“T.J. is our heart and soul,” Sean Miller said. “There isn’t a player more important to Arizona than he is.
“He’s a point guard. He doesn’t care how much he scores every game. He just looks to get his teammates the best possible look. He’s the consummate playmaker, teammate and winner.”
Miller has always had high praise for the senior lead guard and after the Oregon game was no different.
“He was able to knock down shots for us in the first half, and reverted back to his playmaking in the second,” Miller said.
“It’s always great when T.J. is scoring for us, it makes us more dangerous.”
Arizona controlled the game from the opening tip and never really let Oregon feel grounded on either end of the floor. The Wildcats used their defense to stymie the Ducks into ill-advised turnovers and errant shots.
McConnell credited Arizona’s defense and its overall hustle as a main reason for success.
“There was a possession where I stole the ball and found Stanley and he was able to make an amazing finish,” McConnell said. “The crowd was ignited and I went into beast mode and tried to get the crowd into it a little bit.
“As a team, we did a great job defensively and we strive to play our best every night. I’m just happy we’re winning right now. We’re 19-2 and I know a lot of teams would like to trade places with us.”
Attention now turns to Oregon State as the 14-6 Beavers travel to Tucson for a highly anticipated rematch with Arizona, and the Pittsburgh native is ready for the challenge.
“We played really tentatively against Oregon State the first time,” McConnell said. “You can’t play like that against anyone, and I know we’ll be a lot more focused and ready to go this Friday.
“They were able to throw us off our game last time, but we’re a different team and when we are hitting our open shots and finding our bigs inside we are a tough team to defend.”