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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Late fouls doom ‘Cats

    UA forward Chase Budinger reacts to a foul in Tuesday nights 72-71 loss to Alabama-Birmingham in McKale Center. The Wildcats wont advance to New York in the NIT Season Tipoff.
    UA forward Chase Budinger reacts to a foul in Tuesday night’s 72-71 loss to Alabama-Birmingham in McKale Center. The Wildcats won’t advance to New York in the NIT Season Tipoff.

    The Arizona men’s basketball team made a valiant effort to come back from a 14-point deficit in McKale Center on Tuesday night, only to have their ticket to New York taken away with .8 seconds left.

    In a bizarre turn of events, the Wildcats (1-1) lost 72-71 to Alabama-Birmingham (3-0) in the second round of the Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tipoff.

    UA guard Nic Wise missed a would-be game-winning jumper from the right side, and the ball fell into the hands of UAB guard Paul Delaney III. As Delaney crossed midcourt, UA forward Jamelle Horne dove for the ball carrier’s legs and was called for a flagrant foul with .8 seconds left and the scored tied at 71.

    “”Delaney was heading up the sideline and Jamelle, I don’t think he had a clock in his head,”” said UA interim head coach Russ Pennell. “”I think he was thinking (Delaney) could get all the way to the rim.””

    Added UAB forward Lawrence Kinnard: “”We were prepared to go into overtime and when he fouled Paul, it was like a blessing.””

    Delaney made his first shot at the line and threw a fist in the air in celebration. He missed the second shot, the ball was inbounded and time ran out, giving Pennell his first loss at the helm of the Wildcat program.

    With 29.6 seconds to go, Arizona guard Garland Judkins was sent to the line. He made his first shot to bring the Wildcats within two at 71-69. He missed his second free throw, but freshman Kyle Fogg got the rebound and made a layup to tie the game at 71. He immediately fouled Aaron Johnson on the inbound pass, sending him to the line.

    “”Kyle Fogg, we put him in when we were behind, putting him in to foul,”” Pennell said. “”He scored, got excited and fouled.””

    Added Fogg: “”I should’ve focused on the score and knew that. I wasn’t thinking. I should’ve played straight-up defense.””

    Johnson missed his shot at the line, and UA forward Jordan Hill pulled down his 22nd rebound of the game -ÿa career high and new NIT Tipoff record – to go with 13 points. The Wildcats called a timeout and drew up a play for Wise to take the last shot.

    After the game, UA forward Chase Budinger, who scored a game-high 27 points while playing all 40 minutes, told Pennell, “”Coach, next time I’d like to have the ball,”” Pennell said.

    Budinger took part of the blame for the loss.

    “”Me being the leader out there on the court, I gotta really be focused in, especially during the end of the game,”” he said. “”I should’ve really been on top of that to really let the guys know not to foul.””

    But it wasn’t just the last few moments of the game that plagued the Wildcats.

    Arizona was down 41-31 at halftime after allowing the Blazers to shoot 50 percent (16-of-32) in the first half, while only shooting 39.3 percent (11-of-28) themselves.

    As a whole, UAB shot 45 percent (27-of-60), including 13-of-30 from beyond the arc. Forward Robert Vaden led his team with 20 points and four 3s.

    Six different Blazers sank at least one 3-pointer in the game.

    “”We get open looks all the time,”” said UAB head coach Mike Davis. “”We came to the NIT and beat a great team, and this gives us an opportunity to go to New York and get some nationally televised games.””

    It seemed every time Arizona scored in the first half, the fans got loud and then the Blazers answered with a hush through the net.

    At the 4:47 mark, Hill fought for a layup, only to have Ed Berrios hit a 3 just 22 seconds later. Then, with 3:05 left, Onobun handed the ball off to Judkins in the lane for a layup, a signal for Johnson to hit a another trey.

    “”UAB did a great job at penetrate and kicking, probably one of the best I’ve seen,”” Budinger said. “”We’ve been focusing a lot on defense, and we still gotta get better. We need to help and rotate.””

    Arizona led 16-12 9:35 into the game, but lost the lead 1:07 later, never to see it again.

    “”It obviously shows our immaturity on the floor, especially in crunch time,”” Horne said. “”Hopefully we will take this as a learning experience, because I know I will. And as a team we’ll grow.””

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