Arizona Wildcats lose 64-63 to Wisconsin in NCAA West Region final

2014-03-29T17:15:00Z 2014-03-29T22:42:36Z Arizona Wildcats lose 64-63 to Wisconsin in NCAA West Region finalBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 29, 2014 5:15 pm  • 

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Honda Center continued to be a house of horrors for the Arizona Wildcats tonight.

Arizona lost 64-63 in overtime to Wisconsin in the NCAA West Region final, the fourth time it has lost an Elite Eight game at the Orange County arena in as many tries.

Nick Johnson was called for an offensive charge with 3.2 seconds left and, after Arizona recovered the ball after an officials' review with 2.3 seconds left, he missed a final 18-footer as time expired.

The loss ended Arizona’s season at 33-5, its fourth straight Elite Eight loss and fourth straight Elite Eight loss at the Honda Center, dating back to 1998. Wisconsin moved to 30-7, with coach Bo Ryan reaching the Final Four for the first time in his career.

It was Arizona’s first overtime game in the NCAA tournament since the Wildcats lost 90-89 to Illinois in the 2005 Elite Eight.

Wisconsin had a one-point lead entering the final minute of overtime, and after Wisconsin’s Traevon Jackson couldn’t score on a drive inside, the Wildcats had a chance to go ahead with 29.3 seconds left.

But T.J. McConnell missed a jumper with 10 seconds left, and while he rebounded it and the ball later went to Johnson, Johnson was called for an offensive foul. Replays showed Johnson gave the Badgers’ Josh Gasser a slight shove with his left arm as he drove to the basket.

Wisconsin then inbounded the ball but it went out of bounds and officials reviewed it, giving Arizona the ball back. Gabe York inbounded it to Johnson, who drove left but missed his shot.

Early in the overtime period, Arizona answered the Badgers’ first two shots, getting a three from Aaron Gordon after Ben Brust hit one for Wisconsin and a dunk from Gordon after Kaminsky scored inside.

That left it tied at 59 with 2:55 left and Frank Kaminsky hit a desperation hook shot near the end of the shot clock to make it 61-59.

Nick Johnson missed a jumper with two minutes left and went after Josh Gasser, who had the rebound, earning Johnson his first foul. Gasser then proceeded to hit the first end of a one-and-one, giving Wisconsin a 62-59 lead.

But Kaleb Tarczewski hit two free throws to make it 61-61 before Kaminsky came back with a tip-in to put Wisconsin up by three. Then, UA’s Jordin Mayes tipped in a missed shot by Johnson and it was 64-63 Wisconsin entering the final minute.

At the end of regulation, the Badgers were ahead 54-52 entering the final minute, but Rondae Hollis-Jefferson dunked in a missed jumper from Nick Johnson to tie it at 54 with 34 seconds remaining.

But Wisconsin couldn’t make anything work on its final possession. Jackson then dribbled time off the clock and couldn’t find someone to pass to, firing up an errant 17-foot fadeaway jumper with a second left and time expired as players fumbled for the rebound, sending the game into overtime.

Kaminsky burned the Wildcats both inside and outside, and he was so effective that UA pulled center Kaleb Tarczewski toward the end of the game, apparently for defensive reasons. 

Kaminsky finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds while Johnson led Arizona with 16 points. Kaminsky was named the West Region's MVP while Johnson and Aaron Gordon were named to the all-region team.

Wisconsin pulled ahead 50-48 with 4:29 to go and UA’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson tied it back up at 50 when he drove under the basket and spun the ball in

The game stayed within a basket the rest of the way.

Arizona led 28-25 at halftime, but Wisconsin tied the game at 34 on a three-pointer from Kaminsky with 16 minutes to go. The Badgers then went ahead 41-36 after a three-pointer in the left corner from Bronson Koenig.

But Arizona pulled back into a tie after a three from T.J. McConnell and a rebound basket from Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, with the game at 41-41 with 11:28 to go.

In the first half, Arizona played some of its fiercest defense of the season while taking a 28-25 halftime lead.

The Wildcats held Wisconsin to just 35.7-percent percent shooting and forced them to go late into the shot clock several times while taking leads of up to eight points.

But the Badgers pulled within three points late in the half on a 15-footer by Traevon Jackson and had a chance to tie it or cut the lead to one in the final seconds, but missed three shots on its final possession.

Kaleb Tarczewski led UA in first-half scoring with eight points on 4-for-5 shooting, tangled in a matchup with Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky that lived up to expectations. Kaminsky had eight points and six rebounds, including a three-pointer.

Both teams took care of the ball, with Wisconsin turning it over only four times and Arizona just two, though the Badgers had 22 rebounds, eight on the offensive side. Arizona had only 14 rebounds and just three on the offensive side; the Wildcats also shot just 39.1 percent.

Arizona held the Badgers to 6-of-17 shooting over the first 12 minutes, taking a 19-14 lead. Predictably, Wisconsin took care of the ball but was forced to go deep into the shot clock on several occasions, getting most of its early baskets with late drives inside for layups.

The Badgers tightened it up to 24-20 when it found jump shots late on two straight possessions, one from Jackson and another from Frank Kaminsky.

But Nick Johnson drove inside for a layup that made it 26-20 with four minutes to go.

Arizona’s defense came out with ferocity but the Wildcats also gave up two layups and had a 7-5 lead after four minutes.

The Wildcats took a 12-5 lead after six minutes, when Elliott Pittts sank a three pointer from the right side and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson hit a pair of free throws.

Arizona has been to four previous Final Fours but not since 2001, when the Wildcats lost to Duke in the national championship game.

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


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