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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Two last chances

Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball team took on the Connecticut Huskies in the NCAA West Region Final on Saturday, March 26, 2011, in the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The Huskies advanced to the Final Four with a 65-63 win.

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Aside from conjuring up one extraordinary buzzer-beater, Arizona players couldn’t conjure up any explanations for their 65-63 loss to the UConn Huskies.

They simply didn’t make the shots that counted, finishing with a 39 percent shooting average and falling in Saturday’s Elite Eight at the Honda Center, the third loss out of three tries in the Wildcats’ history of playing in the Anaheim, Calif., Regional Final.

And the Wildcats (30-8) especially didn’t hit the two big shots in the final eight seconds.

“”We didn’t hit a lot of shots that we normally hit,”” said forward Derrick Williams, who led Arizona with 20 points despite first-half foul trouble. “”That’s what it comes down to.””

On the game’s final play with Arizona down 65-63, head coach Sean Miller called guard Kyle Fogg’s number. One of the few players shooting the ball well Saturday, Miller wanted to go for the game-winning 3-pointer had it been open, a two if it wasn’t.

The Huskies covered Fogg well off a high stagger screen. UConn over-helped on Williams, and instead of running a pick-and-roll with Fogg, forced him to pop outside the 3-point line. He took a 3-pointer with about eight seconds on the clock but missed with enough time for his team to have a second attempt.

“”I think Derrick felt like his man helped a lot, and he popped out,”” Miller said. “”It’s hard to argue with that. He missed it. And what you hope many times is you get a second shot and we did.””

Senior Jamelle Horne helped tap the offensive rebound to Fogg, who drove into the lane and kicked to Horne. He had drifted to the ring wing — the same place he had hit a 3-pointer with 1:02 left that brought the Wildcats within two points.

Most everyone in the building thought it was going in.

“”That’s how the game is sometimes,”” said forward Kevin Parrom, who had a good look at the final shot from the bench. “”It looked good from where I was.””

“”I thought it was going in honestly,”” said UConn guard Kemba Walker, who scored 20 points, including the deciding 64 and 65th points on a jumper over the outstretched arms of Williams. “”He (Horne) had just hit a big shot, and everything was in slow motion.””

But it rimmed out, and Horne stood frozen in the right corner of the floor as the Huskies poured onto the court in jubilation.

“”Everyone will always focus on the last play, last shot,”” Miller said. “”Jamelle should feel fine. The big shot that he made to give us a chance. .. we wouldn’t have been in that situation.””

Horne sat in the locker room afterward, staring blankly at his locker before he would take off his Arizona jersey for the last time.

“”We knew we were fortunate to come out of those games that we won. We knew it would be that type of game,”” Horne said. “”Being on the other side of it sucks. It’s all over.””


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