The Wildcats fall to 19-9 overall and 9-6 in the Pac-12, all but eliminating them from the Pac-conference championship race. It is worth noting that they were without Josh Green (back) and Max Hazzard (personal reasons).
Our full recap can be found here, and below is what a dejected Sean Miller had to say afterwards on his postgame radio interview.
On the game: ”Playing without Josh and Max, I mean we’re down to just a couple guards and I thought we wore down as the game went on. The guards who played, obviously they played their hearts out, but we had a another historic tough night shooting the ball. At the beginning of the game, USC elected to double team Zeke (Nnaji) on low-post catches and really not rotate. So that’s kind of like anytime the ball’s thrown in, just leave your man, double team and let’s see if they can make it. But at the end of the day, we were 3 for 26 (from 3), and clearly we took a couple tough ones.”
On trying to get the ball to Nnaji: “We kind of ran a set there for most of the second half that really featured Zeke rolling and I thought we had him in a good way, the ball moving, and that right there would have been our best bet. But you have to be able to get the ball in and I thought we took a couple ill-advised shots instead of being able to get the ball in. And sometimes the player doesn’t do it on purpose, he’s just not a good passer, and again when you’re running out of perimeter players like we were, in all fairness to our guys I think they did the best that they could. We hung in and I think when we had it to one or two possessions, we weren’t able to answer the bell offensively. You’re not gonna win when you shoot 28 percent, 11 percent from 3 and have 15 turnovers. For the most part, 25, 30 minutes, our defense was clearly good enough to win the game, we just didn’t have any offense.”
On the absence of Green and Hazzard: “Yeah, I mean Josh is an important player for our team and he’s been a very consistent player in terms of the minutes that he plays. And also what you find is your depth goes away. It’s not just missing him, it’s that everybody’s affected. Your bench is shorter, you can’t sustain that effort level, make athletic plays at the rim or in transition, we certainly missed that. And then we missed Max Hazzard as well. When you talk about shooting the ball, if he’s not our best shooter, he’s one of them and it would have been nice to be able to see him shoot the ball. But that’s the way it works during a college basketball season and there’s a lot of guys who wanted a bigger opportunity tonight, a number of those guys did (get one), but we weren’t able to deliver offensively.”
On USC’s defense: “They’re very good on defense, they’re a better defensive team than an offensive team. But I will tell you that tonight we contributed to our offensive woes. When you’re playing a different lineup, you’re going on the road, it’s late in the year, there’s a lot at stake in these games, we needed to have a very good shooting night and we had a poor night.”