TULSA, Okla. (AP) – Arizona didn’t forget how to advance in its one-year absence from the NCAA tournament.
Derrick Williams’ three-point play with 9.6 seconds remaining lifted the Wildcats to a 70-69 win over Texas in the third round of the NCAA tournament Sunday night.
The Wildcats (29-7) led by as many as 13 points in the first half and were up for most of the game before J’Covan Brown’s jumper put the Longhorns ahead 69-67. Williams misfired on a game-tying attempt with 14.5 seconds remaining, but Texas (28-8) was called for a five-second violation on the inbound pass to give Arizona one more chance.
Replays appeared to show the call came before the count reached five.
Williams took advantage, slipping to the baseline on a pick-and-roll and taking the pass from Kyle Fogg. His shot fell through to tie the game, and his free throw put the Wildcats into the regional semifinals for the first time since last year’s absence snapped a 25-year tournament streak.
Brown had one final chance for the Longhorns, driving the length of the court and into the lane. But he was met by a trio of Arizona defenders, including Williams, and his wild shot went high off the backboard and missed. Time expired during the battle for the rebound.
Jordan Hamilton opened the second half by hitting each of his first two 3-point attempts for Texas, which closed to within 38-35 after Cory Joseph curled off a screen for a jumper.
The Longhorns stayed close for the rest of the second half behind Brown, who scored 21 of his 23 points after halftime. He was 13-of-13 from the foul line, making him a perfect 25-of-25 in two tournament games.
Brown’s last basket appeared to lift the Longhorns into the regional semifinals for the first time since 2008.
But the five-second call and Williams’ score proved too much to overcome. Williams finished with 17 points.
Neither team shot well in the first half, but it was Arizona that made the shots that mattered most.
The Wildcats shot 38.7 percent but were 6-of-11 on 3-point attempts. Jordan Mayes hit all three of his tries from behind the arc and was 4-of-5 overall, with his only miss coming on a fast-break layup attempt.
Williams capped an 11-0 run after he was fouled hard by his former AAU teammate Hamilton on a breakaway and hit two free throws to put Arizona up 19-2.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)