Beaver County native Sean Miller earns his 200th career coaching victory
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Beaver County native Sean Miller -- a former star at Blackhawk and Pitt -- earns his 200th career coaching victory in Arizona's 69-50 win against Miami in the Diamond Head Classic tournament in Honolulu. Despite winning eight games this season by double digits and five by more than 20 points, Miller believes the Wildcats still have more to work on. "We're trying to be a team that can do some special things and I think that we want to be hard on ourselves," Miller said. "There's always things that we can do better."
Arizona delivered win No. 201 for coach Sean Miller in a spirited and sloppy defensive battle against San Diego State in the championship of the Diamond Head Classic tournament in Honolulu. The Wildcats slipped by the Aztecs, 68-67, when Nick Johnson swatted the ball away from San Diego State's Chase Tapley on what appeared to be an uncontested layup in the closing seconds of the game. No. 3 Arizona (12-0) is off to its best start in 25 years despite shooting 37 percent from the field, including 5 of 20 from 3-point range. The Wildcats held Aztecs leading scorer Jamaal Franklin to nine points to end his streak of 32 consecutive games in double figures.
Jake Odum banked in a 15-footer with eight-tenths of a second left in overtime to rally Indiana State to a 57-55 win against Miami in the third-place game of the Diamond Head Classic. Manny Arop made two free throws to tie it at 55 with 1:03 left in overtime, and after Miami's Kenny Kadji missed a shot, Indiana State got the ball and called timeout with 29.3 seconds left. Odum received the ensuing inbounds pass and held the ball until 5 seconds remained. He started to his right, pump-faked near the free-throw line and hit what became the winning shot.
Alex Kirk scored 15 points and blocked Sean Kilpatrick's shot just before the buzzer, preserving New Mexico's 55-54 win that handed No. 8 Cincinnati its first loss. New Mexico (13-1) rallied in the second half behind its 7-foot center, who hit a 3-pointer and got a team-high seven rebounds. Cincinnati (12-1) moved up to No. 8 this week -- its highest ranking in nine years -- and was trying to go 13-0 for the sixth time in school history. The Lobos have won six of their past seven games against ranked teams, leaving them 14-6 against the Top 25 in coach Steve Alford's six seasons.
After two defeats to ranked opponents and a surprising loss to Cal Poly that knocked them out of the top 25, the UCLA Bruins started to find their way. Highly touted freshman Shabazz Muhammad hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:01 left in overtime to help them upset No. 7 Missouri, 97-94, and extend their winning streak to five. Missouri guard Phil Pressey finished with 19 points and 19 assists.
Loyola of Chicago earned its first victory against DePaul since 1989, and only the second for the Ramblers on DePaul's home court in 21 meetings. Loyola, who had lost 11 in a row to DePaul in the series, won their third consecutive game and seventh in the past eight while stopping DePaul's seven-game winning streak. Loyola, 50 years removed from its NCAA tournament title, last knocked off its crosstown rival Jan. 21, 1989, when former DePaul athletic director Gene Sullivan was coaching the Ramblers.
With all of their early season cupcakes devoured, teams from the Big East and Big Ten put on their big-boy pants to start conference play New Year's Eve. No. 24 Pitt plays host to No. 8 Cincinnati while No. 5 Indiana visits Iowa and No. 19 Michigan State heads to No. 11 Minnesota.
A look at the stats, facts and story lines you might have missed on the way to March Madness.
First Published December 30, 2012 12:00 am