CORVALLIS — The Arizona Wildcats were blown out by the Oregon State Beavers 82-65 on Sunday, their first time being swept on the road by the Oregon schools since 2006.
The Beavers shot 54 percent from the field for the game and 65 percent in the second half as they outscored the Wildcats 51-34 in the final 20 minutes. Arizona drops to 11-5 overall and 1-2 in the Pac-12.
Our recap can be found here, and below is what Sean Miller said afterwards. The quotes were compiled from his postgame radio shows and his chat with reporters at Gill Coliseum.
Miller’s overall take: “They really just outclassed us. We didn’t have the ability to guard their offense. Their offense is slow and deliberate, and they really run it through Tres Tinkle and Ethan Thompson. But we really struggled across the board. Alfred Hollins, we had a hard time guarding him, and they put 82 points on the board. It’s a little bit deceiving because in the second half, they were 17 of 26 from the field, 4 for 10 from 3, 13 for 15 from the free throw line. And for the game they had 21 assists and 10 turnovers. They were the far superior team, and we just had so many individuals that were unable to defend them. And the game starts going and you get behind, we mixed in zone a couple of times, but at that point the game was over.”
On the challenges defending Oregon State: “They run a set play almost every time down. The first 10 or 15 seconds is just really kind of motion, making sure that they are deliberate. And then they put the ball in one or two players’ hands, and no matter what action they ran in the second half, we weren’t able to match up. We just couldn’t keep them in front. We had breakdowns, and our concentration and our fight, especially in the second half, I thought the first four minutes of the game, we weren’t ready to play. And really they probably, maybe from about the 15 minute mark on, really had their way. I would say the game really got out of hand in the last 12 minutes. Their ability to really just score the ball and get great shots against our defense wore us out.”
On the freshmen handling their first Pac-12 road trip: “They will get better. It’s just we’re asking those three guys to do an awful lot. We really are. They have to be on every game, and they have to guard players like Tres Tinkle and Ethan Thompson, Payton Pritchard. And there’s more on our schedule. We’re going to catch a number of them this week. It’s a heck of a challenge for guys that are freshmen and it’s not just them, it’s our team. But no, I agree. I think the one player tonight who really had a good solid game, at least rebounding the ball and scoring, was Zeke (Nnaji). And I don’t know if he played up to his capability on defense. I don’t know if we had anybody really do that, but it’s hard to argue 21 points and nine rebounds.
“And if you look at the stat sheet, the next closest player on our team had three. And I think Josh Green got one or two of those in the last two or three minutes. At halftime, we had three players who had a single rebound or more. Three. I’ve never seen that. We played 10 players in the first half, and we had three guys getting rebounds. So, rebounding right now is a real problem, it’s something we’re trying to solve but as you can see we’re having a hard time.”
On the offensive struggles (Arizona shot 35 percent in the second half): “Defense and offense are connected. We may not have gotten shots, I thought sometimes we got pretty good shots, but rebounding is so hard for our team. I mean, I haven’t seen a stat sheet I don’t think ever where we played 10 players in the first half, and we only had three guys get a rebound. That’s mind-blowing.
“In the second half, we did a better job early on but just our ability to get second shots when we miss, and being able to get defensive rebounds, it’s really hard for us. It’s been hard from day one and now that we’re in conference play, it’s a big, big deal. The other night against Oregon, you can make the argument that it cost us. Against Arizona State we did a very good job in that area and tonight I don’t know if we rebounded as we did the other night against Oregon. And it’s deceiving because it’s 31-28 but you gotta go through the percentages and I think you’ll see.”
On if Ira Lee did something to get fall out of the rotation: “No, we’re trying to find ourselves. One thing about Oregon State, they play Tres Tinkle at the 4, they’re small. So they have him and then they have three guards, so you have to either be able to take advantage of that inside and rebounding, and if you can’t then you try to match up with them. And I think in many ways tonight we were caught in between.”
Miller on his technical foul in the second half: “I thought Nico (Mannion) got fouled and they disagreed.”
On hosting Utah and Colorado next weekend: “We have to be able to bounce back and be ready to play.”