Found December 07, 2011 on Fox Sports Arizona:
Just a month ago it appeared Arizona had one of the more talented and deep teams around. Young, but deep. It goes to show you what can happen in a blink or a bad decision or two. Clearly, the Wildcats will be a sum of their parts. And every part will be needed. Wednesday night's 78-72 overtime loss to No. 12 Florida showed it, as Arizona played well enough to beat the Gators but didn't. "There's no such thing as a moral victory," said Arizona coach Sean Miller on his post-game radio show. "We're a program that's about one thing and that's winning. "But the process that we are in, and some of the things (that have happened) early in the season and in November and December that we've endured . . . tonight in many ways was a remarkable effort for many guys who played in the game. We asked a number of guys to do things they haven't done a lot of, and at times, we executed. Our lack of size and a little depth (might have been the difference)." Miller pointed to two late-game rebounds Arizona wasn't able to get in overtime. Arizona was out-rebounded 40-31 overall and 17-7 on offensive rebounds. It led to 19 second-chance points for Florida. Clearly, Arizona's smallish lineup eventually took its toll. "The second shots overwhelmed our ability to win," Miller said. And, it's very likely Arizona could have used the services of suspended guard Josiah Turner, a capable freshman who can handle and control the tempo. But Turner didn't make the trip after being suspended the day before for "violation of team policy." It's not clear when he will return. Earlier this week, freshman Sidiki Johnson was dismissed from the team. Turner's absence it left fellow freshman Nick Johnson to run the point guard position for the first time. Although he did an admirable job, he was overworked, fouling out with 1:23 left. "Some of (the problems) was the element of them wearing us down," Miller said. "You have Nick playing point guard and it's a little bit of a different feel for him. I thought he did a remarkable job in tough circumstances." Junior Solomon Hill, who finished with five points, 7.4 fewer than his average, also fouled out. Kyle Fogg, who finished with 19 points, also fouled out after playing 40 minutes. Kyryl Natyazhko, who began the season as the starting center, played but two minutes. And senior Jesse Perry, who led Arizona with 23 points, played the final few minutes with apparent leg cramps and "that really hurt us," Miller said. "He was very effective on offense. He lost his effectiveness defensively (because of that)." Despite all the trouble, Arizona still had a chance. For 33 minutes, it looked like the Wildcats would go across the country and get an NCAA Tournament worthy, resume-building win. It also would have been the first victory against a top 25 team for the Pac-12 Conference. Instead, the conference is 0-9 against top 25 teams. Arizona is 6-3 overall. "I'm proud of our team," Miller said. "We gave great effort in a very difficult place to play. When you have a chance to win and you don't, it always hurts. How hard we played and how together we played was really great (to see)." Arizona ran out of gas. Up 57-50 with 7:31 left in the game, Arizona couldn't hold the lead, despite Florida missing free throws and throwing the ball away. It caught a break in regulation with just under four seconds left when Hill was fouled on an inbound play. The referee ruled Hill was attempting to shoot the ball and gave him three free throws. Hill hit all three to send it into overtime at 66-66. The extra five minutes didn't help the Cats, who lacked depth and any attack in the overtime. "With a couple more rebounds and little bit more poise down the stretch, we could have certainly left with the same feeling we have about our effort," Miller said. "It could have been a huge road win. I don't look at it as a blowing this game. We had to earn with hard effort to give ourselves a chance. For that, I leave here, as we all do, with our heads held high." Among the bright spots was the play of junior Kevin Parrom, who got his first start of the season. He played his best game of the year, finishing with 13 points, 11 in the first half. Parrom had been struggling since returning to the court Nov. 13 after being shot in the knee and hand on Sept. 24 in New York. "I don't think he is anywhere near where he will be," Miller said. "We had 13 points, five rebounds and five assists in 32 minutes. He did more in tonight's game than he has in eight leading up to this. It's a good sign for us."
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