They say one of the toughest things to do is beat the same team three times in one season.
The University of Arizona Wildcats are hoping it remains true when they face top-seeded UCLA in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament here at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Sean Miller’s team is hoping to ride the momentum of Thursday’s 10-point win over Colorado.
“We know UCLA’s very good,” Miller explained. “Obviously, UCLA has talented players. In terms of us being able to score on them, we have to be really unselfish, move, create great shots. I think that any time a team beats you twice, you really want to get that one win.”
One win would propel the ‘Cats (25-6) into the title game Saturday night against the Utah-Oregon winner. It’s important for UofA, who’s playing in their third consecutive conference semi-final, not to look too far ahead.
“Just telling the fellas it’s one game at a time,” senior forward Solomon Hill said. “It would mean everything for me to really end with a win here and be able to cut down the nets and wear the [championship] hats and t-shirts. But it’s all one game at a time.”
Both Miller and Hill agree senior point guard Larry Drew, II is the engine that makes the Bruins (24-8) go. His ability to create easy opportunities for others aided UCLA in their quarterfinal win over ASU. Drew made 8-10 field goals (4-4 from three-point range) and finished with 20 points and four assists.
The Wildcats will look to wear down UCLA with their depth. All nine ‘Cats who played scored against the Buffs. Guards Mark Lyons and Nick Johnson combined for 32 points and six assists.
Tipoff is set for 6:00.