— Arizona Athletics (@AZATHLETICS) March 2, 2018
Embattled coach Sean Miller returned to the bench Thursday night, and his Arizona Wildcats responded with a 75-67 victory over Stanford to clinch at least a share of the Pac-12 basketball title.
After sitting out one game, Miller received the backing of his university administration, which paved the way for him to work the Stanford game at the McKale Center in Tucson.
At issue was an ESPN report quoting anonymous sources saying that Miller had discussed with an agent a payment to center Deandre Ayton.
The report’s validity has since come into question following publication of a story by another news organization.
A story at si.com says that details of a wiretapped phone conversation involving Miller were inaccurately reported by ESPN.
Earlier Thursday, the drama unfolded when Miller issued a statement denying he approved a payment to Ayton, the Pac-12’s scoring and rebounding leader.
Also, Arizona’s president said there is no evidence of wrongdoing by the coach.
ESPN said it stands by its reporting.
In the aftermath, Arizona took the court and surged to a 37-28 halftime lead over Stanford.
The Cardinal rallied to pull within 67-62 when Dorian Pickens hit two free throws with 4:33 remaining.
Afterward, Arizona steadied itself with guard Alonzo Trier hitting six straight free throws down the stretch.
Trier sat out last week’s road games at Oregon State and Oregon after failing a drug test.
Read the complete report of the game at azcentral.com.