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Arizona basketball notes: Expect more Gabe York late in the season

Gabe York

Gabe York, right, gets some on-court advice from senior Mark Lyons in the first half. Photo by Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Wildcats freshman guard Gabe York is going to get more playing time.

York got a taste of Pac-12 action a few weeks ago, appearing briefly in three games. But he hadn’t been summoned off the bench in the four previous games before Wednesday’s night contest against Washington.

But coach Sean Miller has been increasingly frustrated with the poor shooting from reserve guard Jordin Mayes and promised a change. He was true to his word.

York entered the game with 13:32 to go in the first half.

He played eight minutes, making 1 of 2 3-point attempts, in Arizona’s 70-52 victory.

“We just need a guy to come in the game, be responsible, make a shot,” Miller said.

“It was a great feeling I’m sure for everyone to see someone come off the bench and knock that 3-point shot down. That’s something Gabe can give us. He’s improved on defense. … From this point on, I think you can count on him being a part of things.

“What I hope is he gets more and more comfortable as we go. He’s another threat out there to make threes.”

Mayes came in for the first time with 8:26 to go in the game when Mark Lyons was in foul trouble. Lyons fouled out with 6:55 to go, and Mayes ended up playing six scoreless minutes.

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Miller starts many pregame press conferences at home by thanking the fans. His comments rarely make it into any stories.

The circumstances Wednesday night were special.

Arizona announced a crowd of 14,545 at McKale Center for a game that began a little after 9 p.m. on a rare snowy day in Tucson in which many fans could have easily just said, “Too late, too cold, and, hey, the game’s on ESPN2.”

The announced attendance was mostly legit, too. There weren’t an extraordinary amount of no-shows.

Miller did, though, make fun of the city’s reaction to the fluffy stuff from the sky.

“I think I heard the word ‘blizzard,’” he said.

“Being from Pittsburgh, I walked outside of McKale and looked up and expected to see what I consider a blizzard, and I didn’t really sense a blizzard. As a matter of fact, it would be a nice day.

“But when snow comes down, a 9 p.m. game, and the rain and the cold, I know it would be easy for 25 percent of our crowd just to say, ‘We’ll watch it on television.’ For us to have the type of crowd that we had tonight says it all about the great tradition we have, the great fans we have, and why it’s so special to coach and play at Arizona.

“My heart and thanks go out to everybody who was here. I know that’s from our team as well.”

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Washington shot just 26.5 percent in the second half (9 of 34). In Arizona’s recent losses to Cal and Colorado, the Cats allowed those teams to combine for 28 of 45 shooting (62.2 percent) after halftime.

“Our defense hasn’t been in as good in the second half,” Miller said.

“We committed to staying with it. No matter what the score was we were going to continue to defend on every play.”

Miller was able to find some fault with his team’s defense, though.

“I will say this: In the first two minutes, Kevin Parrom broke down three times and I took him out. Four guys can play hard on defense, but if one guy runs into a screen, loses his man, is irresponsible, all of a sudden the game changes back.”

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