By: MIKE McCURRY Friday’s Pac-12 Tournament semifinal provided Arizona a chance to get back at UCLA for the Bruins’ win in Tucson a couple of weeks earlier, an opportunity that head coach Sean Miller and the Wildcats weren’t going to squander.In more ways than one. No. 7 Arizona beat No. 3 UCLA 86-75, advancing to Saturday’s Pac-12 Tournament final against No. 5 Oregon (11:00 p.m. ET, ESPN). Lauri Markkanen dropped 29 points—one off his career-high—signaling the official end to his prolonged slump via a second consecutive terrific game. Allonzo Trier added 20 points. And Arizona held UCLA, one of the nation’s highest-octane offenses, to 0.99 points per possession, marking the first time this season that the Bruins have been held to fewer than one point per trip. But the most entertaining retribution took place long after the outcome had been determined. With 0.9 seconds left and Arizona up 11, Miller took a timeout. The petty gesture from the potential National Coach of the Year was clearly in response to UCLA’s win over the Wildcats on February 25th, when Steve Alford called a timeout with two seconds left despite having a five-point lead. It’s safe to assume Miller and Alford’s drawn-out postgame handshake did not include the exchanging of home addresses for future Christmas cards.
Afterward, Miller was asked for the reasoning behind his savage timeout. “When UCLA played us at McKale, I thought they did a great job—they called a timeout with one second left just to make sure they had poise,” said a sarcastic Miller. “I felt like I wanted to make sure our guys had poise with one second left in this game.”
The Miller – Alford handshake pic.twitter.com/zPBx8RpeJN— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) March 11, 2017
It’s a shame Arizona and UCLA aren’t scheduled to play for a fourth time this season. Photo: @APlayersProgram Follow Mike on Twitter Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter And like ZAGS on Facebook
Steve Alford on last minute Arizona timeout. pic.twitter.com/mxvuxrY8wX— Derrek Li (@DerrekLi) March 11, 2017