“I’m sorry to Arizona fans, but if you think we were going to come into UTEP and blow them out, that’s a mistake,” McConnell said.
“They are a great team and they are well coached and they showed that tonight. They gave us one heck of a game and I thought we responded well.”
The Wildcats got off to a fast start and it appeared that Arizona would win in a blow out before the Miners stormed right back.
“We started off very effective in the first half and they punched us right back,” McConnell said. “We knew what kind of game it was going to be from there and it was a grind it out game until the end.
“We made a few free-throws down the stretch and we also missed a few, but we came out with the win.”
One of the main reasons that Arizona had a difficult time was the play of UTEP forward Vince Hunter.
“One word to describe him is a monster,” McConnell said. “Guys play their best games against Arizona.
“It means something to wear Arizona on your jersey and he played great, but he fouled out in the second half and we capitalized on it.”
There are still plenty of aspects that Arizona can improve on and McConnell took some of the blame.
“We knew they were going to change up their defense,” he said. “That is what Tim Floyd does and they are good at it. We have been practicing all week, so we were prepared.
“We missed a few shots here and there, but I thought we played well except for a few turnovers that start with me. I think we did a good job of closing them out.”