Coach Sean Miller said his team’s skirmish against Oregon State on Thursday night is a “closed book” after the Pac-12 reviewed the incident and found no cause for further action.
That means that Arizona backup center Kyryl Natyazhko and Oregon State post Joe Burton, who were each ejected for leaving the bench, won’t be suspended for the next game. The Wildcats play host to Oregon at 1:30 p.m. Saturday on CBS.
“We want to be a team that competes really hard in between the lines. You have to keep your cool, and in a very emotional game keep your emotions attached to what it is all about — and that’s winning.
“I don’t think the intent of our group, or any one player, was to do anything more than win the game. Sometimes in the heat of the moment, decisions were made that aren’t right.”
The play started late in overtime when Arizona’s Josiah Turner grabbed a defensive rebound and fire a quick outlet pass to Kyle Fogg. He drove for a layup, fouled by Jared Cunningham.
That gave the Cats a 79-73 lead with 1:15 to go.
As Fogg posed while celebrating, teammate Nick Johnson came up to give him a hug, perhaps carrying him toward Cunningham. Contact ensued — you be the judge of intent (the play starts at about 3:26 on the above video) — and then Natyazhko and Burton came off their respective benches.
“Today, you can’t leave the bench and you can’t throw a punch,” Miller said.
“Not that that was ever right, but in our world today, more than ever, that is not something that is going to be tolerated by anybody. It’s certainly not going to be tolerated by the University of Arizona. But nobody throw a punch.
“We’ll address it very briefly. I’m more proud of our guys’ effort in terms of playing to win than anything else based on last night.”
Miller got involved in breaking up the scuffle, and at some point wrenched off his tie, which his players took as a show of passion.
He did recover the tie, and he’ll probably be wearing it again. Not because he’s superstitious, butbecause he doesn’t have many — “a few J.C. Penney’s ties,” he said.
“I don’t have enough clothes to be superstitious. Keep it simple. I just rotate a few and always have red in my tie because that’s what someone told me to do when I first got here. That’s my staple.”