Wise to the rescue again in UA’s victory over Calby Steve Rivera on Jan. 31, 2010, under Sports
Mr. Big Shot.
That’s Arizona senior Nic Wise.
There have been a few in Arizona’s recent past. Salim Stoudamire? Clutch.
Jason Gardner? As tough as they come and he was huge in late-game situations. Damon Stoudamire? I’d take him anytime. Mike Bibby? The list continues.
And it continues with Wise, who has had an unbelievable season in late-game situations. For a season’s entirety, I’d have to think he could have done better (pointswise, at least) but it’s about finding the winning situation and taking advantage of it. So, my evaluation may have been a bit premature. Wise continues to amaze as he did against visiting California on Sunday afternoon in UA’s 76-72 victory at McKale Center.
When he drove the lane and scored (getting fouled in the process) against Cal’s Jerome Randle, he gave UA a 74-72 lead and UA never trailed again.
“We practice that every day,’’ said Wise, who is averaging 16 points per game. “They look for me to take that shot. And I wouldn’t want to put that burden on somebody else.’’
Burden? Heck, it’s become second nature. Ask North Carolina State about it. He hit the driving lay up to win that one. He did the same against Lipscomb.
“He’s just really good,’’ said Cal coach Mike Montgomery. “He’s the best guy we’ve played so far.’’
He was clutch on Sunday, giving UA the eventual game winner again. And he had a complete game, going 8 for 16 from the floor. He went 9 for 9 from the free throw line. He also had three steals.
“One of the things Nic really has in his favor is experience,’’ said UA coach Sean Miller. “He’s the heart and soul of our team. In November and December we weren’t able to win unless we played great.’’
Miller said UA is now at a point where UA can win without him playing great. On Saturday, Wise was great, scoring a career-high-tying 30 points in a near must-win situation.
“Nic has been fantastic from start to finish,’’ Miller said of Wise’s season. “Believe me, I can’t explain to you where we’d be without him, not only in games but in practice. Having him here has allowed some of our other players to develop. Some of the improvement that’s been made is a credit to Nic’s leadership.’’
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