VIDEO: Miller On Game, Technical
Sean Miller: it was obviously a great college basketball game. I want to give complete and total credit to UCLA. They fought hard. They have tremendous talent. They're very-well coached. And they made huge plays. We went into this game determined to not let Larry Drew [II] beat us the way he beat us in the first and second games. Really, mission accomplished. Not that he didn't play an excellent game but they went about it a different way. Jordan Adams really stepped up. And they made big plays, and that's what March is about: making big plays. By the way, we made quite a few of them. I told our team after the game, that's all completely on me. If you're the coach of a team and you get a technical in this type of situation under 4 minutes, that's unacceptable. And he made both free throws. Hence, the difference in the game. The reason I got a technical foul was I said, "He touched the ball. He touched the ball." Like in other words, Mark Lyons dribbled, and by the way, when you show the replay here on ESPN in a few seconds, he touched the ball. They touched the ball. He touched the ball. He touched the ball. He touched the ball. That's a hard one now when you work August, September, October, November, December, January, February, and here we are. My man over here, [Solomon Hill] is never coming back here again. His coach gets a technical foul. Did it cost… did it challenge them? By the way, this is my first technical foul of the year. That's what this is about. By the way, full credit given to UCLA. They did a great job.
Q: hi, Coach Miller, frustrating loss, but can you elaborate more on the positives to take away from the game, particularly your success with dribble penetration throughout the game and how that opened up the offense a bit?
SM: we've got an excellent team. We're 25-6, I think 25-7. What are we?
SM: I don't know what seed we're going to get. We played well from start to finish and we lost… It's hard when you lose to a team three times. But you know what? UCLA is really, really good. The respect that we have for them. Ben Howland, the respect that I have for him as a coach. You can't have any more respect. They do a great job. And tonight was just a heavyweight battle between two teams that are really good. And I'm proud of our team's effort. We played well enough to win, but we just, at the very end, didn't have enough plays. And keep in mind, I gave them two points. They didn't earn those two points. Me, I gave them two points. The score was 66-64.
Q: Coach, second half, you were up by 11. UCLA makes the run in the second half. What do you think was the difference that brought UCLA brought in the game and eventually won it?
SM: we started to trade baskets. That's one thing we've worked hard to get away from. That lead was almost like a cushion until the very end, but you can't trade baskets with a team like UCLA because they're one steal away… they're so quick with their hands. Nine steals. The deceiving part when you play them is, when they steal it, they score. And those nine steals, if you track what happened after the steal, a lot of their points came off of their steals on offense. But Jordan Adams. He shot more free throws than our entire team. And we have two first-team All-Conference players in Solomon [Hill] and Mark Lyons. They didn't shoot a free throw in the whole game. Credit UCLA for putting themselves in a position to get fouled. I think he got fouled 3 or 4 times in a row. A couple over-the-back, a couple physical fouls that could go either way. Didn't go our way tonight and that happens. We didn't have enough defensive fortitude, hanging in there, being able to get that big stop when we really needed it. And again, when they're shooting free throws and they're making plays like that, it has a funny way of that lead going from 10 to 5, 5 to 2 and that's what happened to us. And then again, I gave them 2 points. The score was 66-64. I gave them two. That's on me.
Q: Sean, did you have to give up something to shut down Drew and Shabazz? Namely, Adams?
SM: no, we really didn't and that's a great question. Because sometimes when you take something away that really hurts you, then you gave something up like Jordan Adams but you know what? I felt like the game plan was one that other teams have used. Unfortunately for us, it took us to the third game to use it, but to me, that's the way that we, Arizona, has to play UCLA. We picked Larry Drew up much closer to the basket. I thought that helped our entire team, not just the guy guarding him.
Q: this is for Brandon Ashley. Brandon, you're a freshman. Can you sum up this experience and what can you learn this weekend that'll help you in the NCAA Tournament next week?
BA: I mean, it was definitely a great experience. You know, coming out here and competing with my team. I mean, without the win though, without the championship, it's definitely not what we wanted. As far as what I can learn, just keep playing hard. And keep my head in the game.
SM: Brandon may have played his best game of the season today. You think about 7 for 8 from the field. Did a great job. Our freshmen have done nothing but get better. And that's the other part about the tournament that I feel so good watching them out there. They're playing at very, very high level. A much higher level than they did earlier in the year.
Q: Coach, and maybe Brandon can chime in on this. Can you talk about UCLA's post defense? It seemed like they were doubling a bit and the young guys, especially Kaleb [Tarczewski] and Brandon passed out of those double teams and made plays.
SM: UCLA traps the post. They do it every game. And one of the things we wanted to do is not refrain from throwing it in there but giving it to multiple guys and playing out of it. I thought we did a good job. You know, it's tough when you shoot nine free throws. We didn't do a good enough job of getting fouled. That's the bottom line. And I think if you look at the difference in the game, other than the two points that I gave them on the technical foul for saying what I said, they were 17-21 from the line, we were 7 for 9 from the line. When you have one team that gets 21 free throws and does a great job of getting to the line, and you take that from us, you start looking at the stat sheet, that, and their turnovers, and they do a great job of not turning the ball over, that's the reason that we lost. That and again, you've got to keep this in mind, I gave them two free throws.
Q: for Solomon, when you lose the game the way you lost the game, and then now you're here. Your comment from the coach. What kind of things are going through your mind? What are you thinking?
SH: I thought our team played hard. I think we were the aggressive team to start the game. I think we lost a little bit of aggressiveness in the second half. We let the refs dictate our play in the second half and our tempo. When you start getting down on the refs, you try to argue with the refs, you kind of lose focus on the team goals and what we want to do out there and a couple guys kind of lost their head, and I think Mark was a little bit frustrated at times. Key plays like when Kyle Anderson got the putback, it's a mishap because when you slow down the game, and it comes down to little bitty shots, everybody is watching the ball instead of being aggressive and boxing out and trying to get the rebound. Like Coach said, the free throws are the biggest difference. We could do everything we can to try to keep the ball in our hands, and they like to turn people over. But the free throws, when you're the team that shoots 21 free throws and you shoot 9, it's kind of hard to really pull out that win.
Q: Coach, this is for you and Solomon. Can you talk about the last play? What you were looking at in the last play?
SM: we were down two points. I think that's well documented right now. We didn't need a three so we ran a play and put the ball in Solomon's hands like we've done so many times. I thought he made a great move. Almost took a 3 that could've been challenged, shotfaked, got a good 2 off, and I think Brandon may have got a tip-in. Sometimes you tip it in and it goes in, sometimes you have a 3 and it goes in. It's that single play that sometimes is blown out of proportion. It's almost like "the last play of the game wins or loses the game." It's so many plays throughout and to me, us not being able to get those stops when we had the cushion, the lead, started to do us in.
Q: Coach, did you get an explanation from the officials?
SM: they don't talk to me.
Q: it just seems like that's something that said a million times during the course of a game, "he touched the ball."
SM: they don't talk to me. So much of what's happened is, you're in March. And everybody is being super evaluated. The coaching box. The bench standing up. everybody's really tight because there's so much at stake. You know, it's just difficult, man, when you invest hundreds of hours, in Solomon's case, thousands of hours, and if I cuss and I'm out of control and I've been warned, shame on me. But when I say, "he touched the ball. He touched the ball." Because quite frankly, I thought two of them could've maybe gotten together and explained that in fact, he did touch the ball. That's what I was hoping for. That technical right there is hard to swallow, and when you lose by two and you gave them two, you're the coach. You have to take that burden. And I got that with me.
Q: Coach, and for players. Obviously a tough loss. Not the way you wanted this tournament to end, but what can you learn from this game as you regroup for the NCAA Tournament?
SM: you've got to stay in the coaching box. And you've got to be real, real careful now. As the coach, what you say. That's what I've learned.
SH: I think, as the team, just continue… our defense has to be the tempo of the game. I think if we continue to keep playing defense the way we have been in this tournament, I think the sky's the limit for us. I think if we can be a little bit more aggressive with going to the rim and try to get fouled. If that [means] getting Brandon some touches down low and Kaleb some touches down low. But all in all, I think we have to stay as a team. Continue playing as a [audio difficulties] and not letting outside sources really dictate our play. And just continue to keep playing hard.
SM: you can see what a great leader Solomon is. He's much more poised than me right now. But I think one of the things that our team has going for us in the tournament, and we've had it all season: we have a great blend of new players. Young talent. And we have older guys that have been through the battles. Solomon and Mark and Kevin [Parrom]. And it is that combination that's going to take us as far as we need. And you know, no question, I think we've earned a good seed. We're excited to be a part of the Tournament. And there's nothing more spectacular, as a college basketball player, than being a part of March Madness and the NCAA Tournament. There's a lot better than losing the game the way we lost today.
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