Arizona has started slowly in three of its past five games and Sean Miller has had enough.
While Miller said after Arizona's 73-66 win over Stanford that part of the problem is feeling anxiety to do well before the McKale Center crowds, the same problem happened at Washington last week. Miller said the Wildcats are just lacking confidence early.
“I’m going to address the slow starts because 15 of our games we’ve been winning at the first media timeout,” Miller said. “So you’re not going to be winning at every one of them. But there are a couple – at Washington, against UCLA and Stanford– where you start to say to yourself that we don’t have that confident look that you want.
“So what I’m going to do is play five guys out there who have that confident look and we’re going to address that over the next couple of days.”
Miller said Kevin Parrom is a candidate to start. Frequently on Wednesday, Miller already went with a smaller lineup featuring Parrom at small forward and Solomon Hill at power forward.
“To me, (Parrom) doesn’t care whether it’s 0-0 or 10-10 or 50-50,” Miller said. “He’s going to be the same and as a senior maybe that’s something that’s we can use at the beginning of the game right now.”
Miller has defended Lyons all season long but it was particularly easy to do so on Wednesday, when Lyons complemented his 25 points with six assists and just two rebounds.
As always, Miller went out of his way to note that Lyons has won the Wildcats games with his scoring.
“He really was a point guard tonight,” Miller said. He had “six assists, and it was really closer to 10 because some of his best plays led to foul shots and a few of his passes led to missed point-blank shots. He was running his team and he implemented a lot of things we’ve been talking about because of his scoring.”
Miller said lately he has outlined goals in his discussions with Lyons.
“It’s not easy to become a point guard and it’s unfair to say Mark isn’t one,” Miller said. “He’s a combo guard. He can really score. Without his scoring punch, we’d be nowhere near where we are. But it makes the game hard sometimes if he turns it over the way he does and we try really to map out a plan: Bounce passes below the foul line, first four minutes staying away from any contested threes.
"(We want him to be) really looking at taking better, higher quality threes because his percentages have dipped, and run the team, take more pride in the things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. He did it and that is a great sign if he is to stay in that mode. Six assists to two turnovers, he was a great player out there tonight.”
Miller said Grant Jerrett remains questionable for Sunday’s game against Cal because of what he called a low-grade stress reaction in his left foot.
It is “one of the lowest grades so we caught it at the very beginning,” Miller said. “Jordin Mayes had one a year ago and his MRI showed a significant spot and he was shelved for two weeks, maybe a little more than that (Mayes missed five games).
“Grant’s isn’t anywhere near that, which is good.”
Miller said he planned to give the Wildcats today off, before they take Friday and Saturday to prepare for Cal (5 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).
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Here's the official box score.
Craig Robinson is hoping OSU's win over Utah on Wednesday will be a springboard.
Tonight's Pac-12 games:
Washington at UCLA (7 p.m., ESPN)
Cal at ASU (7:30 p.m. Pac-12 Networks)
Colorado at Oregon (8 p.m., ESPNU)
Washington State at USC (9:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)