Offense falls flat as UA ends trip with a thud
Arizona’s effort was there Saturday afternoon; the shooting, well, not so much.
UA played well enough to win against Colorado but didn’t, losing 64-63 after leading for most of the first half and parts of the second half. Kevin Parrom missed a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left after receiving a pass from a well-defended Kyle Fogg.
UA fell to 13-7 overall and 4-3 in the conference. Colorado is now 13-6 and 5-2.
"I know he missed the last shot," Miller said on his postgame radio show, shortly after lauding Parrom for his good play this weekend. "But the ball did up in his hands for the last shot. I don’t know if on the last play that was the best play, but we got one off."
It was an air ball, which was somewhat symbolic of the day. For the game, Arizona went 19 for 55 from the field, struggling throughout.
"Maybe our offense didn’t take good shots, but we missed what I would consider seven wide-open, nobody-in-the-gym shots,’’ Miller said. "That ball has got to go in."
On his postgame radio show, Miller didn’t seem as upset as he was after last week’s loss to Oregon at home. Instead, he was encouraged by UA’s aggressiveness and enthusiasm Saturday.
"You can’t discredit out effort," Miller said. "We played (with) a great effort. We played on the road against a good team. When you go 3 for 20 (from the 3-point line), that will tell you how hard our guys competed.’’
After leading 39-35 at halftime, Arizona missed its first nine shots to start the second half and at one time missed 14 consecutive 3-pointers.
Yet Miller hinted that Arizona’s two missed free throws -- one by Solomon Hill with 2:51 left in attempting to complete a three-point play and Fogg’s miss with a minute left that could have tied it -- were big. UA was down 64-63 at the time of Fogg’s miss.
“We had a number of great shots, including free throws that we didn’t make,’’ Miller said. “And to me, that’s the reason why we leave with a loss.’’
There were a number of factors, the most obvious being the offense. It had little shooting success and looked nothing like it did Thursday, when seemingly everything went in from beyond the arc. A game after finishing 12 for 24 from the 3-point line, Arizona couldn’t find any sort of rhythm from long distance. UA entered the game leading the Pac-12 with a little more than seven treys a game but hit just three against Colorado.
Some of Miller’s biggest concerns going into the weekend trip were free throws and turnovers. The Wildcats had just 11 turnovers Saturday and just 20 for the weekend, and they outrebounded the Buffaloes 44-35. They also hit 22 of 30 free throws, although they had the two key misses late.
"We’re a much better team when we can take care of the ball,’’ Miller said. "And any time you can outrebound your opponent, it’s difficult to lose.’"
To Arizona’s credit, the team played a tough, physical game on the road. Also on the positive side, Miller said Parrom "was starting to show signs of returning to form." He added that it’s likely Parrom will see more playing time, as he gives the team "a good offensive rebounder and an experienced player."
How the Wildcats recover will be key, as they return home Thursday to face Washington State.
"Clearly, it’s up to us to put this game behind us,’’ Miller said. "We need to build on it. There are some great things we can look back on."