Another game, another shot at the buzzer, another Derrick Williams block. Arizona fans have nothing more they can ask of him this year. The rest of the team? Well that's another story.
In Friday afternoon's match up between number 12 Memphis and number 5 Arizona both teams had their hands full. Arizona used what was left of the "luck" from St. Patricks Day to pull out an exciting 77-75 victory in the second round in the West side of the bracket.
This was a back and forthgame that started slow, but once the teams got comfortable, big runs from both sides kept this game intense.
However, what was not comfortable was how Arizona felt shooting the ball. Arizona shot only 46 percent from the field and a horrid 26 percent from behind the arc.
Memphis on the other hand shot 49 percent from the field and a very solid 40 percent from behind the three point line.
What made this game alot closer than it should have been was Memphis's outside shooting. The Tigers are a team that shoots only 33 percent from deep. Also, Arizona's inability to break a press had many UA fans thinking back to the 2005 game that-will-not-be-named. (The 2:24 mark is the beginning of the end. Watch if and only if, there are no sharp objects around you.)
The classic 5/12 match up always brings a great game and this year was no different. Luckily, for people who read this site, the "good side" won.
At the end of the game, Memphis's press defense almost won the game for them. Arizona had trouble beyond belief with finding the open man, UA almost blew it.
With around six seconds left, Joe Jackson was fouled on purpose to keep Memphis from attempting the game tying three. He made the first and intentionally missed the second. Memphis's Wesley Witherspoon got the rebound but was blocked by Williams.
Jamelle Horne was fouled after he corralled the rebound and the game was all but over at that point.
Derrick Williams shouldered the load, especially in the first half, and was the games leading scorer at 22. Arizona also got 18 points from Momo Jones, but he attributed zero assists, not especially a positive saying he is the teams starting point guard.
The Wildcats got significant contributions from Jamelle Horne and Kevin Parrom, who both had nine points. They also got help from Jordin Mayes and Solomon Hill who had eight and seven points respectively.
This game told many stories on both sides of the floor, luckily, Arizona will be the team that is able to write a new chapter in next game.
For Arizona, their point guard play has to get better. Too many times Jones took an ill-advised running shot or went the length of the court on a fast break when a dump off pass was right there.
Another area that needs to improve is realizing mismatches when they present themselves. Derrick Williams was the best player on the court and for large gaps of the game, he was never given the ball. He is the BEST player on the team, let him do his job.
Lastly, Arizona's defense was very suspect especially on defensive rotations. Too many times Memphis drove to the rim and the Arizona big man was facing the other direction.
So those issues should/will be addressed by the Coaching staff before their next game.
The story on Memphis is that their youth as well as time running out got them in the end. This is a very, very, very athletic team but one that had trouble at the free throw line. Sadly for Memphis, athletic does not mean better as the final score affirmed.
At the end of the day, through all the mistakes, Arizona will be the team moving on. They will play the Texas Longhorns on Sunday. A time for that game has not been decided yet. It should be one of the best games of the weekend, pitting two teams that can fill up the stat sheet as well as the highlights. Be ready for another close one.
It should be noted that at the beginning of the year, freshman Will Barton guaranteed Memphis would win the national championship. Now I'm not one to go off on a player for feeling confident about the upcoming season, but it seems unbecoming. This might just be the type of person and player I am, but I always feel you let your play do the talking and if you do win it all, go ahead and talk all you want. Lastly, every time a player guarantees a victory, that team seems to lose (see Steelers vs Patriots). So next time, talk after you do something, not before. It'll save you some humility and make you look like an adult.