Miller happy with hard fought victory

Sean Miller believes that Kansas State was the toughest opponent of the young season. Read on to see why that is, his thoughts on Arizona's performance, and more.

Sean Miller knew that defeating Kansas State would not be an easy task and was happy that Arizona was able to emerge from Tuesday’s game with a win.

“Well, first of all, really especially this early in the season, there is not a loser in tonight's game,” Miller said. “We knew before we played Kansas State that they're a very, very good team.

“You don't share in a Big 12 title a year ago and return the players and obviously a great coach and coaching staff and you're just going to go out there and be clearly the better team. 

“There isn't a lot of difference between our teams. I say that because I feel like we left with a hard-fought victory over an excellent basketball team.”

Tuesday was easily the biggest challenge of Arizona’s season and the Wildcats recognized that.

“On our end, tonight was the first game this season where comprehensively we knew we were in a high level game,” Miller said. “A number of players go through things individually. 

“Stanley is one where he was in immense foul trouble and yet put that behind him. Came in very, very late in the game and made key winning plays. Brandon Ashley, who he hasn't played in a game like this in fairness to him in a long time, you could see that for most of the first half. But in the second half, Brandon was as big of a reason we won as anybody.”

Those were certainly not the only two players that Miller felt played well.

Kaleb Tarczewski hasn't been scoring as much, but tonight was his night,” he said. “We got the ball to him and he delivered. Then obviously T.J. who, in my opinion, is our team's heart and soul. 

“You can't define his game by points. You have to define his game by his leadership and play making.”

One of the major reasons why Arizona had difficulty throughout the game is because it seemed that every time it got a lead, Kansas State guard Marcus Foster would make a big shot.

“We watched Marcus quite a bit on film, as much as we could in one day, and we scouted Kansas State ahead of time,” Miller said. “Respect isn't a good enough word to describe how we categorize him as a player.

“There aren't too many guards in this country who are better basketball players who mean more to their team. The thing that I admire about him is he really does things through the flow of his team. 

“He forces very little. He takes great shots and makes his teammates better. Seems like a great kid.”

As well as Foster played, Miller says he would not change Arizona’s defensive approach if he had to do it all over again.

“Obviously one heck of a player, and he proved that tonight,” Miller said. “He was challenged at a high level, but I think we guarded him with three different players and for him to put up the numbers he put up, it wasn't like we were giving him threes.

“His six threes were hard earned. Kansas State did a good job of freeing him up. I have no regrets of how we defended him from the three-point line. It's just he's that good.”


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