LOS ANGELES - Arizona Wildcats forward Solomon Hill drove hard enough though the Ohio State defense in the second half that the Buckeyes would have had to rip his jersey off to stop him.
That was the point.
By the time Arizona's 11-point first half lead had swung fully to a 10-point deficit, Hill rattled off nine straight points for Arizona over a four-minute span, including a turnaround jumper and driving for a three-point play.
His work turned OSU's lead to just 56-52 with eight minutes left, and while that ultimately did not prove enough to stop his career from ending, it was something.
It was a message that he wasn't going to leave college basketball easily.
"The opportunities presented itself," Hill said. "I was trying to make sure everybody knew we weren't giving up. It's easy for especially some young guys to give up, but the situation me, Mark (Lyons) and Kevin (Parrom) are in, it's do or die.
So it's "go out there and execute. My teammates found me open, and it was my duty to take the shots."
Lyons also played like his back was against the wall, as he has in almost every clutch situation this season. He scored 23 points on 6-for-12 shooting and made 9 of 10 free throws, though he had no assists to three turnovers.
Lyons hit a three-pointer 37 seconds into the game, hit a pair of free throws to put UA ahead 10-4 and later came back with a three-point play to make it 22-15.
Lyons cooled off after that, missing a three and committing a turnover early in the second half, but he said he was doing less offensively because his teammates were doing more.
"The other guys on my team got going," Lyons said. "Nick (Johnson) and Solomon had big-time shots, and in the second half I forced the issues a little bit to get back on a hot start. It didn't work at the beginning."
With Lyons' 23 points and 16 from Hill, the UA's senior leaders had over half of the Wildcats' points.
Of course, that was probably no surprise for UA coach Sean Miller.
"Me as a coach, I leave here with my head held high because of these guys right here," Miller said. "They did everything we wanted them to do."
Respect for UA
Especially after UA took early leads of up to 11 points, Ohio State guard Lenzelle Smith respected the Wildcats.
"They came out and punched us early," Smith said. "We knew this game was going to be a tough game. There's a knock on teams like Arizona that they aren't physical or tough enough. But that was one of the toughest teams we played all year.
"We had to respect that coming into the second half."
UA forward Grant Jerrett said his right elbow was fine after he injured it against Harvard last Saturday and wore a protective sleeve Thursday.
Hill wound up tying Kyle Fogg for the most games played in UA basketball history, at 139.
Star reporter Daniel Berk contributed to this story