Game Talk: Arizona 73, Texas 70

The No. 7 rated Texas Longhorns gave the Wildcats all they could handle. The game was close throughout and both teams gave themselves the opportunity to win. End the end, it was the Cats go-to guy Jason Gardner who hit the big shots.

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"Jason really stepped up big time. I look at how Jason got bounced around and I know if this would have happened a couple of years ago he would have gotten emotionally involved in the game and let it effect him. (Tonight) he took the physical and worked through it."

On the battle of the boards
"Texas has just destroyed people on the glass. And  in the second half we had a sizable advantage. I thought we went to the offensive boards with a lot of desire. It was a game for men only, I'll tell you that. That was as physical a game as you're going to see."

On playing a top-ranked team during the nonconference schedule:
"I think anytime you play a really good team you're so much better for it. Games like this help both teams. I'm sure Rick (Barnes) and his guys are disappointed that they didn't get the win, but I'm sure he'd tell you they are a whole lot better as a result of having played this game than they would if they'd have played Podunk Central and blown them away."

"Games like this happen. I've been through games where the shot is not falling, but if you have the open shot you take it. Fortunately, the guys kept telling me to shoot the ball and that kept my spirits up during the game."

On it being such a physical game:
"Texas played very physical but I think our team stepped it up. After the first half coach told us we weren't playing tough enough and in the second half the guys played harder, getting on the boards and going after loose balls."

On Texas point guard T. J. Ford:
"He's their go-to player and I'm one of our go-to players on this team. Tonight the shot was there for both of us. He missed some and I missed some."

On Luke Walton:
"We missed him a lot on the offensive end getting us open shots. A lot of guys count on him. He's a tough competitor and we missed him on the glass tonight. We missed his leadership on the floor, so we missed him a whole lot."

"The refs let us play and Texas is a big, physical team. They're a tough team and they're deeper than what I thought. They played real hard the whole game. They have good post guys and good guards and they play real hard."

On Jason Gardner:
"Jason is our leader. We know he might miss a couple of shots, but we keep going to him because at the end of the game he's going to be one of the players to step up."

On Luke Walton:
"We wish we had him today because he would have helped us out in every aspect of the game. But I'm happy we won without him. I think it was a real test for us also to play without one of our best players and one of our leaders out there."

"There's no question this was one of the toughest teams I think we're going to face this year."

On Luke Walton:
"We miss Luke a lot. He gets on us a lot, but he encourages me and Andre (Iguodala) to do our best. Luke's leadership is great, he stayed on us tonight and it really helped us during the game."

"It was a great experience. It was a great crowd and I really enjoyed playing here. Hopefully, the next time we come in this building we can get the win.

On Jason Gardner:
"He's big time player. He's their leader and that's what he did. At crunch time he stepped up and hit the shot and then played great defense. He's a big time player, an all-American. I thought we played good defense on him. He just made some tough shots, but when guys make tough shots you have to give credit. He got it done. It's always special going against one of the top players in the country. I really respect his game."

On the disappointment of losing to the Wildcats for the seventh consecutive time:
"We put ourselves in a position to win but we couldn't come up with the big basket. As long as you put yourself in a position to win a game, you can't be totally satisfied but you have to look at it with a positive. We had a chance to win, we just didn't come up with the key play.

"Coming in here and playing the No. 1 team in the country was a great experience for me. The crowd being into it added to the game. I think we did a good job of not being crushed by the pressure of the crowd. And I think we did a good job of feeding off the energy of the crowd.

On the present and future of Texas basketball :
This loss really hurts because we had Arizona on the ropes and we just didn't finish the fight. I think we're still one of the top contenders, so we'll go back and practice and keep doing what we're doing. Then we'll go out get some more Ws.


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