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Mike Candrea pointed at his ace and mouthed the same word \u2014 \u201cwow\u201d \u2014 a few times.

That was about all the coach could say Friday night, after watching Danielle O\u2019Toole throw a no-hitter in fifth-ranked Arizona\u2019s 3-0 win over No. 6 Washington at Hillenbrand Stadium. The no-no was the first of O\u2019Toole\u2019s collegiate career.

\u201cIt couldn\u2019t happen to a better person,\u201d Candrea said moments after the game. \u201cShe\u2019s a competitor; a big game pitcher. She loves challenges and is well-prepared. To control the ball all night like that against a good hitting ballclub ...\u201d

O\u2019Toole would\u2019ve had a perfect game if not for a walk in the fourth inning and a hit batter in the sixth.

The lefty finished with seven strikeouts, three coming in the final inning. O\u2019Toole lowered her season ERA to 0.69.

\u201cI am always a little nervous at the start,\u201d said O\u2019Toole, who is 15-1 this season. \u201cUp here (in my mind) I said, \u2018Keep going, keep going. You\u2019re doing good.\u2019

\u201cIn the seventh on the last batter after the second strike, I was like, \u2018Oh my god! I\u2019m just gonna throw the ball and if she hits it, she hits it.\u2019\u201d

Washington second baseman Sis Bates went down swinging for the last out.

Mo Mercado, who went 2-for-2, hitting a double and driving in a run, didn\u2019t know until after the game that O\u2019Toole had thrown a no-hitter.

\u201cWe focus on every pitch, every batter,\u201d Mercado said. \u201cI didn\u2019t realize she was throwing that well. It\u2019s awesome. One thing about Tooly is that you know she gets her strikeouts. And, if when she doesn\u2019t, it\u2019s important to play good defense behind her.

\u201cAnd the best teams score early and late. It\u2019s huge for us as it lets our pitchers settle in quickly.\u201d

The Wildcats (25-3, 4-0 Pac-12) got off to that quick start by scoring two runs in the first inning.

Mandie Perez led off with a hard single up the right side and moved to second on a shot to left by Dejah Mulipola.

Both runners moved up on a ball that went over the Washington catcher\u2019s glove. Alyssa Palomino\u2019s long sacrifice fly to center field drove in Perez for the Wildcats\u2019 first run. Mercado\u2019s single to left drove in Mulipola to give Arizona a 2-0 lead.

The Wildcats\u2019 other run came in the sixth inning on a home run by designated hitter Tamara Statman.

Arizona faces Washington (26-4, 3-1 Pac-12) for the second game of the series Saturday at noon.

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Paul Magloire Jr. has played the \u201cMadden\u201d video game for as long as he can remember.

\u201cThere hasn\u2019t been a year when I haven\u2019t created myself and put myself in the game,\u201d the former Arizona Wildcats linebacker said.

On Friday, he took another step toward not having to do that in the next iteration of the game.

Magloire was among 13 participants in Arizona\u2019s on-campus pro day. He continued to build on a productive offseason, bench-pressing 225 pounds 25 times and registering a 119-inch broad jump. Those numbers would have tied for second and 12th, respectively, among linebackers at last month\u2019s NFL scouting combine had Magloire been invited.

\u201cI\u2019m excited about this process,\u201d Magloire said. \u201cI feel like I\u2019m only getting better. I\u2019m becoming a better player all around. I think I fit a lot of schemes at the next level.\u201d

Magloire came to Arizona as a safety before switching to linebacker about halfway through the 2015 season. He led the team in tackles last year with 81, including 5.5 for losses, and earned an invite to the East-West Shrine Game. His coach there, Larry Foote of the Arizona Cardinals, ran his workout Friday.

Magloire has become a favorite among some draft analysts, including Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report. Miller projected Magloire as a fourth-round pick earlier this month.

\u201cYou hear a lot of things,\u201d Magloire said. \u201cBut you try to take it with a grain of salt.\u201d

Although he has a workout lined up with the New York Giants \u2014 \u201cThat\u2019s one,\u201d he said. \u201cHopefully I get a couple more\u201d \u2014 Magloire is not a shoo-in to be selected. He\u2019ll head into the April 27-29 draft, which he plans to watch with his family, hoping for the best.

\u201cI\u2019m not going to have any expectations,\u201d Magloire said. \u201cI\u2019m just going to go with it. Hopefully it\u2019s hearing my name called.\u201d

Griffey impresses

Receiver Trey Griffey had the most impressive workout, according to observers. Arizona\u2019s pro day is closed to the media.

With his family on hand \u2014 including Hall of Fame dad Ken Jr. and sister Taryn, who plays for the UA women\u2019s basketball team \u2014 Trey recorded 40-yard dash times of 4.50 and 4.56 seconds. Those are good times for a player of Griffey\u2019s size; he measured at 6-2 1/8, 209 pounds. He also did 17 bench-press reps, which would have tied for eighth among wideouts at the combine.

Griffey caught only 23 passes last season, the victim of an Arizona passing attack that was inconsistent at best. UA coach Rich Rodriguez doesn\u2019t believe that will hurt Griffey\u2019s stock.

\u201cThe NFL doesn\u2019t look as much at numbers,\u201d Rodriguez said. \u201cThey\u2019ll watch a guy on film. They\u2019ll watch him in person. They\u2019ll work him out. The numbers part is inflated some places anyway because they throw it all the time. They just look at guys that can play.\u201d

Like Magloire, Griffey is considered a Day 3 prospect in the draft. He was unavailable for post-workout interviews because he had a plane to catch, according to a UA spokesman.

Receiver Samajie Grant matched Griffey with 17 bench reps. Offensive lineman Freddie Tagaloa had 41 bench reps, six more than anyone at any position at the combine. Defensive lineman Aiulua Fanene had 35 reps, matching the most at the combine.

Tight end Josh Kern had a 34-inch vertical jump, which would have tied for seventh among combine tight ends. Kern did 19 bench reps and raised about $850 for charity in the process through PledgeIt.org.

Dawkins\u2019 job to lose?

Rodriguez provided a little bit of clarity on the Wildcats\u2019 quarterback situation after Friday morning\u2019s practice.

Incumbent Brandon Dawkins has been the primary first-team quarterback this spring, Rodriguez said. Khalil Tate mainly has worked with the second team.

Rodriguez won\u2019t name a starter until shortly before the season starts but did say, regarding Dawkins and Tate, \u201cKhalil\u2019s gotta beat him out.\u201d

Rodriguez and quarterbacks coach Rod Smith said it\u2019s natural for Dawkins to be ahead of Tate because the former has more experience. Dawkins is entering his redshirt junior season and started nine games last year; Tate will be an 18-year-old true sophomore in fall and has made one start. Smith said he\u2019s excited about both players but that Dawkins has a \u201cslight lead\u201d as of now.

\u201cHe\u2019s probably ahead from a mental standpoint because he\u2019s had more reps at it, he\u2019s had more time at it\u201d Smith said. \u201cBrandon\u2019s had a pretty decent spring so far. Khalil\u2019s had some moments where he\u2019s been pretty good, too.

\u201cWho will be the guy? We\u2019ll see how that goes.\u201d

Regardless of who starts, Rodriguez expects Arizona\u2019s \u201cmenu of plays\u201d to expand this season with both quarterbacks having another year in the system.

Extra points

\u2022 Redshirt freshman defensive end Jalen Cochran hasn\u2019t practiced this spring because of concussion issues dating to fall. \u201cObviously, that\u2019s a concern,\u201d Rodriguez said.

\u2022 Tailback Nick Wilson says he weighs 212 pounds. He looks strong in his upper body. He played at 205 pounds last year. Durability is the key issue with Wilson after two injury-plagued seasons.

\u2022 Rodriguez said tailback Nathan Tilford is physically ready to play as a freshman. The question is whether he\u2019ll get there mentally. Participating in spring practice increases his chances.

\u2022 Rodriguez said he\u2019d like to have 10 wide receivers \u201cwe have confidence in.\u201d To get there, newcomers Brian Casteel and Drew Dixon would have to contribute this season.

\u2022 Rodriguez expects the next wave of new players to raise the competition and talent levels teamwide. \u201cIt\u2019s going to be the most competitive August camp since I\u2019ve been here,\u201d he said.

\u2022 Redshirt freshman linebacker Kahi Neves entered the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility wearing a T-shirt and shorts, suggesting that he did not practice.

"}, {"id":"9e385458-8847-576a-b9d7-a86443d24404","type":"article","starttime":"1490396400","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-24T16:00:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1490420033","priority":43,"sections":[{"greghansen":"sports/greghansen"},{"basketball":"sports/arizonawildcats/basketball"}],"flags":{"editors_pick":"true","top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Hansen: Chris Mack, Xavier had Arizona's number in final few minutes","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/greghansen/article_9e385458-8847-576a-b9d7-a86443d24404.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/greghansen/hansen-chris-mack-xavier-had-arizona-s-number-in-final/article_9e385458-8847-576a-b9d7-a86443d24404.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/greghansen/hansen-chris-mack-xavier-had-arizona-s-number-in-final/article_9e385458-8847-576a-b9d7-a86443d24404.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":2,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Greg Hansen\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"It's still hard to digest Arizona's NCAA Tournament loss. Here's a look at how Xavier was able to do it.\u00a0","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#editorspick","#hansen","#top5sports"],"customProperties":{"arm_id":"75155"},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"70724e96-e85b-5c28-9cd3-854046d106cb","description":"Allonzo Trier\u2019s foul of Malcolm Bernard resulted in two foul shots, allowing Xavier to creep closer. In a game of just 61 possessions for each team, the margin for error was slight.","byline":"","hireswidth":1490,"hiresheight":1390,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/07/70724e96-e85b-5c28-9cd3-854046d106cb/58d5a4121ab12.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"815","height":"760","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/07/70724e96-e85b-5c28-9cd3-854046d106cb/58d5a41218e9a.image.jpg?resize=815%2C760"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"93","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/07/70724e96-e85b-5c28-9cd3-854046d106cb/58d5a41218e9a.image.jpg?resize=100%2C93"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"280","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/07/70724e96-e85b-5c28-9cd3-854046d106cb/58d5a41218e9a.image.jpg?resize=300%2C280"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"955","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/07/70724e96-e85b-5c28-9cd3-854046d106cb/58d5a41218e9a.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C955"}}},{"id":"0e39a6e4-abf3-5dae-af5d-c8925c2d6d4a","description":"Musketeers forward Tyrique Jones floats underneath the backboard ahead of three Wildcat defenders.","byline":"Photos by Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":1263,"hiresheight":1639,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/e3/0e39a6e4-abf3-5dae-af5d-c8925c2d6d4a/58d5a412a9867.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"586","height":"760","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/e3/0e39a6e4-abf3-5dae-af5d-c8925c2d6d4a/58d5a412a8a38.image.jpg?resize=586%2C760"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"130","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/e3/0e39a6e4-abf3-5dae-af5d-c8925c2d6d4a/58d5a412a8a38.image.jpg?resize=100%2C130"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"389","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/e3/0e39a6e4-abf3-5dae-af5d-c8925c2d6d4a/58d5a412a8a38.image.jpg?resize=300%2C389"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1329","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/e3/0e39a6e4-abf3-5dae-af5d-c8925c2d6d4a/58d5a412a8a38.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C1329"}}}],"revision":10,"commentID":"9e385458-8847-576a-b9d7-a86443d24404","body":"

SAN JOSE, Calif. \u2014

Nick the Greek\u2019s restaurant stays open till 3 a.m. in downtown San Jose. A few ticks before 2, my colleagues and I walked in, lined up behind assorted clubbers, boozers and wayward souls.

I never eat Greek food, but in the wee hours of Friday morning I had no other option and had to make a quick choice. I selected a Beefteki Pita with Tzatziki sauce.

It was Greek to me.

That\u2019s a newspaper guy\u2019s version of the finish to Arizona\u2019s Sweet 16 loss to Xavier. A few hours earlier, whatever Xavier did was Greek to Arizona.

In the final 2:17, with limited options, Arizona missed five consecutive shots and committed a turnover. Xavier\u2019s zone defense was like a great Sphinx to the Wildcats.

It was Tzatziki sauce.

Xavier coach Chris Mack successfully took away three of Arizona\u2019s strengths:

1. He slowed the pace to 61 possessions, which was the second-slowest of Arizona\u2019s season. His zone defense forced Arizona to shoot with an average of nine seconds left on the shot clock. The UA\u2019s season average was to get a shot with 14 seconds. Those five seconds led to a lot of rushed and forced shots Thursday.

2. Because Arizona lacked the proper movement, passing, spacing and imagination against Mack\u2019s zone, it was forced to shoot from the edge, attempting 27 3-pointers, a season high. Ordinarily, 3-point shots make up 24 percent of Arizona\u2019s shooting attempts. On Thursday it was 43 percent.

3. The Musketeers committed only 14 fouls, permitting Arizona to shoot a mere 11 free throws. Arizona made 221 more foul shots than opponents this year, and only once since December (a loss at Oregon) did the Wildcats shoot fewer foul shots than they did Thursday.

Remember when UA forward Kevin Parrom used to pledge \u201cno easy buckets?\u201d It turned on the Wildcats; on Thursday, Arizona got few easy buckets.

Mack, who succeeded Sean Miller at Xavier in 2009, coached the game of his life.

Beyond that, I think Arizona lost for three reasons not as easily tracked by metrics or the box score.

The first is that Lauri Markkanen did not attempt a shot in the final 11:12. That\u2019s because he was used in the role Kaleb Tarczewski played for Arizona. Markkanen became a high-post screener, rarely rotating to the corner, where he often gets lost by opposing defenses.

At halftime, Miller told CBS that \u201cwe\u2019ve got to be unselfish against this zone, move the ball and find Lauri.\u201d

No one found Lauri. He didn\u2019t attempt a foul shot in the second half, either, which is unfathomable. Against a shorter team like the Musketeers, you\u2019d expect him to spend the night at the foul line, the way he did against Saint Mary\u2019s (he was 9 for 10) and when he shot 19 foul shots in the Pac-12 Tournament.

But some of that is on Markkanen\u2019s transition to college basketball. He is learning to play the mid- to low-post and it\u2019s not easy against a zone that often found him trapped by three Musketeers. He does not go strong into the paint and use his size as an advantage. He doesn\u2019t demand the ball, instead keeping his arms low. He is probably too unselfish.

It was like having Mike Trout on your team and batting him eighth in the lineup.

Second, Allonzo Trier appeared to be gassed in the final three minutes. When he scored 15 consecutive points, expanding a 49-48 lead to 64-61, he probably emptied his tank.

Trier missed a quick 3-pointer from the baseline with 2:17 remaining \u2014 Arizona was leading 71-67 \u2014 a shot that could\u2019ve extinguished the Musketeers. As Xavier sped to the other end of the court in transition, Trier was a step late. When he finally got to the other end of the court, he reached over Malcolm Bernard and fouled him.

Those two foul shots made it 71-69 and it was a different game.

Trier played 19 minutes in the second half. Markkanen played the full 40 minutes; he averages 30. Inside the final two minutes, neither seemed to have his legs.

One more thing: the heartbeat of Arizona\u2019s team, senior Kadeem Allen, appeared to get chippy with Xavier\u2019s best player, Trevon Bluiett. Allen got two fouls in the game\u2019s first 2:30. It was a mano a mano showdown versus two Alpha males, and it was costly. Allen spent 15 minutes on the bench in the first half.

While he was out, Bluiett, with 18 first-half points \u2014 16 while Allen was on the bench \u2014 allowed his team to gather itself and build enough confidence to win the game.

Ultimately, Xavier won in the final 40 seconds when Mack drew up a play not to Bluiett nor the Musketeers\u2019 No. 2 option, J.P. Macura, but to junior center Sean O\u2019Mara. Arizona didn\u2019t seem to be expecting it.

O\u2019Mara caught a simple lob pass over Markkanen, 3 feet from the bucket. Help defense from Keanu Pinder and Rawle Alkins was about one second too late to prevent the game-winning basket.

Such is life in the NCAA Tournament.

In a game of just 61 possessions for each team, foul trouble, tired legs, the inability to get the ball to your tallest player and an unexpected lob pass can make a No. 11 seed come off as No. 1.

There are no second chances to get it right.

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SAN JOSE, Calif. \u2014 Rawle Alkins and Allonzo Trier have their theories about who is to blame for Arizona\u2019s surprising Sweet 16 exit, and neither mentioned Sean Miller.

Even if some outsiders did.

Within minutes of Arizona\u2019s 73-71 upset loss to Xavier in the NCAA West Region semifinal Thursday night, someone updated the postseason record on his Wikipedia page with this description for 2017: \u201cYou guessed it, not the Final Four.\u201d

By midday Friday, a simple Google news search for \u201cSean Miller\u201d revealed the following headlines:

\u201cSean Miller rightly blames himself for Arizona\u2019s loss to Xavier.\u201d (Arizona Republic)

\u201cSean Miller and Arizona come up short yet again after late collapse fueled by ill-advised shots.\u201d (Yahoo)

\u201cArizona coach Sean Miller can only blame himself for the Wildcats\u2019 Sweet 16 exit.\u201d (FoxSports.com)

\u201cHas Sean Miller been a success or failure at Arizona?\u201d (The Big Lead)

On talk radio and social media, the debate was even more polarizing. A national Fox Sports radio host even called for Miller\u2019s firing, while there was also plenty of support across multiple platforms for the eighth-year UA coach, who has landed six straight top-five recruiting classes while reviving a program wracked with instability during a two-year transition from Lute Olson.

\u201cMiller is really good,\u201d USA Today college sports writer Dan Wolken tweeted. \u201cHe will break through. Arizona fans would be wise not to go nuts at this stage. Run him off, you won\u2019t do better.\u201d

Sporting News college basketball writer Mike DeCourcy posted a story Thursday night noting how UConn\u2019s Jim Calhoun was assailed for not making the Final Four in the 1990s before he won three titles starting in 1999, while writing that Gary Williams was \u201cragged mercilessly\u201d at Maryland before he made a Final Four after 23 years in 2001 and won a national championship in 2002. Then DeCourcy noted some coaches who had reached multiple Final Fours \u2014 Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams \u2014 who were criticized for not winning it all until they did.

Then there were the actual words from Miller, who said after the game that he was \u201cequally disappointed in myself.\u201d Miller said the UA lacked confidence against Xavier\u2019s zone defense \u2014 the Musketeers shifted skillfully between the 2-3 zone, 1-3-1 zone and man-to-man, as expected \u2014 and said the UA\u2019s offensive struggles bled over to the defense.

\u201cThe game never really felt good,\u201d he said. \u201cAnd that\u2019s on me.\u201d

Especially in the final four minutes, it went particularly wrong for the Wildcats. Arizona held a 69-61 lead with 3:44 left, but fell apart on both ends of the floor afterward. The Wildcats didn\u2019t score for the final 2:52, when Trier made a layup for a seven-point Arizona lead.

Here\u2019s what happened after that point:

That\u2019s five missed shots in the final 2:17, and none taken by the team\u2019s most accurate all-around shooter, Markkanen.

Trier, who had pumped in 15 straight UA points earlier in the half, had three missed shots and a turnover during that stretch.

\u201cIt happens,\u201d Trier said. \u201cI mean, I\u2019ve had a few go in and out. It was tough, especially the last one.\u201d

Trier blamed himself in a big-picture sense, saying he almost pushes himself to the point of being \u201cpsychotic\u201d about improving his game, and appeared puzzled when a Daily Wildcat reporter asked him what he thought about the questioning Miller was likely to receive.

\u201cUm, questioning a guy who had a 32-5 basketball team?\u201d Trier said. \u201cThey probably don\u2019t know much if they\u2019re questioning him from that standpoint. Coach did what he thought was best for us to put us in the best position to win the game, and we\u2019re going to go out there and try to execute as well as we can as a basketball team. So I totally have faith in my coach that he knows what he\u2019s doing, not somebody else who doesn\u2019t.\u201d

Alkins, meanwhile, didn\u2019t blame Miller or Trier or anybody for those last few minutes. To him, it was about allowing 52.8 percent shooting to Xavier and hitting only 25.9 percent from 3-point territory themselves (Alkins was 0 for 3 from 3-point range while shooting with a broken finger).

\u201cIt was a tie game and we had three chances to win,\u201d Alkins said. \u201cBut those three plays didn\u2019t cause us to lose the game. It was the whole game.\u201d

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Quick hitters from the Arizona Wildcats\u2019 media availability after their 12th practice of spring Friday morning:

* Brandon Dawkins has been the primary first-team quarterback this spring, UA coach Rich Rodriguez said. Khalil Tate mainly has worked with the second team. Rodriguez won\u2019t name a starter until shortly before the season starts but did say regarding Dawkins and Tate: \"Khalil's gotta beat him out.\"

*\u00a0Rodriguez and QB coach Rod Smith said it\u2019s natural for Dawkins to be ahead of Tate because the former has more experience. Smith said he's excited about both players but that Dawkins has a \u201cslight lead\u201d as of now.

*\u00a0Rodriguez expects Arizona's \"menu of plays\" to expand this season with both quarterbacks having another year in the system. He wants them to be \"gym rats\" in the offseason, saying it's essential for quarterbacks to be \"obsessed\" with the game. He said they're getting there in that regard.

*\u00a0Redshirt-freshman defensive end Jalen Cochran hasn't practiced this spring because of concussion issues dating to fall. \"Obviously, that's a concern,\u201d Rodriguez said.

* Tailback Nick Wilson says he weighs 212 pounds. He looks strong in his upper body. He played at 205 pounds last year. Obviously, durability is the key issue with him after two injury-plagued seasons.

*\u00a0Rodriguez said tailback Nathan Tilford is physically ready to play as a freshman. The question is whether he'll get there mentally. Being here for spring helps a lot.

*\u00a0Rodriguez said he'd like to have 10 wide receivers whom \"we have confidence in.\" To get there, newcomers Brian Casteel and Drew Dixon would have to contribute this season.

*\u00a0Rodriguez expects the next wave of new players to raise the competition and talent levels team-wide. \"It\u2019s going to be the most competitive August camp since I\u2019ve been here,\" he said.

*\u00a0Redshirt-freshman linebacker Kahi Neves entered the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility wearing a T-shirt and shorts, suggesting that he did not practice.

*\u00a0I\u2019m writing this from the lobby of LSFF, where Arizona is holding its pro day this morning. All 32 NFL teams are supposed to be here. I've seen representatives from the following teams come through the lobby: Steelers, Jaguars, Broncos, Panthers, Cardinals, Patriots, Chiefs, Seahawks, Lions, Colts, Ravens.

*\u00a0One interesting pro-day tidbit: DaVonte' Neal, who played cornerback his last two seasons here, is working out as a receiver/returner.

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SAN JOSE, Calif. \u2013 After the Arizona Wildcats ended their season short of the Final Four again, Allonzo Trier was asked what he thought about the questioning Sean Miller might receive ahead.

He seemed puzzled, even as somebody appeared to be\u00a0updating Sean Miller\u2019s postseason record on Wikipedia\u00a0at about the same time.

\u201cUm. Questioning a guy who had a 32-5 basketball team?\u201d Trier said. \u201cThey probably don\u2019t know much if they\u2019re questioning him from that standpoint. Coach did what he thought was best for us to put us in the best position to win the game, and we\u2019re going to go out there and try to execute as well as we can as a basketball team. I totally have faith in my coach that he\u2019s knows what he\u2019s doing, not somebody else who doesn\u2019t.\u201d

The Sporting News\u2019 Mike DeCourcy also offered some perspective about Miller\u2019s track record.

FWIW, my Twitter notifications in the immediate few hours after the game included a \"Fire Miller,\" \"his teams are predictable,\" \"team's intelligence level unacceptable,\" \"what's up with his poor timeout management\" and \"Miller will never reach a Final Four.\"


Miller actually put a lot of the blame on himself during his podium interviews after Thursday\u2019s game. Miller spoke of the Wildcats\u2019 inability to defend well, especially down the stretch, and their lack of confidence against the zone, and talked about his role in it all.

\u201cEqually disappointed in myself,\u201d Miller said. \u201cYou know, our team never really ever established great confidence against the zone. And I think in some ways that was the reason, defensively, that we weren\u2019t as good as we usually are, because the game never really felt good, and that\u2019s on me.

\u201cYour job when you get to this area, when you get to this level of college basketball, your best players have to be confident. We have to get them shots. I don\u2019t care what defense they\u2019re playing \u2013 1-3-1, 2-3, man-to-man \u2013 I don\u2019t feel we did that tonight. And that\u2019s the worst feeling you can have as a coach.\u201d


Here's the full podium comments from Miller, Kadeem Allen and Parker Jackson-Cartwright. Xavier's are here.


Sounded like Miller had a pretty uplifting postgame locker room talk, with virtually all of the players repeating his reminder that they did, after all, win the Pac-12 Tournament and (tie for) the Pac-12 regular season title, while winning 32 games.

\u201cWe had a great year,\u201d Rawle Alkins said. \u201cWe had an historical year.\u201d

Lauri Markkanen sat looking downbeat but tried to keep that in mind, too.

\u201cWe went through a lot this year, so of course we have to think about all the good things we did,\u201d Markkanen said. \u201cIt\u2019s just sad the season ended so we can\u2019t go to Phoenix.\u201d

Allonzo Trier discussed that point at more length.

\u201cWe had a great year, a tremendous year,\u201d Trier said. \u201cA year that will have a lot of memorabilia and history that will be in McKale, on the walls and in the locker rom. It\u2019s just tough because we all had our sights on the Final Four.

\u201cThat was what we talked about and we believed it. We knew it was something we could do and then our journey kind of got cut short. We knew it wasn\u2019t going to be easy. We weren\u2019t going to walk there. Nobody was going to let us go to a Final Four just because it\u2019s in Phoenix. It doesn\u2019t work like that.\u201d


Markkanen and UA's other players who are considered potential early departures this spring all declined to comment on their plans or decision processes ahead. UA players are normally off-limits for the most part in the offseason so face immediate questioning after their last game.


Our full coverage is attached to this post as are the box score and final stats.

Thanks again for reading this season. The news isn't going to slow down for a while this spring, so please stick around ...

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SAN JOSE, Calif. \u2013 Given the best possible NCAA Tournament path to a home-state Final Four appearance, the Arizona Wildcats dropped the ball Thursday night.

Or, rather, couldn\u2019t shoot the ball well enough to keep from blowing an eight-point lead in the final four minutes.

Second-seeded Arizona was upset 73-71 by 11th-seeded Xavier in the West Regional semifinal on Thursday while allowing the Musketeers to shoot 52.8 percent and missing three key shots in the final minute that might have tied or won the game.

After Dusan Ristic missed a heavily contested 10-footer with 51 seconds left and Sean O\u2019Mara scored inside to give Xavier the final two-point lead with 22 seconds left, Kadeem Allen missed a 15-foot jumper and Allonzo Trier missed a three-pointer with eight seconds left at SAP Center.

Each of those shots was at least somewhat contested by Xavier\u2019s ever-changing defense, so it was the Wildcats\u2019 defense that stuck heavily in the mind of UA coach Sean Miller. Not only did the Wildcats struggle to defend the crafty Musketeers much of the game, but they most critically allowed 3-pointers by Trevon Bluiett and Malcolm Bernard in the final 3:25 that put Xavier back in the game.

\u201cWhen you have teams fighting to stay alive, you have to jump,\u201d Miller said. \u201cYou have to run at them. You have to close out with great effort. You have to make them miss.\u201d

They didn\u2019t. The Wildcats only missed their shots, surprisingly even getting the last miss from Trier, who was so hot in the middle of the second half that he scored 15 straight points after a cold first half.

But just getting the Wildcats in a position to take the eight-point lead, and maybe advance to the West Region final, wasn\u2019t enough for the hyper-competitive Trier. He was upset about the last miss, and the loss, and wasn\u2019t about to consider anything else.

\u201cWe just lost the game,\u201d Trier said. \u201cThere\u2019s no other way to put it.\u201d

The loss ended UA\u2019s season at 32-5, while Xavier moved to 24-13 and into a region final Saturday against Gonzaga for a spot in the Final Four. For the Musketeers, the win avenged their 68-60 loss to Arizona in the 2015 Sweet 16.

\u201cIt feels good just to be able to kind of get that revenge that we have been looking for,\u201d Bluiett said. \u201cAnd, two, just to make it to the Elite Eight. It\u2019s been a while since the program has done it. And just to get back there it\u2019s a surreal feeling.\u201d

It was only the third time Miller has ever lost to a lower seeded team in the NCAA Tournament, but the second straight year, after sixth-seeded Arizona was bounced by 11th-seeded Wichita State in the first round last season.

Bluiett led Xavier with 25 points on 9-for-17 shooting, scoring 18 of his points in the first half.

Trier finished with 19 points while Ristic had 17. Lauri Markkanen had nine points and eight rebounds but only took nine shots, many of which were closely guarded by Xavier\u2019s ever-changing defense.

\u201cThey played really well defensively,\u201d Markkanen said. \u201cI did not get a good shot. They\u2019re a really good team.\u201d

Arizona built its eight-point lead with 3:44 remaining but a 7-0 run pulled Xavier into a 71-71 tie entering the final minute. After Ristic missed his 10-footer with 51 seconds left, Bluiett had the ball at the top of the key \u2013 but instead of driving or popping a 3, he sharply passed under the basket to O\u2019Mara who made what became the game-winning layup.

\u201cFortunately, Sean was able to catch a great pass by Tre and put it in,\u201d Xavier coach Chris Mack said.

UA had trouble at times throughout the game. The Wildcats trailed by two points entering the final seven minutes, but went on a 12-0 run to take a 67-61 lead, getting 3-pointers from Trier and Kadeem Allen during the run. Two free throws from Parker Jackson-Cartwright gave UA its eight-point lead before Xavier made its stretch-run comeback.

After Arizona took a two-point halftime lead, Xavier had gone on a 7-0 run early in the second half. The Musketeers hit 6 of 8 shots immediately after halftime, prompting Miller to call a timeout with 15:22 left.

UA went on a 7-0 run to take a 52-48 lead, but with 13 minutes to go, Allen and Bluiett were called for offsetting technical fouls after they had an animated conversation.

After the technicals, Bernard hit a 3-pointer and Quentin Goodin dunked to put Xavier back ahead 53-52 entering the final 11 minutes.

At the end of the first half, Rawle Alkins hit a 12-foot jumper just before the halftime buzzer to give Arizona a 37-35 halftime lead.

Alkins, who was playing with a broken index finger, missed his first four shots of the half.

He said the finger didn\u2019t bother him throughout the half, and tried to be upbeat afterward.

\u201cWe had a great year, and it just takes one loss for everyone to forget what we did all year,\u201d Alkins said. \u201cWe won the Pac-12 championship, the Pac-12 Tournament, and 32-5. We had a historic year for the team.

\u201cOf course we wanted more. But overall, it was a good season.\u201d

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