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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / July 24.
  • Sean Miller Trolls Steve Alford with Late Timeout in Arizona’s Win Over UCLA

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    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.”

    When asked to recount his now infamous timeout, Alford defended himself, citing the desire to set his defense and avoid any shenanigans. Alford said that he used Friday’s meeting at half court with Miller to establish that no disrespect was intended two weeks ago.

    It’s a shame Arizona and UCLA aren’t scheduled to play for a fourth time this season.

    Photo: @APlayersProgram

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