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The Daily Wildcat

 

Hard foul

A tweeter asked @WildcatHoops: “”Is Oklahoma’s Nick Thompson the new Aubrey Coleman?””

Two seasons ago, Coleman, a Houston forward, stomped on ex-Wildcat Chase Budinger’s face to become pivotal — both physically and figuratively — to save a reeling season into a Sweet 16 run.

Yesterday McKale Center felt a similar vibe, the tension and adrenaline fueled from an altercation.

Running back to defend a fast break, Thompson threw down UA stud Derrick Williams in the first half.

Williams fell hard. UA forward Kyryl Natyazhko ran over to protect his teammate and drew a technical foul in the dust-up. Fans chanted “”kick him out!””

“”I saw a replay. I thought it was intentional,”” Williams said. “”I guess that’s how they played. They played like that the whole game. He pushed me on my back going for the dunk. If I see someone going up for a dunk, I wouldn’t push them in the back.””

An animated Sean Miller said he wanted officials to review the replay but, “”they don’t listen to me. I’m honestly like someone in the eighth row eating popcorn.””

Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel shared a different perspective.

“”It was a hard foul. How do you foul Derrick Williams? Do you foul him soft?”” he said. “”There was nothing intentional or malicious intended by Nick (Thompson) on that play.””

Arizona maintained a cushy double-digit lead throughout the game. The crowd maintained a vicious hatred toward Thompson.

Every time he touched the ball, they booed.

“”It was kinda like watching LeBron (James) play back in Cleveland every time he touched the ball,”” said UA wing Solomon Hill.

The Budinger-Coleman altercation two years ago grabbed 6 million views on YouTube after popular sports blogs and websites linked to the video. While much of the attention was race-oriented — which went as far as prompting the FBI to investigate threatening emails and phone calls — yesterday’s hard flagrant foul against Williams could serve as a rallying point or reinforcement to Arizona’s chemistry.

“”To me it’s one of many plays this year that will be talked about,”” Miller said. “”You don’t want to see plays like that.””

Williams once again carried the load, delivering a 16-point, 4-rebound performance after a week of national accolades. Basketballprospectus.com even made a case for Williams as national player of the year thus far.

“”I think every game I’m going to have a target,”” Williams said. “”Whatever team we play, I’m going to see double teams and traps.””

Hill added: “”People are going to go after him.””

— Bryan Roy is a interdisciplinary studies senior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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