Hollis-Jefferson embraces the challenge

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson embraced the challenge of his first NCAA Tournament game. Read on for his thoughts on being nervous, his performance, and more.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson knows that every NCAA Tournament game is going to be a challenge, so he had no issues with embracing that fact on Friday.

"It is a great feeling to get my first NCAA win and I am excited to be a part of it," Hollis-Jefferson said. "You just have to step up to the challenge, accept it, and I just did what I had to do out there to get the win."

It makes no difference what year Hollis-Jefferson is, as he knows that he has a major role with the Wildcats.

"We know what we have to do as freshmen," he said. "We play a big role on the team and we just have to come out and play hard and give it our all."

After the game, Hollis-Jefferson had a swollen and red eye due to being poked a few times during the course of the game.

"I got poked in the eye three times," he said. "I'm not sure if it was the same guy, but they got me. My vision is getting better as time goes on."

Hollis-Jefferson admits that he was nervous the first time he took the court, but that feeling went away quickly.

"If I said no I would be lying," he said. "That's just a part of basketball, but once you get out there and start playing hard, all that goes away. I would say it took one or two up and backs and I'm good."

It also helps that Arizona is so strong on defense, which allows the Wildcats some time to get in their overall comfort zone.

"That's who we are," Hollis-Jefferson said. "We like to play defense and we take a lot of pride in it, especially myself.

"I like to get after it on defense and that is what our coaches always tell us, that defense wins championships."

Arizona was not quite happy with its performance on Friday, but Hollis-Jefferson says that the message from Sean Miller was clear.

"We're competing to make it to the Final Four," he said. "We have to keep our eye on the ball and eye on the goal and keep working hard."

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