Sean Miller: Timeout like one UCLA called at Arizona's senior night

ByMyron Medcalf ESPN logo
Saturday, March 11, 2017

LAS VEGAS --Arizona coach Sean Miller said he called a timeout with 0.9 seconds remaining in his team's 86-75 win over UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals on Friday night to set up a play.

Just like Steve Alford did against his team in Tucson last month.

Miller admitted he mimicked Alford, who called a timeout with less than two seconds remaining in his team's 77-72 win over the Wildcats at the McKale Center on Feb. 25.

"I didn't mean any disrespect either," Miller said. "I think Steve told me he was setting his defense up [in last month's game], and I was setting my inbounds play up. ... We were just trying to play the best we can. When you play UCLA, you're in for a heck of a basketball game. For us, it's a matter of just trying to win the game."

Miller somehow kept a straight face as he explained his reasoning for calling a timeout with less than a second on the game clock as his team enjoyed a double-digit lead. After Miller called the timeout on Friday night, Alford talked to him about the move in the postgame handshake line.

"He said he knew he called a timeout with 1.2 seconds left [in Tucson], up five, and said he wanted to set his defense," Miller said. "I appreciate him saying it. I didn't mean any disrespect either. I wanted to set our inbounds play up."

Alford repeated that sentiment to reporters after the game. He said he called the late timeout in Arizona because of the unpredictability of a game in a hostile environment.

"I guess they're upset I called a timeout at their place," Alford said. "We made two free throws [late in the Feb. 25 win], and I didn't mean any disrespect at all. It put us up five. I just wanted to set my defense because we hadn't won there. So I didn't want anything goofy to happen. Apparently, he thought I was being disrespectful and that was a way of, I guess, coming back at us."

Multiple Arizona players called Friday's win "revenge" for last month's loss to UCLA. And they also struggled to answer questions about the late timeout without a smirk.

"No comment," said Allonzo Trier, who finished second on the team in scoring with 20 points, when asked if the team had discussed the late timeout before the game.

Kadeem Allen, who finished with 12 points and three blocks Friday, was the motivation for what unfolded at T-Mobile Arena. Allen, the team's only active senior, lost to the Bruins on his senior night last month. He said UCLA's late timeout in that game upset him and his teammates.

"They said this game was dedicated to me for revenge, and I'm proud of these guys," Allen said. "It hurt. On senior night, when they called the timeout, all the fans were leaving. I felt very [disrespected]. My team felt [disrespected]. Coach felt disrespected, and it hurt, you know. But tonight, that pain has gone away. We got the win, and now we're moving on to Oregon."

Arizona will face Oregon on Saturday in a Pac-12 tournament championship game that could decide which of the Pac-12's top teams will secure a slot in the West Region once the NCAA tournament field is announced Sunday.

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