UA basketball: Multiple-OT games take toll

2012-01-12T00:00:00Z 2014-07-24T10:35:11Z UA basketball: Multiple-OT games take tollBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 12, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Just when he needed it most, Craig Robinson's favorite postgame tonic could not help.

"I usually get over (Saturday losses) by the time Saturday Night Live goes off," the Oregon State coach said. "But the game didn't end until Saturday Night Live started, so it took me a little bit longer."

"The game," of course, was no ordinary game: Stanford 103, Oregon State 101 in quadruple overtime Saturday in Corvallis, a battle of endurance and will that Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins called "historic."

There were enough emotions and calories burned, in fact, to create emotional and physical hangovers this week for both teams.

Just consider what happened to California after Arizona beat it in three overtimes Feb. 5 last season. The Bears, already short-handed, had five days to recover but still lost three straight afterward.

"I don't think there's any question that there was a little bit of carryover," Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. "We played (three) kids for 50-plus minutes."

Here's a closer look at the four teams involved that have handled the marathon games:

Winners

• Arizona: The Wildcats received the perfect gift after their win at Cal - a full week off before facing ASU, the worst team in the conference last season.

They also had plenty of depth and had played only star forward Derrick Williams for 33 minutes at Cal because of foul trouble. Not surprisingly, Arizona won its next three games and the triple-OT game became part of a season-high eight-game winning streak.

But UA coach Sean Miller said the Wildcats aren't getting a break this time, even with Oregon State having played 60 minutes Saturday. That's because Arizona played at USC on Sunday, then took Monday off because of fatigue - giving it just two full days to prepare for OSU.

"I don't know a conference in the country that has a team leave on a Wednesday and get back at 12 midnight on Sunday," Miller said of the Los Angeles swing. "Every team in our conference has a segment of the season that's like that, but it puts a lot of pressure on our team. That Thursday-Sunday (combination), if you're the road team in particular, is the biggest disadvantage our conference can offer."

• Stanford: Dawkins used five players for 38 minutes or more Saturday, and he altered Monday's practice accordingly.

"We adjusted practice based on the minutes they had logged to make sure they got their legs back under them," Dawkins said, dismissing the notion that players are used to heavy minutes from travel-team ball as prep stars. "I think you have to guard against it. When you're in a game like that, it's kind of historical. I've been in basketball for 40 years and never been involved with a four-overtime game."

"You have got to learn from that experience, but you can't just treat it like it's another day. Because it made history."

The Cardinal has the luxury of traveling home to face undermanned Utah tonight, but Dawkins said he isn't sure if being home is necessarily a good thing.

"When you're at home, everyone is amazed about the game and wants to talk about the game and stay in that moment," Dawkins said. "We have to guard against that. We need to move on to our next moment."

Losers

• California: The Bears were shorthanded even before they faced Arizona, forcing Montgomery to play forward Harper Kamp all 55 minutes, while Allen Crabbe played 54 and Brandon Smith 53.

Markuri Sanders-Frison (27) and Jorge Gutierrez (40) would have played more, too, but they fouled out.

Then Cal went to Washington, never an easy place to play, and Crabbe, who would become the Pac-10's Freshman of the Year, suffered a concussion that kept him out of the next two games - at Washington State and against USC in Berkeley.

"It was kind of a little bit of a snowball effect right there," Montgomery said. "It did take something out of us to try to recover and then leave Wednesday (for Washington), but part of it was the opponent as well."

• Oregon State: The Beavers may face more mental obstacles than physical ones.

Unlike Cal, OSU had a full nine players going double-digit minutes and only had one (Jared Cunningham) playing more than 50 minutes. So, after a normally scheduled off day Sunday, they practiced normally on Monday.

"I'm sure guys got a little extra rest that day, getting their feet up and hitting the cold tub and things like that," Robinson said. "But nothing out of the ordinary."

However, the Beavers must wrestle with the fact that they were 10-2 in nonconference play, and are now 1-3 in the Pac-12 after losing a home game with 13 lead changes.

"It shakes your confidence a little bit," Montgomery said of the OSU-Stanford game. "Oregon State had some opportunities to win, and they felt like that they probably feel they let that one get away. You look at the body language in the fourth overtime, and it looked like, 'Geez, we kind of let this one get away.'"

But Montgomery said the Beavers would bounce back, and Robinson indicated he already has.

Just a little later than usual.

"After you take a look at the film and you see how many things you could have done differently, it actually gave me a little piece of mind," Robinson said. "We're playing better. We're competing.

"The sting from that game hits you harder because it was just a long, hard game and everybody's disappointed. But when you take a step back and look back at what happened, it was quite an event."

On StarNet: Go to azstarnet.com/video for Sean Miller's latest comments on the team and see an interactive insider on the upcoming game at: azstarnet.com/multimedia

Today

• Who: Oregon State at Arizona

• When: 6:30 p.m.

• TV; radio: Channel 58; 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Spanish)

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