Sean Miller was able to find both positives and negatives in Arizona’s 78-59 win Thursday night.
“We wanted to be really good on defense,” Miller said. “On the road, that is the thing. You can’t always control offense. We weren’t. I thought Washington State missed a couple layups and some easy ones.
“Kadeem Allen is so valuable to our team and without him we lose our heart and soul and best defensive player. Not until he is not out there, do you start to see some things that maybe you don't see. He is like that cover corner that makes everybody’s job easier.”
Ideally, Arizona continues to improve on offense, but Thursday was a step in the right direction.
“We have to become more fluid on offense,” Miller said. “We had it for a while and I think a lot of teams are like this. You lose it, but that doesn't mean you aren't going to get it back.
“Even tonight, I thought there were times the ball moved effortlessly. We really needed good plays, whether it was a pass or shot and Rawle made them. Kobi Simmons in the second half, Rawle, Parker, and Lauri. I thought it was a team win, but those guys in particular really needed it.”
On the plus side, Lauri Markkanen was able to break out of his slump and finish with a double-double.
“We changed a few things to help him and they were the right things, but you can’t help anyone who doesn't start with the intent of helping themselves,” Miller said. “The beginning of the second half really set the tone for our win.
“Lauri has been off the map a little bit recently. To his credit, you get it back by what you do every day, not this magic wand that when the next game comes, I am going to be fine. His process has been great.
“We have watched him and talked to him. One of the things he did today is he established himself from the two-point, in and around the basket, second shots. That is something we talked about and I thought he came into the game with the right mentality.”
If everything goes well, Arizona is hoping to get more good news with the possible return of Kadeem Allen and Dusan Ristic Saturday.
“We’re dropping like flies,” Miller said. “The guys that haven’t gotten hurt, now its their turn to get hurt. Hopefully we van make it to the finish line.”