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Veterans help steady Wildcats

Arizona assistant Mark Phelps discusses the steadying presence of Arizona's veterans.

Arizona almost had a monumental collapse against Texas A&M, but was able to hold on for the win.

For the coaching staff, the way the game ended allows for a teaching moment. 

“It’s always good to go away from home and get a big road win,” assistant Mark Phelps said. “Give Texas A&M a lot of credit. They really fought down the home stretch of the game and made it a lot closer than we would have liked. 

“I think it’s a real learning opportunity for our team. Being on the road, young guys, in a situation we haven’t seen this year.”

One of the reasons why Arizona built such a big lead in the first place was the play of Dusan Ristic.

“Dusan Ristic started off the game terrific for us, gave us an inside scoring presence, and was very efficient early in the game,” Phelps said.

“He allowed us and the guys to enjoy the lead we had down the home stretch.”

They may not get credit because of the blown lead, but Phelps believes that the veterans calmed Arizona down during Texas A&M’s run.

“Everyone knowns we’re playing with seven guys,” he said. “You look at our staring line up, you have Kadeem and Dusan as guys that have been in that situation before together with three freshmen. 

“The guy that is handling the ball and playing the point guard for us is such a stabilizing force and we need him. 

“If you look at the box score, you do see seven rebounds and on a night where we were really challenged, that became big for our team along with Kadeem being a stabilizing force.”

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