So here was UA's lineup on the floor tonight in the final seconds: Derrick Williams, Solomon Hill, Brendon Lavender, Kyle Fogg and MoMo Jones.
What does that tell you?
“You have to play the players that are performing, the players who are playing the best together and mostly you have to play the players who are giving fantastic effort," " UA coach Sean Miller said. "Right now we’re fighting through a lot of things and this trip has been good for me because it’s really given me a clear indication on a lot of levels. We’re rebuilding, we’re moving through our first season but I’m really proud of our team and of some of the young players we have tonight."
Naturally, Miller said he was pleased with MoMo Jones and Derrick Williams. While he has seen Williams put together a likely Pac-10 Freshman of the Year season, he noted today how Jones has consistently improved since being suspended on Jan. 2 at UCLA.
"One thing I’d say about MoMo -- he’s improved," Miller said. "That’s really what you want to see with young players, freshmen, when you look back in November and December, and the beginning of the Pac-10 season, now you look at them as we’re moving towards March.
"In his case, it's his decision-making shooting percentage, being a better defender, understanding what college basketball is all about. He’s just improved in a very steady way.
"He’s also the same guy who has been given nothing. At UCLA, he didn’t play and he learned a great lesson there. It said a lot about him at that time to respond the way he has ever since."
The cellphone for ever-talkative Book Richardson wigged out this weekend.
When he finally got it going today, Richardson said he had about 60 messages from New Yorkers telling him to "make sure MoMo plays hard."
They needn't not have worried. Jones not only played hard but he played with the kind of intensity he often brings when UA needs scoring the most -- not that he always makes shots but he's more likely to bully his way inside when the Wildcats are down.
Jones said he "thrives under pressure" and wanted to take the game-winner.
“Just give me the ball and get out of the way," he said after today's game.
Jones added: "I feel more comfortable. The coaches trust in me and my teammates are trusting me. That makes everything a whole lot easier."
Jones said he has hit similar game-winners three times before, including one in a Hawaii tournament that was with exactly the same kind of midrange bank shot.
"Me and Solo were joking about it because he was there," Jones said.
If Sean Miller could vote for his own players (he can't), his Pac-10 honors ballot would be largely finished.
"Derrick Williams has been a great freshman," Miller said. "If tonight wasn't another example of him probably being the Pac-10 freshman of the year, I don’t know what type of performance he would need."
Williams had 24 points on 8-of-10 shooting, went to the line 12 times (though he hit just seven free throws) and had six rebounds.
Miller also said Cal's Jerome Randle was the conference player of the year.
"I think Jerome Randle is one of the best point guards in college basketball," Miller said. "Because our conference is so balanced, we have a couple of players who aren't getting the recognition they normally would. I’d put Jerome Randle up against any point guard who’s playing college basketball.
"I coached against Jameer Nelson at St. Joes -- a small guard and so many NBA people passed on him. I’m not going to get too far ahead of myself but for me to say Jerome Randle is going to be playing in the NBA next year -- he's so good on offense I don’t see why he wouldn't. I mean, he’s a special player."
Miller also had strong praise for Stanford's Landry Fields, who had 24 points and six rebounds today. Fields totaled 55 points in two games against UA, scoring from all over the court.
Miller took an extended time during postgame handshakes to speak with Fields.
"I think Fields is one of the most underappreciated, underrated players in college basketball, with what he does for Stanford, who he is as a person and really who he is as a player.
"I think he’s one of the premier forwards who play college baskeball and I think his statistics back that up. I know he has a bright future here beyond Stanford. But to me he’s one of my favorite players. I wasn’t here early in his career but people tell me he’s really improved. Anytime sometone invests like that and improves the way he does..."