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Published by Ryan Divish

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Published by: Ryan Divish on Mar 09, 2012
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  Arizona – 66UCLA – 58 An Interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Coach, a fewopening remarks, please?COACH MILLER: Well, first of all, creditUCLA. Just a real hard-fought game. I reallybelieve it could have gone either way. We playedthose guys three games this year, and really thinkall three games had some similarities. Twodefensive teams. It's not pretty if you lovehigh-scoring, easy baskets.But I think a part of what I'm really proud of our team of here this afternoon is that we reallywere a very tough-minded team. We were verygood on defense. That's been the identity of our team all season long. As often is the case in March, you ride thecoattails of the players, individual players playingbetter than they've played before, playing at highlevel.I think you look at these three guys, andthe only thing you have to do is look at the statsheet; and the meaning of Jesse, Solomon, andKyle is immense. They played great basketball,big plays. These three guys are the heart and soulof our team.I don't know if any of us or any coachcould ask for more from these types of guys,players, than we've asked for of Kyle, Solomonand Jesse.They played hard, and they really have putour team on their back. I think they would agreewith this: That we hope that we have a chancetomorrow night to be here as a winner again. Wehave a tough Oregon State team in front of us, butthe objective in March is to just keep winning, anddon't stop. Hopefully tonight is the first of a couplemore.
Q. With about 13 minutes to go in thesecond half, UCLA started getting a lot of reallyopen looks on the right side of the floor mid-range and in. Then in the final five minutesmaybe outside of the last 40 seconds, you guystook that offense away. Can you talk aboutsome of the defensive adjustments, specificallyafter the last TV timeout?
COACH MILLER: Yeah, I think these guyswould tell you that we never make adjustments.It's more about doing what we do better. That'sreally what we talked about at the timeouts, andthat's we played some excellent defense. It's hardto be the same for 40 minutes. You could beplaying at the highest level of defense, but thereare always those pockets.Sometimes it has a lot to do with our opponent. They're executing and making toughshots. UCLA made a great run at us. Made sometough shots, we broke down a few times. But wequickly got back to who we were, and that is justdoing the things that have made us a very gooddefensive team.None of us four felt very good on Sundaynight. Losing a game that meant so much to our season and our program, especially the way welost. We didn't lose in a 53-51 defensive struggle.We gave up 87 points. I was really pleased, and Itold these guys at halftime, win or lose, it's aboutdoing the same thing in the second half defensively. That's what's going to give us thebest chance to advance, and we did that, andyou're right. I thought down the stretch our defense was very similar to how it was almost theentire first half.
Q. Do you think Perry gets the credit hedeserves for being hung on by all these bigger guys all year long? Especially with UCLA and
March 8, 2012 
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the front line they have?
COACH MILLER: He gets credit from thepeople who know the game. That's for sure. I'msure it was very difficult to leave him off theall-conference team. But Kyle and Solomon endedup getting the nod, but that could have easily beenJesse with those two. We probably needed to wina couple more for him to get that all-conferencenod.The thing that's hard for people to realize,it's like an offensive or defensive lineman who isundersized. You can do it for a while, but whether it's in the fourth quarter of a game or on the tenthgame of the season, there is a reason why thoseguys are as big on the offensive or defensive lineas they are.Basketball inside is the same. One of thethings that we all give Jesse a lot of credit for ishe's really not worn down. He's competed againstevery team's biggest player now for about four or five months. He's learned the tricks of the trade,so to speak. Then on offense, he's really learnedto negate their size and make that an advantage.You look at him today, that's what did he.He gave us an advantage when we had the ball,and he did the best he could defensively. That'swhat he's done really all season. That's what youwant from a senior like him.
Q. Were you able to hang in there withfour fouls at the end? Was there any adviceyou had for him outside of not committing afoul?
COACH MILLER: Yeah, don't foul. At theend of a tournament I'm not going to let anyonedecide the game. These guys deserve to decidethe outcome of the game, and we're going to playthem with fouls. I think a lot of coaches do that inpostseason. It's up to them to be smart. Theyknow right from wrong.But we're going to ride them. I thinkSolomon was mad we took him out for 15 secondstoday. But that's what this is about. They havemade this their team. Tomorrow at the end of thegame we either win by our performance and their performance or we won't. But these three guysare, like I said, the heart and soul of what we do.
Q. You guys really didn't shoot the ballwell all game, but you lived on the foul line inthe second half. Can you talk about theimportance of that?
COACH MILLER: Yep. We played 18regular season games in our conference. I believewe shot the most free throws per game. If wedidn't, the team we play tomorrow is the other team, Oregon State, which gets to the line a lot.We don't do it by post-ups. We do it by driving andtrying to once again negate size versus quickness.But that was a big factor in the game, but I thoughtit was well-officiated.To me, we attacked the basket; these guysattacked the basket the right way.
Q. When you look at the stat sheet,these three guys right here, their numbers aregoing to jump out. But can you talk about whatNick was able to do? He seemed to bedetermined on some of those hustle plays andmaking great stops.
COACH MILLER: These guys will tell you,Nick is very talented. Like a lot of young players,he's learning thousands of uses that talent in agame. One of the thing that's we talked a lot toNick about after our last game against ArizonaState is really not letting a missed shot or bad playor turnover affect the next play or the next momentof the game.Kyle used to kind of be like that when hewas younger. He's really gotten to the point nowwhere nothing really bothers him. He moves oneasily, but he's a senior.What Nick did a great job of today is justthat. He didn't let any negative play affect the nextplay. All of a sudden you start seeing him jumpand make big plays to help us win. That's what heis, a play maker. He does a lot of things to helpour team. He doesn't get enough credit for playingpoint guard in the second position as a freshman.I think these guys will tell you it's hard to play twopositions in your first year. In a number of differentinstances when we've called on him, he's beenthrough.He's been on the all-freshman team of our conference. The better he plays, the better our team will be down the stretch. But you're right; Ithought he made some real key plays to uswinning.
Q. Solomon, Jesse, what was themindset coming in today knowing it's the thirdtime you're going up against UCLA, and their size has been a factor in the previous twogames. But today you guys owned the insideof the paint. Talk about the mindset coming in,or as the game unfolded, what did you see as
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players that allowed you to take advantage of them inside?
SOLOMON HILL: Just watching film. Meand him had a talk that we need to watch his back.Those guys are physically bigger than usheight-wise, but always having his back. Being onthe weak side help if it's a pick-and-roll play.Really just buy into the decoys that they try tothrow at us. Maybe having a guy run up, setting ascreen so they can throw it in.Really just buying in and watching film towork with him. Maybe a switch or two. But whenthe ball goes up, rebounding, blocking out, andmaking sure our guy don't get it. But some of theguards go get it. Fogg's been doing that, going inthere and getting rebounds. But being vocal onthe court led to what we did today.JESSE PERRY: Yeah, that's the mainthing. Rebounding, staying together, and havingan attack mentality. Always when you get a littlebit of opening, attacking. Attacking the glass,attacking the defensive glass and the offense justattacking period. It's opened up a lot of shots for us and our teammate. So that's really what we do.
Q. Oregon State, did you get a favor byknocking off Washington? We have seenteams like them before, just gettingmomentum. Is there anything you you've seenfrom them in the past that can make them amajor threat for tomorrow?
COACH MILLER: Well, I don't think theydid us a favor by beating Washington. I know whatyou mean, because Washington was the favorite.But when you win in March, it's not always the bestteam. It's the team that plays the best, or inparticular, the team that plays the best today in thisgame. Oregon State is very talented.We've only played them once this year, butI know these guys feel the same way from arespect perspective. Their individual players,Jared Cunningham, who could have been the"Player of the Year" in our conference. They havegreat length at the forward spots. They've playeda 1-3-1 zone and they've changed in the past. Soit's tough to get ready for that in one day, althoughwe'll be ready.We feel like playing tomorrow is going tobe a great game. It's going to be a war. If we hadplayed Washington, the same thing.But there's no like, I'm so glad we'replaying this team here. We know that OregonState is capable. I think they've now won three or four in a row. I think four in a row. Their last homestand they played very good basketball. So it'sgoing to be a terrific game.I'm just, like these guys, excited that we'rein the semifinals.KYLE FOGG: Yeah, just to build on whatCoach said, either if we were playing Washingtonor Oregon State, it's going to be a hard game.Both of those teams came here to win thistournament as well as us. I expect it to be a toughgame tomorrow night.SOLOMON HILL: Doesn't matter who youplay. You've got to go out there and really executewhat you want to do and play defensively. I thinkthose guys did a good job of distributing equallyand scoring the ball. There wasn't really a go-toguy, and that can be dangerous. Five guys gettingin double digits over ten. And the way they rebound is a big thing. Ithink they rebound more effectively than UCLA. And those guys are long. You've got to go outthere and shot fake a couple times, get them in theair and try to get them in foul trouble as much aswe can.JESSE PERRY: Yeah, all of us have beenin tournament play really heavy last year. We allknow what it comes down to because we were inthe same position. Whatever team comes ready toplay that night, that is the team that's going to win,no matter what your record is.
Q. Josiah Turner didn't make the trip.How disappointed are you that you made themove to suspend him? And talk about therules that had the switch with his suspension?
COACH MILLER: Well, I'm disappointed.I'm disappointed for Josiah, and hopefully thislatest incident or lesson will really serve him wellmoving forward. But he's one of us. He's part of our program. Everybody here likes him an awfullot. Good people sometimes can make a baddecision or bad decisions, and we're hoping thatthis is a lesson learned on his behalf.In terms of our team, I feel like we've beenvery resilient. Kevin Parrom got shot before weever dribbled one basketball this year. Right whenhe started to hit his stride, he broke his foot. JordinMayes broke his foot. It's not as if we've played aseason full of non-issues. We've had differentplayers suspended, including Josiah.But these guys have stayed together. Andthe three up here on the podium have never diverted from what we've asked them to do.

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