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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Victory is Sweet (16)

Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Arizona Wildcats took on the Texas Longhorns during third-round action of the 2011 NCAA Basketball Championships Sunday, March 20, in the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. The Wildcats held off a Longhorn charge to advance 70-69.

TULSA, Okla. — Of all the blown leads resulting in painful losses and unbelievable wins, this one might have taken the cake.

Arizona looked doomed, down 69-67 with 14 seconds left, and the ball given to the Longhorns on the Wildcats’ end of the court. But a five-second call was issued to Texas on the inbounds, the Wildcats (29-7) ran their own inbounds play without a timeout, and guard Kyle Fogg found Derrick Williams on a pick-and-roll for an And 1 that Arizona’s star completed to give the Wildcats a 70-69 victory over Texas in Tulsa, Okla.

The second heroic, game-winning play gave the man his teammates call Superman a ticket for the No. 5 seed Wildcats to the Sweet 16, where they’ll face No. 1 seed Duke on Thursday at 6:45 p.m. in Anaheim, Calif.

“”We actually ran a play called 21 Around,”” Fogg said. “”I came off the screen looking for a shot. Cory Joseph did a great job on me. The great things about our plays, they’ll all have endings. The ending to that play is me and Derrick’s pick-and-roll.

“”He just made a big-time play.””

Williams struggled throughout the game, scoring 17 and grabbing nine rebounds on 4-for-14 field goal shooting and a 9-for-15 free throw mark. Before Williams hit his game winning shot, with Arizona down 69-67, his shot in the lane was blocked by Texas forward Tristan Thompson, giving the ball back to the Longhorns with seemingly no hope.

Forward Jordan Hamilton, who scored  18 points on 7-for-18 shooting, mostly against UA forward Solomon Hill, rebounded the Williams’ miss and called the Longhorns’ last timeout with 14 seconds left.

During the huddle, UA head coach Sean Miller instructed his team to switch every screen on the inbounds.

Texas (28-8) couldn’t find an open player and the official threw up a five-second call. Replays showed that inbounder Cory Joseph called the timeout before the infraction.

“”I had five seconds before the kid turned and signaled a timeout,”” referee Richard Cartmell said. “”I had to make a decision whether it was five seconds or a timeout, and I made the decision it was five seconds because I had counted five seconds before he called timeout.””

That gave Arizona the ball back. Fogg took the inbounds and Williams set a screen for him.

“”I came off (the screen) hard and I heard (the defense) say ‘switch,”” Fogg said. “”I just waited a second, and there was a little bit of space so I threaded the needle on the bounce pass.””

Williams hit a left bank shot while being fouled, then hit the free throw with nine seconds left. Texas’ J’Covan Brown, who led UT in scoring with 23 points behind shooting 13-for-13 from the foul stripe, missed a final shot attempt.

Once again, the Wildcats allowed a large lead to slip away. After a rough start, Arizona settled in behind strong play from Los Angeles-area players Hill and freshman guard Jordin Mayes, who each scored 16 points.

Unlike the game prior, at which the Wildcats shot a woeful 5-for-19 from 3-point range against Memphis, Arizona took advantage of an aggressive, collapsing defense on Texas’ side, shooting 8-for-14 for the game.

Though Williams shot 0-for-6 in the first half, Arizona went into the halftime break ahead 36-25 behind 23 points between Hill and Mayes.

“”Our gameplan was just to rebound and be tough,”” point guard Momo Jones said. “”Me and D-Will talked before the game, and he told me, ‘Look I’m not going to go out and get 20. I’m going to go out, and I’m gonna block (UT forward) Tristan Thompson out. If he doesn’t get offensive rebounds and he doesn’t score, it’s almost impossible for them to win.'””

Thompson, a highly-touted big man, struggled against Williams and center Kyryl Natyazhko, finishing with three points and six rebounds.

“”These guys … played all the way to the last horn, and that’s what’s required in this tournament,”” Miller said. “”I can’t tell you how excited we are to be moving to the Sweet 16.””

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