Lute Olson on Arizona-Duke: “It should be another great game”by Steve Rivera on Mar. 20, 2011, under Sports
Duke vs. Arizona.
Oh, the memories. There will be more Thursday in the Sweet 16 in Anaheim, Calif.
Arizona made sure of that with another Houdini-act victory, this time upsetting Texas 70-69 in Tulsa in the NCAA tournament’s third round.
“Yes, it is a great history and it should be another great game,’’ former Arizona coach Lute Olson said after Sunday’s game. “The biggest thing will be handling Miles Plumlee down low and I think we have the guys who can handle Kyle Singler. It should be a really good ball game.’’
The last time the two teams played it was in the 2001 NCAA title game, when Arizona lost 82-72 in Minneapolis. But they’ve always been classics.
Arizona beat Duke in 1987 in the annual Fiesta Bowl Classic 91-85; and won again in the Meadowlands 77-75 a year later; in 1990, it fell 78-76 at Duke.
“There’s been some great competition between us,’’ Olson said.
He expects the same on Thursday. And yes, he will be there to watch.
It will happen because Arizona’s golden parachute, Derrick Williams, scored on a three-point play with 9.6 seconds left to help UA get to the Sweet 16, the team’s second in three years.
“They really did a good job,’’ Olson said. “We’ve all said that our biggest concern is that they don’t bury people. When they had that good lead, well, they were on their way and were going to put them away. They didn’t but they escaped. It’s scary for the fans, including me.’’
UA led by as many as 13 points but – again – gave up the lead late in the second half. It looked like Arizona’s season was over when Texas had the ball with 14 seconds left and was inbounding the ball. But Arizona created a five-second violation and got the ball back under its basket. Williams then scored and hit a free throw to take the lead for good.
“Never a doubt,’’ Olson said, jokingly. “They had to get that one from the dead.”