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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Arizona fights for another comeback win

    Call them the comeback kids.

    Six days after beating then-No. 9 Texas A&M despite being down 20 points in the first half, the No. 22 Arizona men’s basketball team rallied from a late deficit for a 78-72 overtime win over Illinois in Chicago’s United Center Saturday.

    The Wildcats (6-2) trailed the Illini (5-3) the entire game until forward Jordan Hill dunked with 55 seconds left in regulation to give Arizona a 59-58 lead.

    Another two points by Hill with eight seconds left tied the game at 61 before overtime.

    Hill finished with career highs in points (23) and rebounds (14). His roommate, guard Nic Wise, scored a career-high 11 points with eight assists and showed an immense amount of intensity and hustle.

    Wise worked from the point guard position most of the game, allowing guard Jerryd Bayless – who scored six points from the charity stripe in the final 31 seconds of overtime – to score 20 points after only having three in the first half.

    Arizona led for most of the extra period, going up 69-65 on a Chase Budinger jumper with 1:36 left. The Wildcats never looked back.

    Illini guard Trent Meacham and center Shaun Pruitt scored the only points for their team in overtime.

    Pruitt finished the game with 24 points and nine rebounds and Meacham had 16 points.

    “”It’s definitely a big win for us,”” said UA assistant coach Josh Pastner.

    In the final seconds of regulation, Wise stripped the ball from guard Chester Frazier just outside Illinois’ 3-point line. With no timeouts left, Wise called for one, but the referees did not recognize it as the buzzer went off.

    The NCAA rules state that a player or a coach can’t make a verbal or visual request for a timeout when the team has no timeouts remaining, but the Wildcats were let off the hook.

    The Illini controlled much of the second half, going up by as much as 12, but a Bayless layup with 3:42 left, brought the Wildcats within two at 57-55. Just over a minute later, Wise drove hard down the lane, spun 360 degrees and was fouled on the layup attempt. Hitting both free throws, he brought the Wildcats within one at 58-57 before Hill’s go-ahead dunk.

    With the game starting at 10 a.m. Arizona time, the Wildcats began the game cold, trailing Illinois 35-28 at halftime.

    UA forward Chase Budinger and Bayless combined for only four points in the first 20 minutes, three coming from Bayless with just 19 seconds left in the half.

    Bayless was 1-of-7 from the floor, while Budinger didn’t make any of his four shots. He finished the game with 8 points on 2-of-8 shooting.

    The Illini started the game hot on a 12-0 run on 5-of-7 shooting, forcing the Wildcats to turn the ball over seven times in their first nine possessions.

    Hill kept the Wildcats in the game, scoring eight of Arizona’s first 11 points, finishing the half with 12 points and nine rebounds.

    UA guard Jawann McClellan scored the first two points for Arizona at the 14:48 mark.

    Wise hit a trey from the left side to cap off an 11-0 Wildcat run and tie the game at 16 at the 10:16 mark.

    But the Illini didn’t let up. Forward Mike Dave hit a jump shot at the 9:59 mark to start a 9-0 rally for Illinois.

    Pruitt put the Illini up 13 at 35-22 with 2:08 left.

    Arizona scraped up six unanswered points but still went into the half down 35-28.

    And 1

    Last year in Phoenix, Arizona came back from a 16-point first-half deficit to beat Illinois 84-72. …

    NBA legend Michael Jordan was present for the game. His son, Jeff Jordan, is a walk-on freshman, but did not play. …

    Illinois dropped to 31-8 all-time in the United Center.

    For more on Arizona’s win, check out the Wildcat‘s blog.

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