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December 13, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Arizona coach Sean Miller clarifies Xavier-Cincy comments

Sean Miller, who coached five years at Xavier before taking over at Arizona, opened himself for criticism when he initially endorsed a bench-clearing brawl between Xavier and Cincinnati players last Saturday.
Four players have been suspended and a Hamilton County prosecutor is considering pressing charges against players who participated in the melee that marred No. 8 Xavier’s 76-53 win. The fight broke out with 9.4 seconds left.
“If Cincinnati tries to do what they did today, they’re going to get a fight,” Miller told the Arizona Daily Star. “That’s what happened. So I’m proud of those guys.”
When Daily Star reporter Bruce Pascoe asked Miller if he saw the fight, he said yes. Miller was not surprised by the outcome in the annual Cincinnati game, known as the Crosstown Shootout between two bitter rivalries.
“Happens every game,” he said. “I’m proud of those guys, I really am. I would fully expect there to be a fight.”
On Monday, Miller clarified his comments in a statement released by the school.
“I made comments following our win Saturday over Clemson regarding my former team, Xavier University. These remarks were in response to a question as to whether I have been following Xavier’s on-the-court successes this season. My comments were directed toward my admiration of their on-the-court toughness and their respective approach to giving great effort as a team.”
“In no way was I condoning a fight. At the time of my press conference, I was only responding to my belief in several players that I once coached and a head coach, Chris Mack, that I have great respect for.”
TONIGHT’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:
— Illinois-Chicago (3-5) at Oregon State (6-2), 7 p.m.
MONDAY’S RESULT:
— It got hairy at the end, but Oregon held on to a 79-70 win over Portland State. E.J. Singler scored 19 points while Garrett Sim and newcomer Devoe Joseph each chipped in 13. The Ducks improved to 6-2.

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