Wildcats have slight edge in cliffhangers

2010-03-01T00:00:00Z 2014-07-24T09:40:32Z Wildcats have slight edge in cliffhangersBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 01, 2010 12:00 am  • 

The Arizona Wildcats have their worst record heading into March since 1984, but possibly their strongest stomach ever.

When MoMo Jones banked in a 16-footer to beat Stanford as time expired Saturday at Maples Pavilion, it was the fifth time this season that a Wildcats game had been decided in the final second. It was also the 10th time this season that a UA game had been decided by four points or fewer.

Overall, UA is 3-2 in buzzer-beaters, 2-1 in overtime games and 5-5 in games decided by four points or fewer.

The Wildcats now have new blood available for the gut-wrenchers, too. Whereas senior guard Nic Wise hit buzzer-beaters twice in December, and dominated California down the stretch of a four-point win over the league champs in January, it was freshmen Derrick Williams and Jones who made critical plays to win Saturday's game 71-69.

"I feel more comfortable," Jones said. "The coaches trust me and my teammates are trusting me. That makes everything a whole lot easier."

Here's a look back at the five UA games decided just before the buzzer:

1. Lipscomb, Dec. 21, McKale Center

• Setting the stage: Arizona didn't have an answer for Bosnian big man Adnan Hodzic, who had 34 points and 13 rebounds, while it was a three-pointer by Lipscomb's Brian Wright with two seconds left in regulation that lifted the low-major Bisons into overtime.

• The shot: Sensing there was too much time for him to shoot, Kyle Fogg dished in midair to Wise, who sank a three-pointer for an 83-82 win as time expired. Officials spent three minutes reviewing the shot to see if it left Wise's hands in time, then OK'd it - even though a photo showing time had expired when Wise shot it was linked to Lipscomb's Web site.

• He said it: "I just threw it up and it went in. I don't know how it went in." - Wise

2. North Carolina State, Dec. 23, McKale Center

• Setting the stage: The Wildcats forced 20 Wolfpack turnovers and built an eight-point lead with 53 seconds to go - then blew the lead before Wise bailed them out, having scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half.

• The shot: Wise drove through several North Carolina State defenders for a layup with a second left that made it 76-74, then jumped atop a courtside table to celebrate.

• He said it: "It was a little different. This time I had the ball in my hands the whole time. But pretty much the same thing was going through my mind the whole time - the will not to lose, to draw the foul or make the play." - Wise

3. Washington State, Jan. 8, McKale Center

• Setting the stage: The Wildcats allowed the Cougars to shoot 50.9 percent from the field and collect 12 offensive rebounds, negating a balanced UA offensive attack that had four players in double figures.

• The shot: DeAngelo Casto gave WSU a 78-76 win when he drove inside for a twisting layup with 0.9 of a second left, a sight that was all too familiar for a frustrated Arizona coach Sean Miller.

• He said it: "Our defense is terrible. We're the team that has a cornerback that can't run and the receiver keeps running by him."

- Miller

4. Oregon State, Jan. 14, Gill Coliseum

• Setting the stage: Flummoxed early by the Beavers 1-3-1 zone defense, the Wildcats trailed by up to 13 points in the first half - and then failed to score for the final 4:10 of the game while the Beavers' Princeton-style cuts severed the UA defense easily.

• The shot: OSU guard Lathen Wallace was all alone in the left corner, thanks to defensive lapses that both Williams and Fogg blamed on themselves, and he hit a three-pointer with 1.1 seconds left to give OSU a 67-64 win.

• He said it: "I think you live with a contested shot but a wide-open shot from the corner is one where you say, 'Geez, why didn't we get that?' It was like we called a blitz and not everyone got in it, and we gave up a touchdown." - Miller

5. Stanford, Feb. 27, Maples Pavilion

• Setting the stage: The Cardinal led by up to 11 points in the first and second halves, but paid for poor three-point (23.8 percent) and free throw (55.6) shooting when Arizona pulled into a 69-all tie with 30 seconds left when Williams hit the second of two free throws.

• The shot: Williams blocked a shot by Stanford's Jack Trotter with five seconds left, then Brendon Lavender took the rebound and immediately dished off to Jones, who raced down court and went inside the three-point arc just before time expired to launch his game-winner off the glass for a 71-69 win.

• He said it: "Just give me the ball and get out of the way. I like the pressure. I've always thrived under pressure. It's a great feeling to win with big-time shots. Every player wants to have that feeling."

- Jones

Up next

• Who: UCLA at Arizona

• When: 8:30 p.m. Thursday

• TV: FSAZ

• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM

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