Arizona has historically struggled at Oregon State and Arizona was well ware of that going into Thursday’s matchup.
“We’ve been up here a number of times where we’ve played the way the game was in the first half, we actually played two halves like that and end up losing in a couple hard fought battles,” Miller said.
“On the road it isn’t easy and we didn’t expect it to be easy. We talked a lot about that before this game started. Watching Oregon State in the last two games they played, at Colorado and at Utah, especially the last 10 minutes at Utah and the entire game at Colorado, they really scored the ball a lot easier and you can tell they’re playing with a renewed sense of confidence.
“Even though they didn't win those games, they played at a level where maybe they weren’t at in January. We knew coming here that they were back at home and you come in with a number five ranking on your chest, you’re going to get every team’s best shot.”
The first half was ugly and the Wildcats went into halftime down 29-27 and struggling to score.
The offensive struggles in the first half were caused by a few factors.
“For most of the game we did a great job,” Miller said. “Sometimes it’s hard because you really move it well and create a good shot, but don’t make it.
“We had a number of those, especially in the first half early. When we had shots not go down with good ball movement, often times what follows is guys trying to get one on the board. Maybe we didn't move it quite as well.”
Arizona’s bigs were front and center for those struggles offensively.
“Our big guys are really good around the basket and we had three shots in the first half that just were right there and you don't see a guy like Dusan miss those very often and really Chance as well,” Miller said.
“Lauri hasn't had a half offensively this season like he had in the first half against Oregon State. Lauri put that behind him and I thought our team really put those first 20 minutes behind them and definitely moved the basketball throughout the second half in a much better way.”
One player who came up big in the first half despite Arizona’s overall struggles was Parker Jackson-Cartwright.
“It was great to see him make the two three-point shots in the first half,” Miller said. “Those points were valuable because we didn't score a whole bunch in the first half. He can make open threes. He’s done it for a couple of years. When he gets his feet set, he is going to make them.
“I think he is starting to find his rhythm now shooting the ball, which is a good sign. You missed four weeks and then all of a sudden the first two weeks you’re back, you don’t feel right. You can really get into a rut that sometimes you don't get out of very easily.
“He’s fought and stayed with it. He had a couple good days of practice since our Washington game and it was great to see him contribute.”