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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Cats collapse in Cali

    USC guard Daniel Hacket shoots over UA forward Chase Budinger in Saturday nights 65-64 Trojan win at the Galen Center. Hacket made the game-winning shot at the free-throw line after he was fouled by Jamelle Horne with 1.3 seconds left.
    USC guard Daniel Hacket shoots over UA forward Chase Budinger in Saturday night’s 65-64 Trojan win at the Galen Center. Hacket made the game-winning shot at the free-throw line after he was fouled by Jamelle Horne with 1.3 seconds left.

    USC 65, Arizona 64

    LOS ANGELES – Justified or not, Jamelle Horne endured another nightmare-esque role of the scapegoat after yet another inexplicable loss.

    Once again, with merely a second remaining in a tied game, Horne committed another mind-boggling foul in a replica scenario from earlier this season.

    The result? An exact – yet still unfathomable – one-point loss.

    “”He made a mistake. A lot of us make mistakes,”” said UA interim head coach Russ Pennell. “”It’s unfortunate that it came down the way it did, but we’ll be there for him. The thing is, he played a great game.””

    As the final seconds ticked off the clock Saturday afternoon in the Galen Center, USC’s Daniel Hackett drove down the court while most anticipated an upcoming overtime period. Horne tightly guarded Hackett until halfcourt – then the whistle blew.

    And although it was unintentional, Horne’s nudge suddenly turned an initially impossible last-second desperation shot into a gift at the charity stripe.

    Hackett sunk the game-winning free throw with 1.3 seconds remaining and missed the second shot purposely, giving the Trojans a 65-64 comeback victory.

    A dejected Arizona team walked slowly off the court, while a jubilant USC celebrated with the final horn. It was an all-too-familiar scene that the Wildcats relived from Nov. 18 against University of Alabama at Birmingham in McKale Center. Horne’s improbable decision drew national attention after he intentionally reached and fouled at halfcourt with the game tied 71-71, giving the Blazers a game-winning free throw opportunity.

    The parallels between the USC and UAB losses were so similar that players noticed afterward. Pennell even wore the same suit and tie,””which won’t be worn ever again,”” Pennell said in a Monday press conference.

    Arizona (11-7, 2-4 Pacific 10 Conference) returned home winless from their southern California road trip, having suffered a 23-point blowout loss to No. 7 UCLA just two days earlier.

    Horne’s foul ended a nearly four-minute downhill stretch for the Wildcats. After controlling the game for the first 37 minutes, Arizona felt the momentum violently swing after the refs called an intentional foul on Nic Wise with 3:50 remaining.

    “”It’s disappointing for all of us,”” Pennell said. “”But I’m not sure that (Horne’s) play was as big as the four-point play on (Wise’s) intentional foul.””

    The call resulted in a four-point swing after USC’s Dwight Lewis converted the ensuing free throws. The Trojans got the possession back, Lewis drew another foul and also made both of those shots, putting USC up 58-56 in their first lead of the second half.

    Lewis led the Trojans with 21 points, including a stretch where he scored 12 straight points late in the second half.

    The controversial intentional foul call on Wise was reviewed by the officials. After the game, when asked if he’ll call the Pac-10 offices regarding the play, Pennell said he didn’t know.

    “”It was just an unfortunate situation,”” Pennell said. “”You guys ought to go take a look at it and write what you see.””

    Added Wise: “”I was laying on the ground out of bounds and the guy just stepped on top of me. I had to get up and they called a technical foul. (The referee) said it was unsportsmanlike for him to do that but said I still shouldn’t have used him to get up.””

    Aside from the intentional foul call, Wise also committed a crucial turnover with 4 seconds remaining. Arizona had an opportunity to break the 64-64 tie, but Wise failed to inbounds his pass to Chase Budinger.

    “”I was trying to find Chase but the ball was deflected and they didn’t call it out on them,”” Wise said.

    With 1:33 remaining, Kyle Fogg intercepted a pass from Dwight Lewis to put Arizona up 63-62. Fogg fouled out with 32 seconds remaining, joining Zane Johnson (6 points) on the bench after he had already fouled out with 2:55 remaining.

    “”It was a tough loss,”” Budinger said after pausing. “”We controlled the tempo, we controlled the game except that last three seconds. Like I’ve said before, you’ve got to play the whole 40 minutes.””

    And 1

    Arizona shot particularly well from beyond the arc, highlighted by a 6-of-10 first half. Budinger led the Wildcats with 19 points and 7 boards.

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