Sean Miller could point to numerous reasons why Arizona lost to Colorado on Wednesday, but there is one major reason that stands out.
“I think number one, Colorado was ready to play tonight,” Miller said. “They were the harder playing team, they gave tremendous effort and I’m a big fan of Josh Scott.
“I watched him a year ago as a junior and he played most of the season injured and did the best he could. He’s healthy now and you can really tell.
“You want to see somebody like him, whose one of the best players in our conference down the home stretch of his senior year, play his heart out. You look at his numbers tonight and he dominated the game and he did it against a very good front line of our own.”
Colorado’s frontcourt was able to match Arizona’s production on the glass.
“With his partner Wesley Gordon, we knew before we played them how good of an offensive rebounder Scott is and how good of a team they are,” Miller said. “The fact is that he was able to get seven second shots and I think two of his shots lead to three pointers when they only had five three pointers.
“A big difference in the game was Wesley Gordon on the offensive glass and Josh Scott being a great player. I thought that Tad Boyle and his staff did a great job of having his team ready to play.
“They’ve had a great season and this was a meaningful game, the last two home games of the year. You felt it by looking at the great crowd and the team. Sometimes you have to take your hat off to the opponent and say, you know what tonight they were the better team, and they were.”
Miller uncharacteristically used all of his timeouts with about ten minutes to play and much of that had to do with the confidence in his team to come back from a deficit.
“I never really felt comfortable,” Miller said. “I went through our timeouts just to kill momentum and keep our guys engaged. Try to get it as close to the end as possible with us having a chance to be in the game.
“Some of it is prodding our guys to give great effort and to not give in. Tonight we played against a physically strong team and a team that really, what I thought did a great job.”
In addition, Miller was careful to make sure that his team didn’t get too down after the loss.
“We’ve had a good week of practice,” Miller said. “It’s not that story of they wanted it more. Both teams wanted it. They were ready to play though. They were the harder playing, more physical team and they were playing in front of a terrific home crowd.
“I don’t know if their crowd and energy in the building is like this every game, but if it is, it’s a tremendous advantage. I thought they feed off the crowd and the crowd feeds off their great effort.
“Tad is a tremendous coach and they have a 20 win season going. You’re not going to win every game right now in the PAC 12. For us we also have had an excellent season and we can’t let one game ruin a lot of the great things that we have fought so hard to achieve.”