What you missed during Arizona's win over Texas A&M
The Arizona men's basketball team upset No.7 Texas A&M on Tuesday in Phoenix during the Valley of the Sun Shootout. While thousands watched the game on ESPN and hundreds in Talking Stick Resort Arena, the environment behind the scenes and off camera were just as captivating as well.
GCU fans support UA
Though it was not known going in whether Grand Canyon University students would boo or cheer the UA Tuesday before their team took on St. John's in the doubleheader, it became obvious at halftime.
A single ASU student may have unknowingly pushed the GCU and UA to an in-state alliance in the name of being anti-Sun Devil. It is no secret that the Lopes fans have a distaste for ASU because of the Sun Devils refusal to play a "for profit" school. But as an unknown Sun Devil rose at halftime and sported his finger spork, GCU chanted at him.
The result? GCU cheered on UA much harder in the second half, and had an effect on Texas A&M guard Duane Wilson as he stepped up to shoot three free throws to try and tie the game. He missed the first.
Was an alliance born? We shall see.
Sean Miller unsensored
Arizona head coach Sean Miller is an animated fellow, this we know. Yesterday in the midst of a tight game, he was a little extra demonstrative and for good reason.
At one point in the game, Texas A&M was inbounding the ball underneath their own basket. Arizona was lost, trying to figure out their matchups leaving a wide-open Aggie by the hoop for a layup. Miller was visibly filled with rage as he took a step toward the sideline and threw a punch into the air in frustration while muttering something that can only be described as angry gibberish.
Later in the game, guard Dylan Smith made a pass that was ill-advised, directly to an Aggie defender on the sideline. As a timeout approached, Miller calmly said something to Smith. Once Smith walked by Miller, the clipboard felt the pain of a million turnovers as Miiller snapped the clipboard.
The best part? Austin Miller, a manager on the team and the son of Miller, sprinted to the bench as the team met on the floor. Reached into a gym bag and pulled out another clipboard, sprinting back to the huddle as Miller's hand was already stretched out mid-speech. An impressive display of multi-tasking by Miller and display of true effort by his son, Austin.
A lot of former NBA players
The crowd in Talking Stick Resort Arena was an easy 75-25 split between Arizona fans and everyone else. Lost in the crowd were several former NBA players and executives. Jerry Colangelo, former Suns president and Managing Director of USA basketball was there as a representative of Grand Canyon, the business school is named after him.
Danny Ainge, current Boston Celtics General Manager and President of Basketball Operations was also courtside. Among others were former Phoenix Suns Eddie Johnson, Tom Chambers and Dan Majerle as well as basketball hall of famers Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond who were on the St. John's coaching staff.
Rawle Alkins returning?
As the Wildcats took the floor for warm ups, roughly 45 minutes before tip-off, one player participating was guard Rawle Alkins. His absence from the team has been much talked about since injuring his foot the day of the FBI investigation release.
Alkins was cleared for full contact on Monday according to basketball insider Adam Zagoria. He took some shots, made a few dunks and ran around in drills before sprinting back to the locker room to shower and change before the game began.
If you follow Alkins on social media you know he is chomping at the bit to come back, but Miller cautioned the media following Tuesday's win saying that he couldn't speak to the timetable and whether Alkins would return potentially Saturday against Alabama.
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