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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Jamelle Horne: ‘I’ve got to make that shot’ to reach Final Four

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ten years from now, Jamelle Horne might wake up in the middle of the night to a cold sweat.

What if I had made that shot?

By then he might have a wife and children. He might even coach their youth basketball teams.

Maybe Horne visits McKale Center for a game and proudly smiles when the 3D jumbotron catches him sitting courtside for a standing ovation.

Maybe while he’s looking up, the banners grab his eyes and it’s Sean Miller’s Final Four teams from 2013 to 2019 — the year before he left to coach at Pittsburgh.

Maybe he wonders if 2011 should be up there.

“”That’s literally a shot you dream about taking,”” Horne said after the game. “”If I could take away one thing, it would be making that shot.””

Down by two points, Arizona needed one basket for a trip to the Final Four. Derrick Williams launched a 3-pointer with eight seconds left giving Arizona enough time for an offensive rebound and second game-winner attempt.

Williams missed and the ball bounced around the congested key. Horne wound up with it in the same spot he had made the prior clutch 3-pointer a few possessions earlier.

“”The ball just found me there,”” Horne said. “”This is going up. Miss or make I knew it was a great shot.

“”I had a great look at it. It felt great,”” he added. “”It looked like it was going in but it just chipped the front of the rim.””

The ball bounced back into the frantic key. The buzzer sounded and Connecticut danced into the Final Four.

Connecticut 65, Arizona 63.

“”UConn took our hats, took our shirts and took our nets,”” Horne said, “”and it hurts to swallow.””

Nine times out of 10, Horne makes that shot. 

And three of its four games, Arizona did make that clutch shot to survive and play another day in the NCAA Tournament.

This side of a close one stung immediately.

Williams walked out of the locker room with teary red eyes. Kyle Fogg buried his head in his uniform in the corner like a statue. And Horne took several minutes to speak. 

He sat motionless facing an empty locker. The first reporter who asked Horne to talk was turned down. Arizona’s sports information director chatted with Horne for a bit and then he opened up.

In reality, it was too soon to ask anything. It was way too soon to comprehend what had just happened and articulate it with composure.

But Horne did — taking it hard on himself — and eventually the rest of the team realized that one missed shot didn’t define this season.

Fans on Twitter said they couldn’t have asked for a better season. People called it unforgettable, uplifting, spectacular, amazing, miraculous and more. Arizona exceeded all expectations and played in an Elite Eight with house money and maximum heart.

“”I think everyone in the room knows I’ve got to make that shot,”” he said. “”It’s just going to be hard to sleep on that for a while.””

Tonight, maybe it is tough to sleep on. Maybe it’ll be tough tomorrow too, or next week watching the Final Four on television or next month when Derrick Williams decides if he’ll leave early for the NBA Draft.

But eventually all Arizona fans will sleep well knowing this team won 30 games, a Pac-10 title and advanced to the Elite EIght over Duke this season.

Because that’s really what people will remember about Horne’s senior year.

— Bryan Roy is an Interdisciplinary Studies senior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu or on twitter @wildcathoops

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