Fast five: Miller, players address Phelps situation, plus other hot topics from UW game
Arizona men's basketball dropped its fourth consecutive game of the season, a 67-60 slog-fest against Washington as the Huskies remain unbeaten (10-0) in conference play. With drama unfolding on and especially off the court, here’s a rundown of the most important topics from the game.
“No Comment” continues
Arizona and Sean Miller have been tight-lipped about any and all off-court-related drama over the last year and a half, so it was no surprise that Miller did not offer a comment related to the suspension and move to fire assistant coach Mark Phelps. The UA head coach did, however, say he supports the statements made by athletic director Dave Heeke.
Miller later added that Austin Carroll, the assistant director of basketball operations since 2016, will assume Phelps’ role on the team.
UA team played for Phelps
While the players didn't offer much about Phelps’ situation either, senior Justin Coleman did comment.
“We love Coach Phelps as one, he’s still part of us as a team,” Coleman said. “The time he was here he taught me how to be a better player, a better man. But from now on, we just got to push forward, continue to get better."
The point guard also said that a few of the players reached out to Phelps after they found out about the decision.
“We played for Coach Phelps today as well, we didn’t played for ourselves,” Coleman said.
Unprecedented losing streak
Even when you take into account the lowered expectations of the Wildcats this season, it still would be hard to fathom they’d lose four games in a row and have three home loses with still a month left of play. Yet, that’s the current state of the program.
The loss to the Huskies marks the first time since the 2011-12 season that UA has lost three games in McKale Center and first time in the Miller era that the team has lost four in a row.
Arizona sits at seventh place in the Pac-12 conference with eight games left to play, meaning it will have to win the Pac-12 Tournament in order to make the NCAA Tournament.
The Wildcats' loss to the Huskies can be singled down to one number: 20. The ‘Cats had a staggering 20 turnovers Thursday night, a season high for them.
Arizona also only made 20 out of its 53 shots of the night, mirroring some of the shooting struggles experienced in the trip to Los Angeles two weeks ago.
You can’t take a night off in conference play in college basketball, and the Pac-12 is the epitome of that statement. Washington State, the 11th-place team in the Pac-12 with only one conference win entering Thursday, boat raced ASU in Tempe and won 91-70.
The Cougars come to Tucson Saturday for what won’t be as easy a win as a many thought it would be.
Follow Alec White on Twitter