not able to use its size effectively as much as it would have liked to.

"When you start watching games when they insert him (Ross) in with Deshaun Thomas and him as the front court, it's really difficult," Miller said. "They negated our size. I look at the stat sheet, they outrebounded us 32 30, 11 offensive rebounds to 9. One of the reasons is that we had to play smaller.

"It's so difficult to deal with them, and big guys in particular, someone like Kaleb, for example, especially as a freshman. It was a difficult game for us to utilize him. When you go smaller, shots around the basket and rebounding start to go in another direction. That is the thing that Ohio State does. They put you in that predicament. You try to match up with them, and as you do it, they end up sometimes getting the advantage."

Ross was the Buckeye that hit the three at the end of the game and Miller attributed it to a miscommunication on defense.

"The last shot of the game, we switched probably 400 handoffs and ball screens in the game," he said. "We didn't switch the last one. That's the other part. Players make big plays. Teams make big plays. The pressure of the moment, the Sweet Sixteen, going to the Elite Eight, two guys go on one.

"Whether he made the shot or not, I think we all live with it when it's challenged and we do what we're supposed to do. But part of the reason he had such a great look at the end, there was two guys that went with the ball, when, in reality, we've switched every single handoff and ball screen from the opening tip to that one right there."

Wildcat Authority Top Stories