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March 20, 2011
Arizona – 70
Texas - 69
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by the victorious Arizona Wildcats. Coach, an opening statement, and then questions for our student-athletes.
COACH MILLER: Well, it was a very hard-fought game, and I know there were a couple of tough calls at the end, some that go your way and some that don't. But I like to put the focus on the players and the way the game was played. These guys here to my right played all the way to the last horn, and that's what's required in this tournament.
Every coach, every player has been on both sides of this where you feel like you've won the game and it goes another way, and sometimes it goes your way. Tonight it went our way. But we needed to make big plays at end. Don't let them get the ball inbounds. Execute an underneath, out of bounds play. Get a big stop. We did all three.
I can't tell you how excited we are to be moving to the Sweet 16. It's one thing to be a part of this tournament, but when you have the experience of advancing, it's second to none as a college basketball program, players, coaches, and also like to give Texas credit. They've had a great season.
I know that it's a bad feeling for them, but it was a great game, which it seems like every game in this tournament has been very similar.
Q. If you could just maybe go through the last 15, 20 seconds and the different changes of emotion when you turn and shot and I think you got fouled, then you get the 5-second count. Then you get the foul and make the free throw, just the whole thing there. Just kind of run through it, if you don't mind?
DERRICK WILLIAMS: We ran one of our best plays to get one of our best shooters open. He wasn't open at the time, so he called for a ball screen. I set the ball screen, and I hesitated for a second and he was looking right at me so I can roll. So I finally rolled. When I shot the ball, I was looking down so I could catch myself from a hard fall. I was surprised it went in, actually. I didn't know it went in until MoMo picked me up.
Q. On that five-second call, what were your emotions there? Did you think they got the timeout in time? What kind of went on?
DERRICK WILLIAMS: When it's late in the game, we want to switch every ball screen like that or every pick or any kind of screen like that. And that's what we did. I switched on a smaller guard. I think it was Cory Joseph. You couldn't inbound the ball to him. Fogg took care of my man as well. And I guess it was five seconds. I don't know if it's controversial or not, but we got the call.
Q. What is the addition of Jesse Perry to the team meant this year?
DERRICK WILLIAMS: He's meant a lot to our team, rebounding, he can hit open shot. Just brings aggressive play every night. That's when we first came in, and that's how he plays. He's going on to get the rebounds. He's going to do the dirty work for our team. I'm glad we have him on our team because we couldn't be where we are today if we wouldn't have him as well as Jordin Mayes right here.
Beside that's lay-up he missed today, I don't think he's missed a shot in the last two games. So if we didn't have him either, I don't know where we'd be. I know we wouldn't be in the tournament.
Q. Was J'Covan Brown on the scouting report? If so, what was discussed about him and said about him?
JORDIN MAYES: We knew that his last game he was very aggressive in playing. So we just wanted to control him on the defensive end and try to get some stops on him.
Q. How do you explain your ability to close out games whether it's offense or defense? Are you amazed by any of this yourself?
DERRICK WILLIAMS: A little bit. I'm not surprised by the block against Memphis, but I am a little surprised by the shot I made today. I haven't seen the replay yet, but I wasn't looking at the basket. I was looking down, so I wouldn't have a hard fall. Surprised it went in, but at the same time I'm glad it went in.
You know, my teammates look for me at the end of the games to seal the victory. That's what I do. If we would have lost the game, I would have taken it really hard on my self knowing that I didn't have a great game. A lot of people on my team feed off of me. I'm glad everybody picked me up. It was one of the only games this season where my teammates picked me up, especially Solomon. He had a lot of post moves and a lot of NBA post moves, put backs, rebounds. I think he was the second leading rebounder on our team.
So if we didn't have him playing aggressive and hard tonight, we would have lost this game.
Q. You said earlier that Arizona's back. What does this win kind of do to reflect on that?
SOLOMON HILL: Not too many people had us winning this game. I thought as a team if we pulled together and everybody came through with our deep rotation of ten men, you could see it wore them out. They had to really rely on Brown during the game. He made the plays when they called on him. But I thought our rotation really got into him.
Jordin was able to come off the bench and contribute, and so was Brendon Lavender. People don't understand how we play. We have ten guys in the game, and we can get the ball up the floor and execute. Even on our defensive end, we clamped down on defense in the first half, and we kind of let it go in the second half.
Q. Can you talk about just getting out of Tulsa with two victories, and with the way they both came? They both came with possessions that came down to the wire.
DERRICK WILLIAMS: Whenever you have a 5 seed and there's always a good team that's going to be a 12 seed, so a lot of people didn't have us winning the Memphis game. They had a lot of fans there, and I'm glad we won that game.
Today everybody had us losing. And we all took that to heart. You always want to be -- you never want to be the underdog, but today we were the underdog, and we wanted to prove that we could beat anybody. We have more games to win. Two down, four more to go. That's all I can say about that.
Q. As a freshman, have you ever shot the ball with more confidence? If so, why in this setting?
JORDIN MAYES: All season I thought I shot the ball with confidence. Coming into today, I wanted to add on to that and be aggressive. We've got to give credit to our coaching and passing game that allows us to move and screen. So it opened up a lot for the other players on the team.
Q. Could you just talk about what the team went through after the shootings? You had a delay, cancellation of the game to the next day. Now maybe some good news for Tucson.
DERRICK WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm glad we got these two victories in Tulsa. I think it's going to be a reunion for all three of us right here, going home and playing in Anaheim. Everybody's going to be at the game that we know, family, friends, people that know other people that know us, so we're going to have a lot of fans there. It will be like a home game for us.
Hopefully we don't disappoint. We all want to play it good, and against one of the greatest programs in college basketball. Everybody wants to beat Duke when they're younger, and hopefully we can do that.
Q. Can you talk about the part of the game where you were kind of struggling at the foul line? What were you thinking during that period of time? Just hang in there?
DERRICK WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just go back to the USC game where I think that was the only time I had less than ten points and I struggled from the field. Whether it be threes or just finishing at the basket. I didn't want to go back to that game. I worked hard through the Pac-10 Tournament, just focusing on defense if my offense wasn't there.
That's what I did all last season when my offense wasn't there, I would just shut down on defense. And this season I wanted to make up a lot for it on the defensive side if my offense wasn't there.
Just people coming up to me and saying you're good, just keep fighting, just keep getting rebounds if you're not scoring. That really gives me confidence that my teammates have my back.
Q. You said yesterday if Jordin was guarding you, you'd be at the foul line all game long, and lo and behold, he's the guy that fouled you on that last shot. What is your comment on that?
DERRICK WILLIAMS: I really don't have anything to say about that. My teammates just put me in the right spot at the right time. We set a lot of pick-and-rolls, and the other teams sit help-side, so I'm not open to the opposite side it will be wide open like Jordan did today. A lot of people tried to focus on me and shut me down, that's why my teammates are here for me.
They're going to make wide open shots if they're wide open. That's what we do in practice, and if you want to shut me down, my teammates are going to step up and score.
Q. The other day after the game against Memphis, you had the blocked shot, and we asked you what your philosophy was on that last play. You said you don't expect the refs to make the call so you're going to go aggressive. Can you describe the last play with Brown coming into the lane and that kind of thing? And did you guys have the same philosophy going?
DERRICK WILLIAMS: Yeah, you always want to make a hard play on the ball at the last second. You never want to foul, and I think that's what happened in the Pitt game. I think we really learned a lot from that game, not fouling on the last-second shot.
I don't know if he fouled him or not -- I don't know if anybody tipped it, but Solomon was right there for the offensive rebound to try to get it from him. I think Gary got the rebound, so Solomon was right there to get the next block shot.
So when we have help, you have to help the helper when one person blocks it, so that's what we did today.
Q. The role that you've asked Jesse Perry to play this year, how important has that been in the development of the team?
COACH MILLER: It's been very important. You know, Jesse knows his role, does it extremely well. He's a rebounder at both ends, and although he's somewhat undersized at times, he's more skilled than you realize. He can put the ball on the floor. I feel like he complements Derrick on offense very well. Most importantly, he's just a great kid who cares a lot about winning and adding both Jordin Mayes and Jesse Perry to our team has really allowed us to be a lot better this year.
Q. After the play underneath where Derrick Williams shot and missed and the ball went out of bounds or it was rebounded by Hamilton. You were really mad. You thought he got fouled there. You talked to the referee underneath and said that was a foul. That was the guy that then called the 5-second call. Do you think there's any chance he felt like he owed you a call at that point?
COACH MILLER: No, you know, it's just so hard. There are just so many big calls. The tournament is such a huge stage. I know that everyone points towards those calls of determining the outcome. As a coach and as a player in this tournament, you've been on both sides of the coin. You just have to play to the final buzzer, and that's what we were trying to do.
Couple things that we did do well though, we really did a good job of not allowing them to get the ball inbounds during that situation. We executed the next play to get a good shot ourselves on our own underneath out of bounds play. To me, we were very aggressive defensively on the last play of the game, which sometimes is hard to do.
That's all you can ask. If that game goes the other way, then credit Texas. But the one thing we wanted to do in this game is not allow Texas' size and physicality be the reason we lost. If you look at the rebounding it's 33-32, we did a great job in that area. We didn't want to turn the ball over. Sometimes we can do that. We played the whole game with 12 turnovers. We really wanted to trap Tristan Thompson in the post because he's such a difference maker.
When you look at those three areas, that's my focus, that's our focus. I thought we did a good job there. And we did it against a great team. Those calls in these games can go so many different ways at the end.
Just like the other night in the Memphis game I'm watching the free throw, and the free-throw shooter may have crossed the line before the ball hit the rim. It's just we can keep going on endlessly about the officials.
But they did a great job in this game as they do in this tournament. It's well-officiated, and sometimes that final call is the focus. I'd like to keep the focus on some things that we did well as a team that gave us the chance to win.
I know it's not very fun to be on the opposite side, but we're fortunate, and I know that. We look forward to moving on.
Q. You had some standout wins at Xavier. Does this one top the list of your coaching career?
COACH MILLER: I don't know. The way the game finished and just the turn of emotions you really focus on this. But any time you can win in a tournament, it's just magical. You feel so good for your seniors, you feel so good for your own players. In our case at Arizona, you feel really good for our fans and our former players, Coach Olson, because so many great things have been established here, and we're just trying to continue it.
From that perspective, I know this: It was the best win of our season, being that we are now moving to the Sweet 16.
Q. You discussed J'Covan being aggressive in his last game. What do you think about his driving to the basket and the fouls he drew and the contact he drew?
COACH MILLER: He's a heck of an offensive player. Jordan Hamilton's 1A, and Brown is 1B, and watching him in the last game scoring 21 points, when he enters the game you have fire power on both sides, and Texas did a good job of putting him in position to use a lot of ball screens. The way we chose to play our ball screen defense, sometime it's can wear you out as the defensive team.
But we wanted to stick with our guns by jumping out on the ball screen. We felt like it would help us guard Tristan Thompson in the post as opposed to letting that dribbler continue to get inside the key.
But Brown is a heck of a player, and he played a great game tonight. We didn't have an answer for him for 4 or 6 minutes in the second half. I think he might have gotten five or six straight foul that's row, which is to his credit.
Q. A lot of times coaches say they count on their seniors in late-game, clutch situations. But this is a young team of sophomores and juniors, couple freshmen. How are they able to go through and just really get that job done in those last seconds?
COACH MILLER: Well, we have an interesting group because a year ago the five freshmen who are now five sophomores played a lot. Sometimes a year ago they weren't ready to be successful in the roles that they had, but it's that experience a year ago and then coupled with the fact that they have more experience as sophomores, that gives our team the experience factor in a positive way. Even though they're not in their third or fourth year, they've played a lot of basketball.
That is the thing about college basketball and the way it's changed. Sometimes a sophomore who has played a lot in his first two years is almost like a senior. On the last play you have Kyle Fogg as a junior who has played a lot of minutes now, passing to Derrick Williams. Both, I would say, would be very experienced.
But we have a very coachable group. We probably don't get enough credit because of Derrick's great season that he's had of a lot of different players contributing. You look at Jordin Mayes, he missed one shot this weekend as a freshman. Brendon Lavender came in and made two big threes. Solomon Hill played the best game that he's played at Arizona, both defensively, offensively, rebounding.
There were many times that Solomon's play tonight was the reason we continued to stay in the game or keep our lead. So we are pretty diverse in terms of getting contributions from a lot of players, and we've played those players now 36 games we've played ten players. In a tournament like this, to me, we had some poise when they came into the game, and it was great to see.
Q. Can you update us on Kevin Parrom? Was that a sprain?
COACH MILLER: Kevin Parrom suffered an ankle sprain. We won't know his availability in the next round until we have an opportunity to get through the next day or two, but to me it's an ankle sprain that could potentially limit his role.
That is the other thing in tonight's game. If you rally followed our team, Kevin Parrom is one of our best players. We weren't able to get him in the game past the first couple minutes of the second half because his ankle really tightened up.
So playing him only 15 minutes, once again, a lot of different players stepped up. We played a little differently this game than we have because of his injury. Hopefully he'll get better and be available on Thursday.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports