Arizona basketball: Broken promise breaks Buffs' back

Lyons vowed never again to shoot 9 3s, but 9th the charm
2013-03-15T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T15:32:54Z Arizona basketball: Broken promise breaks Buffs' backPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 15, 2013 12:00 am  • 

LAS VEGAS - After he missed eight of nine three-point attempts in an ugly Arizona Wildcats win at Utah last month, Mark Lyons took to Twitter, the confessional of his generation.

"I won't ever my life shoot that many threes again in a game," he wrote.

The senior had tried eight in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinal Thursday when he made the most unbelievable shot of the UA's 79-69 win against Colorado.

The Wildcats passed the ball in with 2:04 to play, up four. There was 1 second left on the MGM Grand Garden Arena shot clock.

The UA called a play to get either Lyons or Grant Jerrett a desperation jump shot. They had only enough time to catch and shoot.

Lyons came off screens along the baseline and ran toward the corner in front of the UA bench.

Kevin Parrom passed the ball while Lyons' back was to the basket.

He caught it, turned, and launched the three-pointer.

"I said, 'That has a chance,'" Lyons said.

It went in.

"God answered on that one," Parrom said, "because he really just threw it up."

Guard Jordin Mayes said the prayer brought "a relief" to the team, along with a seven-point lead.

Jerrett had a simpler, disbelieving reaction: "Holy (expletive)."

It was three-point shot No. 9 - the one Lyons promised to never take again in a game.

"The ninth one was the best one," Lyons said, smiling. "I'll take it. I'll take it."

The New Yorker said he was "wide open." The Buffaloes were coached to switch on every screen, to prevent such a shot.

"The play of the game," CU coach Tad Boyle said. "That was a breakdown on our part, defensively. We practiced that situation. We just didn't do what we were supposed to do, and it cost us. When you play against good teams, they make you pay for your mistakes."

Given Lyons' up-and-down season, Thursday couldn't have been that simple.

The senior was 3 of 12 when he launched the three, having made only 1 of 8 from long range.

"It was a couple of them that I had to put up, shot clock winding down," he said. "It wasn't shots that I actually wanted to shoot."

On the possession after the three-pointer - Askia Booker answered with a three of his own - Lyons was dribbling at the top of the key and simply lost the ball.

He turned it over, up four with 1:20 left.

Lyons said the ball hit CU forward Andre Roberson's foot, and that, otherwise, he thought he had a path to the basket.

"I relish the moments like that," he said. "You gotta take the good with the bad."

The good? Lyons made all four of his free throws to ice the game, finishing with 14 points, three assists and two turnovers.

"I told him today, 'Make sure you get the ball,'" Jerrett said.

"Because he always hits his free throws. He's clutch."

Lyons, ever-confident, agreed.

"I'm just a playmaker," he said. "Not a point guard, not a shooting guard. Just a playmaker."

The question about his natural position has dogged Lyons since he transferred from Xavier for his senior season and was asked to patch the Wildcats' point guard spot despite being, at best, a combo guard in the past.

"Our offense is not one of those, the point guard dominates the ball, things like that," he said. "All of us handle the ball, and it's not just in my hands.

"I'm not going to be the guy getting nine assists and things like that, because that's not what our offense calls for.

"Our offense calls for us to all make each other better."

Lyons did that Thursday. Even if it took a while - and a stroke of luck.

"I just couldn't believe," Jerrett said, "that he made that."

Contact reporter Patrick Finley at pfinley@azstarnet.com or 573-4145. On Twitter @PatrickFinley

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Pac-12 basketball standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Stanford 0 0 0 0.000 4 0 0 1.000
Arizona 0 0 0 0.000 5 0 0 1.000
Washington 0 0 0 0.000 4 0 0 1.000
UCLA 0 0 0 0.000 4 1 0 0.800
Utah 0 0 0 0.000 3 1 0 0.750
California 0 0 0 0.000 3 1 0 0.750
Colorado 0 0 0 0.000 3 1 0 0.750
Arizona State 0 0 0 0.000 3 2 0 0.600
Oregon 0 0 0 0.000 3 2 0 0.600
Oregon State 0 0 0 0.000 3 2 0 0.600
USC 0 0 0 0.000 3 3 0 0.500
Washington State 0 0 0 0.000 1 3 0 0.250

AP Top 25


Pac-12 basketball schedule

Teams Date Time
San Jose State at
Washington
11/27 56-78
UC-Santa Barbara at
Washington State
11/27 71-43
North Dakota at
Utah
11/28 6:00 pm
Alabama State at
Utah
11/29 12:00 am
Colgate at
Arizona State
11/29 12:00 am
Lipscomb at
Colorado
11/30 12:00 pm
Stanford at
DePaul
11/30 12:00 pm
USC at
New Mexico
11/30 2:00 pm
California at
Fresno State
11/30 4:00 pm
Portland State at
Oregon
11/30 6:00 pm
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