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Arizona 70, Texas 69 -- Five Seconds of Luck

You probably were skeptical, even you, hard-core Wildcat fan.

Down by two with a switching defense on a Texas inbounds play with 14 seconds left, the Arizona Wildcats forced a five-second call, and forward Derrick Williams again proved to be Superman Sunday by scoring a game-winning And 1 to put the Wildcats in a Sweet 16 match-up with the Duke Blue Devils.

That game is set for 6:45 PT on Thursday and will tip off in Anaheim, Calif., an interesting storyline considering the six California natives on UA's roster (and of course, the 2001 National Championship rematch of sorts).

The Tulsa magic continued for Arizona, who somehow managed to beat a No. 4 seed Longhorns team that was once nationally ranked behind a lackluster offensive night for Williams.

Though he finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, it came with an ugly 4-for-14 shooting tally. He was aided by Solomon Hill and Jordin Mayes, who scored 16 apice, 23 of those in the first half.

But Williams did his job on defense. Facing freshman and NBA prospect Tristan Thompson, Williams focused on keeping the physical Longhorns out of the rebounding edge. Thompson scored three points, two on the first possession of the game, and only grabbed six rebounds.

Sharpshooter Jordan Hamilton of Texas scored 18, but was nearly equalled by Hill, a longtime nemisis in the Los Angeles high school circuit.

And with point guard Momo Jones missing all six of his shots, freshman back-up Jordin Mayes nailed 6-of-7 shots, hitting all four 3s, and missing only on a bunny layup.

The Wildcats went into the halftime break with a 36-25 lead, playing one of their best defensive halves of the year. At that point, Williams only had three points, three fouls and a turnover.

Out of the locker rooms, however, Hamilton tried to take over, hitting two 3-pointers to reel in Arizona. J'Covan Brown also erupted, helping give Texas the go-ahead lead of 69-67, his final of 23 points.

But after Williams' last-ditch attempt was blocked by Thompson with 14 seconds left, Hamilton got the rebound only to call (what I think most people would agree with) an unnecessary timeout, Texas' last. That gave UA the opportunity for force what apparently is a controversial five-second count.

Fogg took the inbounds and couldn't get open, instead using a Williams screen and bounce pass to find the forward slashing open to the bucket. Hamilton fouled Williams, who made both the field goal and the resulting free throw.

Nine seconds remained, and Brown couldn't hit a shot in the lane to give Texas the victory.


In all it was a game of weird circumstance. Two of Arizona's pivotal players disappeared at times and two usually quiet contributors stepped up. Reserve Brendon Lavender also scored eight crucial points, hitting two 3s to give Arizona its first double-digit lead.

But defense won it all for Arizona, both in the final 10 seconds and in quieting Thompson. Hill helped put Hamilton into a poor-shooting night, and the Wildcats also only had 12 turnovers.

An 8-for-14 shooting night beyond the arc didn't hurt either. Credit Williams for drawing such attention and then, of course, the shooters for knocking everything down.

One of the most interesting things postgame is how the officials handled everything. The five-second count, Williams' 3-point play that might not have been a foul and a no-call on Brown's last-second attempt all could've gone either way.

But in the end, Arizona is moving on. That's all that matters, right?