Arizona basketball: Utah's near misses 'sting'

Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak, organizing his players for a final push against Arizona, says: "The rim, I think, will open up for us" in the future.


BERKELEY, Calif. - MoMo Jones chucked the ball from two-thirds of the court away and sprinted toward the basket.

He was going to watch the ball swish from 2 feet away at the end of regulation and keep sprinting off the floor, straight into the Arizona Wildcats' locker room.

The shot was straight, but a foot or two short.

"I thought it was in," he said.

No matter. Jones turned in the performance of his college career in Saturday night's triple-overtime marathon, scoring 27 points in 39 minutes during the 107-105 victory.

No one will remember the aggregate numbers, though.

They'll remember the shots.

Like the three-point play with 16 seconds left in regulation, tying a game after being fouled while making a runner from the side of the basket on the right baseline.

Or, at the end of the second overtime, the three-pointer with seven seconds to play that tied the game.

Or the three points in the third overtime.

"That's just me," the New York City native said. "That's just the way I grew up. You're not a New York guard if you don't want the ball at the end of the clock, point blank, end of story.

"Growing up, that's what you live for."

Forward Kevin Parrom grew up with Jones.

"I'm used to seeing that all my life," he said. "That's just MoMo. I've been seeing that since he was little."

The Wildcats rallied to tie the game in regulation and won the three overtime periods without the services of forward Derrick Williams, who fouled out with 22 seconds left in regulation.

The team needed a No. 1 option. It was Jones.

"That's unexplainable, man," Jones said. "Three overtimes. In regulation, D-Will fouls out.

"Hot. Hot."

Williams said watching was hard.

"I never experienced anything at any level, sitting on the bench like that," he said. "Because I couldn't play I had to help out some other way."

Jones " always wants the ball in his hands," Williams said.

"He wants to make the big-time play," Williams said. "We all trust him … . We're all 100 percent of the time behind him."

Jones credited Williams' enthusiasm.

"When I felt like I didn't have enough gas left in the tank," Jones said, "he was right there."

Jones' three-point play at the end of regulation will be the biggest mistake that keeps Cal coach Mike Montgomery up at night. He called the and-one play "the only way they could get to overtime." He blamed his team for fouling. "The only chance they had was three-point plays," Montgomery said, "and we shoulda been more cognizant of that."

After Cal missed, Jones wound up with the ball, maybe two-thirds of a court length from the basket. He heaved a shot, one he swore was in.

It would have been a sweet way to end the game - though the outcome only got better with the additional 15 minutes.

Jones referred to the Wildcats' 24-point loss at Haas Pavilion last year. He held a grudge.

"This is sweet right here," Jones said. "This was personal. Last year we came here. They beat the hell out of us.

"They laughed, they joked, they danced. They debuted new great Jordan uniforms on us.

"It was ugly in here. I had that in mind tonight."

Jones smiled.

The Bears weren't really dancing last year, were they?

"I mean, that's what happened," he said.

Two minutes later, Williams looked over toward his point guard.

"We all," he said, "jumped on MoMo's back."