Athlete of the Week: Tony Miller

A strong second half made a career best in points against Arizona State University

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TONY NGUYEN | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Junior forward Tony Miller defends the ball from California on Feb. 19 at Beasley Coliseum.

CODY SCHOELER, Evergreen sports columnist

Junior forward Tony Miller made a statement against Arizona State University on Saturday. He proved to everybody in attendance and watching at home that he is a baller.

Miller has had a difficult season; he missed a month of action due to an injury and has only played over 20 minutes in seven of the 22 games he has played in.

He ended the regular season on the right note, recording his best game of his Cougar career in the last game of the regular season.

Miller had a game-high and career-best 21 points against the Sun Devils. His previous best scoring output came back in early December when he had 18 points against the University of Idaho.

Miller’s points were much needed for WSU in that game. Sophomore forward CJ Elleby and junior guard Isaac Bonton, the team’s two leading scorers, shot 16 percent from the field and five percent from 3-point range.

Nine of Miller’s points came during a stretch between 6:11 and 3:36 left in the second half where he was the only Cougar to score. Miller also grabbed two boards on the offensive end during that time, contributing to his six offensive rebounds and eight total rebounds for the game, the second-most rebounds he has had in a game.

Not only was this game Miller’s best scoring game, it was also his most efficient game. He took the most shots he has taken in a game, 12, but had his second-highest field goal percentage of the season.

He made nine of his 12 shots for a 75 percent mark from the field, more than 12 percentage points higher than his season average.

The most impressive part of Miller’s performance might be the fact that he was able to achieve this level of production off the bench.

He got the start in the previous game against Arizona in the wake of senior forward Jeff Pollard’s hand injury. Miller struggled in that game finishing with only six points.

Miller did not let his previous game get to him and effect his performance against Arizona State. He returned to the bench contributed 28 incredibly solid minutes, the most minutes he has played in a non-overtime game.