Arizona's Solomon Hill blocks the drive of Washington State's Reggie Moore in the second half. KELLY PRESNELL / ARIZONA DAILY STAR

On Jan. 15, Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller called sophomore wing Solomon Hill "consistently our second-best player every day."

The next seven games, Hill made 13 of 34 field goals.

So it wasn't surprising when, asked the same question after the Wildcats' 79-70 win against Washington State, Miller gave a different answer. Rather than downgrade Hill, he raised his praise.

"From a practice standpoint," Miller said, "he does the very best job of anybody on our team, with effort and what he does every day."

To judge Hill by points or shooting percentage misses the point, Miller said.

"Solomon's versatility is what he brings to the table for us," Miller said. "He does a little bit of everything."

On Thursday night, Hill had five rebounds, four on the offensive glass.

Right after halftime, though, it was his time to score.

Forty-five seconds into the frame, he caught a MoMo Jones pass and drilled a three-pointer to give the UA an 11-point lead. Hill then made a jumper, assisted by Kyle Fogg, 1 minute and 20 seconds later.

Half a minute later, he made another jumper.

Then, with about 17 minutes left, he in-bounded an alley-oop to Derrick Williams to give the UA its largest lead of the night at 17.

Hill knew the Cougars were playing to steal passes, leaving him open to attack.

"Just make 'em play me," he said. "Keep 'em honest. I got going."

It hadn't happened in a while.

Five days after Miller praised Hill with the second-best tag, the Angeleno scored 12 points in 22 minutes at Washington.

The next six games, starting with the Washington State road game, he averaged five points per game. But he made only 9 of 26 shots.

Hill's 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting Thursday night was a minor revelation.

He has topped 12 points only once this year, when he made 10 free throws and scored 20 points in a 23-point laugher against Santa Clara on the day after Thanksgiving.

Like Fogg on Sunday, Hill credited the double teams given Williams with creating open looks.

"They had to help out, and I took advantage of it," Hill said. "Just playing, waiting for it to come to me, not forcing the issue."

Miller said he knows it's hard for Hill to defer, but that winning erases any selfishness.

"He's like everyone - he wants to score," Miller said. "But he really understands his role, embraces it."

In fact, Miller's favorite part of Hill's seven-point stretch, which was more than he'd scored in any entire game since Jan. 27, was that it wasn't forced.

"The good part about Solomon's performance at the beginning of the second half," Miller said, "is he really got it within the framework of the team concept."

Fogg praised Hill for creating his own shot "to give us the spark we needed" against the Cougars.

"He did it all around," Fogg said, "and with a little help from Derrick."

While no one picks all-league teams from the best performance during practice, Miller stressed Hill's improvement this season, even though his eight-point average is only slightly better than his 6.7 as a freshman.

"Statistically, it's not an overwhelming difference, but if you were coaching him, it is," Miller said. "He's so much better. For me, as his coach, he'll be so much better a year from now as well."