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March 10, 2011

Sean Miller

Kevin Parrom

Derrick Williams



THE MODERATOR: Opening statement from Coach Miller then questions for the student-athletes.
COACH MILLER: Well, these two guys to my right were very responsible for our win tonight. Derrick was outstanding. The way he shoots the ball from three sometimes, I think, surprises all of us. To make 5 of 6 tonight, every one of them seemed to be timely.
Kevin didn't play particularly well in the first half. We talked to him at halftime. You could make the case he was the difference in the second half. He was terrific.
We came out of the gates in the beginning of the second half and made those three threes, I think it was in a row. To me that was the separation that we really never relinquished. We weren't perfect. We were sloppy at times. Thought we had a couple of guys that didn't play as well as they were capable.
In March it's about if you win or lose, if you lose, you're gone, if you win you have a chance to play for another day. I think we all know we're in for a difficult challenge against a very good USC team tomorrow.

Q. From what you saw or you heard, what led up to the incident with Burton there?
KEVIN PARROM: I was just being physical. From what I remember, he just hit me. So I just fell and got back up and, you know, nothing.

Q. Can you talk about that match-up tomorrow against USC? Obviously, you know they've beaten you once, so why are they much better right now?
COACH MILLER: Well, it's funny because you look at other games at this time of year, and when a certain team loses, you constantly hear like the great parity, and the great competition that exists, and anybody can beat anybody on a different night.
Part of what I look back to our last loss against USC and a lot of people started to shoot at us almost like Arizona's not that good or what's wrong with Arizona. To me it's that USC is a very good team. When you look at their first ten games of the year, they played without one of their best players, Jio Fontan.
You look at how much better they played lately, they came off a Bay Area sweep, an Arizona sweep. They lost a heartbreaker at Washington State. They beat Washington at Washington, and now they played the way they played today.
I look at them as one of the top 35 teams in the country. For them to have an opportunity to be in the NCAA Tournament, I firmly expect them to be in the tournament. So with that being said, we're playing a very quality team tomorrow, and we have to be at our best to beat them on a neutral court.
They're a great defensive team, and Vucevic is one of the premier players in the country. And these two guys would echo my sentiments that we respect SC a great deal.

Q. Get a thought from Derrick on the match-up against the Trojans?
DERRICK WILLIAMS: They're a great team, the same team that played Kansas tough at Kansas. The same team that beat Texas by 20 at home. You know, they're a great team. They have a good front court, and they have a great back court as well.
It's up to us. It's like a home game for them. They play right down the street, so we have to match their intensity and hopefully we can.

Q. You're winning a lot of basketball games, but your opponents continue to shoot at a really high level. What is your comfort level right now with your defense?
COACH MILLER: Not very comfortable. I mean, we're not a big team. We don't have a lot of room for error. So our concentration and effort always have to be at the highest level. I also tell you, we're 26-6 for a reason. If we would have played defense like we recently have the entire season, we wouldn't have that record.
It's up to us as a team. It's up to guys like these two guys to have that effort level and concentration level ratcheted up across the board. I thought at times tonight we had it, at times we didn't.
If you look at the second half, I think we were a better defensive team in the second half than we were in the first. We can certainly do it, but that's where we're going to be at our best. If we can put team defense and effort and concentration together with the way we're capable of playing offense, I think that's when you're playing against the very best Arizona team you can play against.

Q. There are lots of really known shooters who have trouble in big gyms or the first game you played with a different back drop. Did it look any different to you today? How were you able to come out and shoot so well from three?
DERRICK WILLIAMS: It's just a confidence thing. Every time I make my first one, most of the time I make my second one. So that's what I was just feeling throughout the game.
I hit big shots when we needed it, and that's basically it. Just my teammates finding me, just trying to break the game open, and I just took good shots.

Q. Do you feel as comfortable shooting the three now as you have all year?
DERRICK WILLIAMS: Yeah, it started from the first game. I feel as comfortable as I did in the beginning. I went into a little slump a couple games ago, actually against USC. I think I missed all three of my threes. It's just a confidence thing.

Q. As you mentioned, you had 8 points against USC and struggled a bit. What adjustments do you expect to make before this game?
COACH MILLER: He also had 31. Keep that in mind. We played them twice. That was a good point I made.

Q. Very good point.
DERRICK WILLIAMS: I'm bound to have one bad game in a season, and I think that was my bad game. Not everybody's going to play perfect. That was that game, and I'm over that game, especially after that game at UCLA, as well.
I'm over those two games. As you can tell tonight, I'm going to keep shoot going I'm open. Whatever's a good shot is a good shot. I think that's what our team feeds off of. We don't want to take bad shots. So if I'm open, I'm going to shoot it. That night I just missed.

Q. Can you comment after reviewing the tape of those two games against the Trojan what specifically you'll look to improve on in your performance when you game plan for that game tomorrow?
COACH MILLER: Well, like I said, Vucevic and Stepheson are very unique. Very seldom do you have two players that play that much together, that size physically. They seem to have really gotten into a rhythm on offense where they find each other.
Defensively they're just so big that the game's different around the basket. Their coach does an excellent job of putting them in position defensively to really change the game. They're one of the best defensive teams that plays college basketball. I just think recently they've hit a rhythm also on offense.
I don't have all the answers right now. I do think that we have to be smart. There are some things that we have to do to put Derrick in a good position; and I also think that we have to do a good job of putting our team in a position on defense so that you don't lose the same way.
But that's easier said than done. We have a quick turn around here. I think we're all looking forward to the challenge, because it should be a really good basketball game.

Q. If you can touch on two subjects regarding Kevin Parrom and Solomon Hill. The value that they bring to your team in terms of rebounding the ball and actually leading the break with the dribble, as well as when you're facing a trapping defense like OSU to have someone like Kevin or Solomon out high in the offense to see atop things?
COACH MILLER: You're right. I thought Solomon Hill and Kevin in the second half helped our team move the ball. Those guys are very versatile. They don't do necessarily do one thing great, but they do four or five things very well. We depend on their passing and their ball handling, and their offensive and defensive rebounding.
Those two guys have come a long way since their freshman year, and here we are at the end of their sophomore year, and Derrick included, their growth as players has helped us be a good team.

Q. Can you just talk about coming into this tournament as a No. 1 seed? This is a different spot than you guys were in last year. But how you handle that as a team?
DERRICK WILLIAMS: Basically we have an off day, and that's just more time to recover, watch other teams and to see what they do. I think it's good for us. We have one less day of a 40-minute game. And whenever you have that, you have the advantage. That's what we didn't have last year. So this year having the No. 1 seed, we're one step closer to the Pac 10 Championship.

Q. USC, the last game against them was a struggle, but there was more to it than that. There were some comments before about kind of being protected, and then after the game you made the point that you felt like the refs kind of listened to him. Does that play in your head at all?
COACH MILLER: I'll answer that question. Tomorrow's game is about USC and Arizona. Players on both sides that are outstanding, and a game that means a lot to get to the championship. No one here's going to answer to the question about the officials or something that was said. I think that period of time's over.
If you've listened to our comments, I think it's very easy to distinguish how much respect we have for USC. And that's it. We're going to the game to play hard. It's a big challenge. Whether we beat USC or not, I hope USC is a part of the NCAA Tournament, because I really believe they deserve to be there.

Q. Did you see Kevin getting knocked over as a turning point in that game? You guys scored the next eight points and that pretty much put it away?
COACH MILLER: I thought Kevin handled himself with a lot of poise. That's not always an easy situation to handle. I think he made one of his two free throws and our team rallied around that.
The turning point to me was coming out at halftime and making the threes that we did, and establishing the double digit lead.

Q. About the first half, Cunningham was coming out and getting a lot of steals and turnovers and they've always done that against you. What was anything different that they were doing defensively that you had to kind of get away from?
DERRICK WILLIAMS: I'm not sure if they are now, but at one point in time they were the No. 1 team in the nation in steals, so that's what they look to do. They trap the ball. They get you in the corners, and they trap the ball and make you throw laxadazical skip passes. I caught myself doing that, as well as my teammates.
So that's what they do. That's what they do the best. I capitalized today. I think he had 19 points at halftime, just slowing him down and not getting trapped in the corners, I think that's what we did in the second half, and that's what pushed the lead open.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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