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Arizona’s Sean Miller: ‘I have a hard time reaching our guys’

Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller was skeptical of his team’s overall effort following the Wildcats’ 80-77 loss at Colorado on Saturday.

And his comments after the game have raised many questions regarding the team.

“I can’t get them to play hard,” Miller said. “I really can’t. We do it for awhile. With our team, man, it’s really hard to get our guys to run as fast as they can. And that’s not them. That’s me. I have a hard time reaching our guys.”

The Wildcats fell to Colorado just two days after the Buffaloes downed Arizona State in overtime.

The first half was a nightmare for Miller and the Wildcats, as they saw the Buffaloes shoot 64.3 percent and built a lead that, at one point, was as high as 20 points.

The Wildcats managed to bounce back in the second half and diminish the lead, but the first half deficit and the lack of effort proved to be the downfall for Arizona.

Miller blamed himself for his team not being ready to match the intensity the Buffaloes had, saying that he did “a terrible job having my team ready.”

“I am going to take all of the responsibility,” he added. “When you have a team like ours and you win a game like we did in Salt Lake City with such a quick turnaround on a road trip like this it is your job to have your team ready. We weren’t ready. We didn’t play with any emotion, any togetherness.

“I didn’t know what button to push other than maybe just don’t play the guys who aren’t playing hard.”

Junior guard Allonzo Trier was held to just eight points on the night, and despite a 26-point outing for the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week, Deandre Ayton, the Wildcats performance in the second half still came up short of the Buffaloes.

Miller expanded on his comments of the players who lacked effort in the game, saying that he has a difficult time getting the players — especially the most talented ones — to play for him as their coach.

“You always want your team to play for you as the coach, and our guys, they really struggle playing for me, they really do,” Miller said. “I can’t get them to play hard. We do it for a while. I know we’ve had a win streak and we also have a good team. We have a lot of talent.”

The Wildcats nine-game win streak was snapped by Colorado in Saturday’s defeat, also giving Arizona its first conference loss of the year.

But the season is still young, and the Wildcats have the talent needed to go on another streak.

Arizona will look to bounce back from its sluggish performance when they return to the McKale Center to face Oregon State on Jan. 11.

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