It is spring break and the Arizona Wildcats have a week between games, but they don’t plan on taking it easy.
“We’re going all the way through,” Sean Miller said when asked if the team will take any days off before Saturday’s regular-season finale against Arizona State.
That includes freshman guard Brandon Williams, even though he is still working his way back from knee pain that caused him to miss six games from Jan. 31 to Feb. 21.
“Brandon is full go,” Miller said.
Miller said Williams will no longer be on a minute restriction as the Wildcats enter the final stretch of the season, since he has “responded really well” to the increased playing time he received in Oregon last weekend.
After playing 18 minutes against Stanford on Feb. 24, Williams played 20 minutes in the win at Oregon State and 21 in the loss to Oregon — and he would have played more against the Ducks but he was in foul trouble and the game got out of hand in the second half.
“It made no sense to play him down the homestretch of that game in his situation,” Miller said.
Williams, arguably Arizona’s best scorer and distributor, has steadily improved since returning against Stanford. He scored four points in that game, then 10 against Oregon State, then 12 against Oregon on just six shots.
Williams did not play when the Wildcats lost to ASU the first time around, so having him at full strength is a big boost. The bad news is Arizona could be without a different key player in center Chase Jeter, who only played six minutes off the bench against Oregon due to a bone bruise on his right knee that he suffered Thursday against Oregon State.
Jeter was pulled from the Oregon game because he could not run without a limp, Miller said. Jeter did not practice Monday and his status for the ASU game is unclear.
The Wildcats have struggled anytime they have been without Jeter this season, including a trio of blowout losses to UCLA, USC and Oregon.
“We’ve been there before,” Miller said. “It hurts us especially against talented frontcourt players and in the depth that Oregon, UCLA, USC have along the front line. We struggled to score from 2, struggled to score at the basket and eventually that does us in.”