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What Sean Miller said after Arizona’s overtime loss to Oregon

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NCAA Basketball: Arizona at Oregon Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

EUGENE — The Arizona Wildcats blew a six-point lead in the final 1:46 of regulation to force overtime in Matthew Knight Arena, where the Oregon Ducks outlasted them 74-73 on Thursday.

Our full recap can be found here, and below is what Arizona head coach Sean Miller had to say afterwards. All quotes were obtained first-hand.

Miller’s overall takeaway: “It was a great game. I thought our guys played their hearts out, played with lot of effort defensively for just about the entire game. You know, we did a really good job. We were a hard team to score against. Really at the end there’s six to eight plays in that game, and some of them could have been at the end of the first half and beginning of the second half, not talking about six or eight all in a row at the very end, but the loose balls, a 50-50 ball, a defensive rebound, an offensive rebound where the ball’s kind of traveling through our hands, two guys on the floor, and I thought Oregon got more of those plays. And in a game like the one we just played in, that really, in many ways, can decide it. Did we make a lot of great plays? No doubt. Those six to eight rebounds, scrum for the ball, ball’s loose, ball’s at the top of the key, and ball’s around the rim, it’s on the baseline, it just seemed like they were better than us in those plays. And it’s tough because we played with great effort, certainly played well enough to win, but we didn’t.”

On how the freshmen played in their first Pac-12 road game: ”I thought our young guys did a great job. Zeke Nnaji, he came here and got 14 rebounds. First Pac-12 road game, Nico (Mannion) was really terrific and Nico did a very, very good job defensively tonight. To me, I think he gained a lot of confidence playing against Oregon’s guards and being able to do a good job. I thought Josh Green, a lot like he played in our last game, he checked the box in a lot of other ways. And we also had some guys come in the game and do a good job for us. Stone Gettings made a big 3-point shot. And Ira Lee I thought when he came in was really solid for us. So there’s no shame in the way we played. It’s just obviously the objective is to win, and we didn’t.”

On Will Richardson’s go-ahead layup after Josh Green’s go-ahead layup: “Richardson deserves a lot of credit. I mean, you do a good job on their perimeter players and he ended up having a big night. And the biggest baskets of the game, he scored. And the one over Zeke where he was driving with his left hand and I think maybe it was Stone or Zeke who went right up, like vertical. He held on and still scored the ball. But he’s a very good player and Oregon is an excellent team. And to beat them, you have to play well, which we did. But those single plays, You know, the loose balls, defensive rebounds, you gotta get those plays done to come out as a winner.”

On Mannion’s performance (he had 20 points and three assists on 17 shots): “Nico’s an exceptional player and he had a very good game. What I’m most proud about is he did it on both ends. He did it on defense, he did it on offense.”

On Mannion’s last-second shot, a floater over three defenders: “He had a couple in a row, but maybe that was a foul, maybe wasn’t. I obviously saw it. I thought Zeke’s last shot of the game (a jumper that was blocked by Payton Pritchard) didn’t hit the rim. I thought that could have been a foul, but we didn’t get the call.”

On Green’s passing, particularly in transition: “Josh is a fun player to watch. He thrives in transition and one of the things we’re really trying to get him to do is not worry just about his scoring or shooting, but his rebounding on offense and defense, scoring in transition and also being a distributor. Defensively, being able to guard the variety of players that are in the Pac-12. So he’s very good and I thought all three of those guys right there, and Christian Koloko in the role that he’s currently in, I thought he performed really well too.”

On Arizona’s rotation: “We’re only playing guys who are going to help us win the game. If you’re not up to the task, we’ll move on to the next player. We did it when we played St. John’s, and that’s fair when you have a highly competitive environment every day, which we do, and you have a lot of players on the team that can do things and contribute. And we went tonight with the guys that we thought gave us a chance to win and we had a chance to win.”

On Chase Jeter: ”He didn’t get it done”

On if the team’s depth is a bright spot: “Yeah, but in a game like this you need everybody to play well. If we had everybody playing well, maybe we come out on the winning side, but we didn’t have everybody playing well,. We played with great effort and certainly we had a lot of quality plays but I go back to those six to eight plays and in a game like this, there’s so little room for error.”

On what’s next: “Coming out here in the Pac-12, whether we won this game or not, we clearly have to move on and we got to be ready for Sunday. It can’t be a letdown and you gotta be the most ready you can be. Were we ready to play tonight? Of course, I think that was obvious. Did we play really well against a very good team? No doubt we did. For the majority of the game, we did a lot of positive things. But we lost. And the objective of this game is to win. And now I think we have to learn from it, like we did when we’ve lost a few of the other games that we played.”