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March 13, 2019

Sean Miller

Ira Lee

Brandon Williams

Las Vegas, Nevada

USC - 78, Arizona - 65

SEAN MILLER: So first of all, USC, I thought they did an outstanding job in the second half. They're very, very talented inside with Bennie Boatwright and Rakocevic. Those two guys complement each other well. It's a heck of a one-two punch for anybody that plays them.

The fact that we were tied at the half, we struggled to score the first ten minutes of the second half, that speaks for itself, and dug ourselves a hole. Obviously they were the much better team, in particular in the second half.

I'm incredibly proud of the team that we have right now at Arizona, the one that our season just ended. Guys like Ira and Brandon, you know, it's not easy to play through a lot of adversity and obstacles. And that adversity and those obstacles came in a lot of different forms.

I've never questioned the togetherness of this group. I've never questioned the effort. Sometimes you try to get them to play as hard as they possibly can, because we don't have that room for error, if we don't. But we ended about where I thought we would. 17 and 15, you're hoping maybe for a couple more. And if we were healthier, maybe that would have came.

But we were 4-11 down the stretch. We were much better earlier in the year. And that happens over time. The depth of your team is always challenged in college basketball, and that was our Achilles' heel.

Any bad play, we go through stretches where we don't make shots, an injury to Brandon or Chase, it really derailed us. We weren't really able ever at any point in the season to overcome that.

But in terms of these guys' intentions, showing up every day and the 90-plus practices and trying to do the best that they could, at the end that's really what you judge yourself on. And in a lot of ways these guys and our team this year did that.

Q. Sean, I know you clarified your comments earlier this week, but do you feel like this could possibly be your last game at Arizona?
SEAN MILLER: No, and I'm not going to comment on that.

Q. What sort of conversations have you had with administrators about the future?
SEAN MILLER: I'm not going to comment on that.

Q. USC seemed very actively defensively. For the players, how did that disrupt what you were trying to do, them getting in the passing lanes and contesting everything?
IRA LEE: I mean, they were playing hard, especially in the second half. We made a bunch of pointless turnovers. But they were playing really hard, and when you do that, you disrupt a lot of things.

BRANDON WILLIAMS: I give USC a lot of credit. They have great talent. They're coached very well. But at the end of the day, they played hard. They're a more physical team. And we've just got to be ready next time.

Q. You said you ended about where you thought you would. Did you have that feeling November, October, or when did it come upon you?
SEAN MILLER: You know, when you're going through the season, you really take the next day as the only thing that matters. The practice that you're in is the only thing that means anything. The word "process" is used a lot in sports, but it's true.

If you continually react to a game, a bad play, you know, you're not able to have a consistent environment. Like I said, establishing our level of play as far back as Maui, I thought we were in a very challenging environment, a difficult field, and survived with good play and a big win over Iowa State.

You judge us on our non-conference season, 9-4, maybe a game at Alabama could have gone either way, but we also won a couple that could have gone either way.

The Pac-12, as the Pac-12 season presented itself and wore on, you know, it's just death by inches. The deepest teams, the most experienced teams, the more physical teams, they can overcome the obstacles that they're hit with.

And I thought in particular this year losing Brandon for the duration that he missed, and Chase kind of going in and out, I'm not saying that we were going to be great, but our room for error was so slight that it really stole our confidence to some degree and didn't allow us to be maybe the best overall team that we could have been.

Again, if you go back as far as April or March of last year, I think we all kind of looked at it and said we'll see who we have, and thank goodness all the guys returned and someone like Brandon joined us late.

And I think with what we did in the spring really gave us a chance. And you can only judge your team on their togetherness, their effort and what you see out of them every day.

And I don't know if I've ever sounded different, and I won't now. In many ways we did the very, very best that we could.

Q. You are both great basketball players, have played on a lot of great teams. Uncharacteristic struggles for Arizona. Interesting for you guys, because you haven't experienced that many struggles in your basketball careers. What did you each learn about yourselves as individuals, and what do you learn about the Arizona basketball program?
BRANDON WILLIAMS: I learned a lot. Being a freshman, I get to experience it firsthand. Like Coach said, our room for error was so tiny, we couldn't make careless turnovers. I think individually and as a team we can learn from this and move on.

IRA LEE: To piggyback off of what Brandon said, it was a year of adversity, but it's how you respond to the situation. Definitely it was a rough year, but all that matters now is how we work in the offseason to make things better next season.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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