Jan. 31, 2010
Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller
On today's win
"It feels wonderful. One of the major things we are consistent about in our dialogue is that we constantly talk about improving. We've got numerous, young players, and only a few veterans, and we knew it was going to take some time to learn all the changes we made this season. Something that has really helped us is that we are a lot better at practice. We move easier, and move faster, and it has translated into our games."
"Four or six weeks ago, there was no way we would have won this game today. When Cal built their lead in the first half, I knew that a team from a few weeks ago would have had a lot more trouble coming back than our team today. Had we had a heartbreak loss today, I would have felt just as proud of my guys as I do now. It would have been disappointing, but I'd still be proud of how far they have come at this point in the season."
On No. 23 Derrick Williams
"It was great to see Derrick with the double-double today. With 15 points and 11 rebounds, he has definitely surpassed status as a freshman and I really think that he is one of the best players in our conference."
On No. 13 Nic Wise and the three point play near the end of the second half
"We really wanted to have the ball in Nic's hands, and we wanted either him or Derrick to create a mismatch that would have led to a score. When those two are working together, they really make the other three players on the court better. Nic did what you love every old, senior player to do. He drove to the basket, and we knew that there would be a high likelihood of him getting fouled. I knew that there was about a 95 percent chance that there would be a call that went our way.
On keeping three of four opponents under 40% shooting
"It took a lot of effort. Cal is a veteran, terrific team, and we knew that there would be shots that they would make, that we would be unable to stop. The officiating today was very tight, on both sides. I knew that there were a couple calls that could have gone either way, but it was definitely fair calling.
"In the locker room, we didn't really talk a lot about playing for first. Win or lose, we wanted to play with a high level of effort, and we did. If we can continue this, then no matter the consequence through the rest of the season, good things will happen for us."
Arizona Player Quotes
Senior Guard Nic Wise
On the three-point play to take the lead with less than a minute left:
"It was just taking what they gave me. We ran a ball screen and then a re-screen, and it was just seeing what opened up. Had they collapsed on me, I would have kicked it out."
On the match-up between him and Cal's Jerome Randle:
"Coach made sure that we knew it was key that this wasn't going to be just a match-up between us two. No one guy can guard Randle just as no one guy can guard Patrick Christopher. Everyone had to help out. Jerome is a great player, and he has the numbers to prove it; he's only going to get better down the stretch."
"They text me all the time. They watch our games whenever they can, they have really busy schedules."
Freshman Guard Lamont Jones
"It felt great. That's the only word I can use to describe it. It was the type of game everyone dreams of. First place was on the line, a packed house with not an empty seat, everyone is there to watch you. Just knowing that all the people that have our backs, it feels great."
"We enjoy it while we're in this room, but right when we leave this room it's back to business. We don't want to dwell on the fact that we're in first place. Like Nic said in the locker room, we don't want to be tied for first. We just have to take care of business now, and everything will work itself out in the end. The season's not over. We have a huge road trip coming up in Washington that we need to focus on."
On guarding Cal's Patrick Christopher, who has a five inch height advantage:
"It's just about toughness and heart, that's what I've said from the beginning. That's what I bring to the team. It doesn't matter if you're 7' or 5'8', it's all about toughness and heart."
"We've won four in a row, we have a lot of momentum right now, and we're going to carry that to the Washington's school. We don't want to go back to that losing feeling."
Freshman Forward Derrick Williams
"Coach always tells us to stay with the intensity from start to finish, and that's what we did tonight. It came down to the wire and we had huge plays down the stretch. That And-1 by Nic and that rebound by Kevin (Parrom) we're key in sealing the win."