Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 1/14/12
TUCSON Arizona coach Sean Miller admitted he's a bit frustrated with his team. And why not? It's inconsistent and stuttering. And it continues to struggle with first half fits or lapses. "I spent about an hour and a half (on Saturday afternoon during the game) motivating, begging, pleading, yelling, screaming, subbing and it's a shame that didn't come (to work) from within (his players)," Miller said. The result: UA fell 59-57 to the Oregon Ducks in McKale Center on Saturday afternoon. Arizona did have two shots at a win or a tie. UA's Brendon Lavender, arguably the hottest shooter in the Pac-12 Conference the last couple of weeks, missed a 3-pointer with about five seconds left. Senior Kyle Fogg found the rebound, only to miss about a 10-footer at the buzzer. "I feel good that he had a pretty good look from three to win the game," Miller said. "And (there was) a nice pull-up by Kyle." Arizona came up empty. Miller added that the lessons-learned process for Arizona is long gone. Moral victories and tough losses don't apply anymore. Nothing will be gained from Arizona's loss to Oregon. Not when his team played for only about half of it at full speed and with productive thought. "I think it says a lot about our team and our leadership and where we are," Miller said. "We didn't get the job done." To put it mildly, Miller said "we have some challenges." The first one again continues to be getting through the first half with some grit and guts. Arizona consistently hasn't had either in many games, and against Oregon the first 20 minutes proved to be too much to overcome, although UA was able to take its first lead with 2:59 left at 55-54. And although Miller commended his team for the late-game rally, he was disheartened by its overall effort. "I'm very disappointed in our team," Miller said. "We're not a very talented Arizona team. We're certainly not the biggest Arizona team but what we can control is collective effort. And for 20 minutes, we picked and (chose) how hard we were going to play." He said the game was too "physical for us." He used the term "men against boys" when it came to the rebounding effort in the first 20 or so minutes. UO held 16-11 advantage in rebounding in the first 20 minutes and had UA turning over the ball 10 times. He said the team was "15 percent at best" when it came to concentration. It resulted in being down 34-22 at halftime. The 22 points were one more than the season-low for a half. That came against Gonzaga (yes, a loss). "Sucks," said Solomon Hill of the loss. "The first half play was the reason why we lost." Arizona fell to 12-6 overall and 3-2 in the Pac-12 Conference. It's the second loss at home this season after having a 22-game home-court winning streak to begin the season. That was started in 2009-10. "I'm tired of it," Hill said, "tired of losing in my own gym. My freshman year we got beat a lot here. I don't like losing here. It's a funny feeling. I haven't lost a conference game here since my freshman year." He attempted to do his part in helping Arizona rally. Down 45-31 with more than 14 minutes left, Hill, who finished with a game-high 16 points, hit back-to-back 3-pointers and then converted on a three-point play to help Arizona inch back. But the Ducks kept Arizona at a distance before Arizona re-rallied with an 11-0 run in a four-minute span to take its lead. But like it's been all season for the Ducks, it found a way to win. Oregon is now 8-0 in games decided by 10 or fewer points. "A win is a win in the league. We traditionally haven't done well here," Oregon coach Dana Altman said, referring to it being the school's second-ever sweep of the Arizona schools on a weekend trip. "We are not hitting on all cylinders. We played good but I know we can play great." Miller isn't sure what to think about his team. He said outside of maybe the last 16 minutes where Arizona played with "great confidence and courage" Arizona didn't have it. Freshman Nick Johnson said a solution might be for his team to be more proactive than reactive. Saturday was the perfect example. UA had to attack instead of waiting to be attacked. "That's what we have to do down the road not wait for something to happen," he said. "We have to do it ourselves." Or losses will continue to mount. "The conference is going to hard to win but the team that can play 40 minutes every game can win it," Hill said. "I don't see why not. It's not like someone is going out there and kicking everybody's butt in the conference. It sucks that we can't take advantage."
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