Jones’ buzzer-beater at Stanford matches exploits of two other NYC-born UA playersby Javier Morales on Feb. 27, 2010, under Sports
Khalid Reeves and Sean Rooks — two New York City-born players — move over. The kid from Harlem, Lamont “MoMo” Jones, matched their game-winning shots with another buzzer beater at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion.
Furthermore, somewhere Salim Stoudamire is smiling, and once Mike Bibby learns what Arizona did at Stanford, he likely will think back to his first experience in Palo Alto and appreciate what the young Wildcats did at Cal and Stanford this weekend.
Six years ago, it was Stoudamire who turned the ball over at Stanford, leading to Nick Robinson‘s miraculous last-second 35-foot shot that ripped the gut out of the Cats and their fans. In Arizona’s NCAA title season of 1996-97, Bibby as a freshman was swept on the road against Cal and Stanford, experiencing one of his worst games against the Cardinal with only six points. He posted only three against the Golden Bears.
This Stanford team is nowhere the same as the Cardinal teams Stoudamire and Bibby played, but then again, Arizona is unlike the Cats of old in this grind-it-out season.
The play of Jones and fellow freshman Derrick Williams added another chapter of storybook endings in this hotly contested rivalry in which 18 of the last 23 meetings have been decided by 10 points or less.
This was Reeves revisited, when he drove the length of the court in 1992 and scored at the buzzer to beat the Cardinal in Maples. Reeves hails from Queens. Jones used that big-city confidence to bank in a jumper from about 16 feet as time expired for the pivotal 71-69 victory Saturday night. Williams set up Jones’ shot by blocking an attempted layup by Jack Trotter with six seconds left.
“Derrick got the big-time block and came through big as he has the whole season,” Jones told Matt Muehlebach in the UA’s radio postgame show. “Brendon (Lavender) got the rebound, pitched it out to me, believed in me enough to make the play, and it was off to the races.”
Considering where Arizona was at, losing five of six games and spiraling toward its first losing season in 26 years, Jones’ play was in the same neighborhood of Michael Wright’s layup with three seconds left in 2001 that toppled No. 1 Stanford.
Jones’ bank shot was reminiscent of Rooks’ last-second attempt off the glass over Adam Keefe in 1991. Rooks was born in New York City before being raised in southern California. Jones’ birth in the Big Apple was not too long after Rooks’ heroic shot.
Three buzzer-beating wins at Maples Pavilion by three New York City-born players for Arizona: All equally significant.
Although the UA was drubbed 95-71 at California on Thursday this was a significant step-forward weekend for Arizona’s freshmen. Their play in the midst of adversity not experienced by Arizona since Lute Olson‘s first season in 1983-84, provides hope for Sean Miller‘s blueprint for success in Tucson.
Arizona freshman forward Kevin Parrom did not make the trip because of a foot injury, but his freshmen brethren carried the load this way at the Bay area:
- Jones: 11 of 21 from the field, 26 points, five assists, one turnover, 45 minutes
- Williams: 14 of 22 from the field, 41 points, 12 rebounds, 64 minutes
- Solomon Hill: 6 of 12 from the field, 14 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, three turnovers, 58 minutes
- Kyryl Natyazhko: 2 of 3 from the field, four points, two rebounds, 23 minutes
The totals for the freshmen: 33 of 58 from the field (56.9 percent) for 85 points (42.5 points in each game). The Cats scored 71 points in each game, a total of 142 points. The freshmen accounted for almost 60 percent of Arizona’s points against Cal and Stanford.
On the flipside, Arizona’s two most experienced players — senior Nic Wise and junior Jamelle Horne — scored only 22 points combined in the games, good for 15 percent of the scoring. They shot a combined 8 of 23 from the field, only 34.8 percent.
Horne logged only 42 minutes total, 16 minutes less than Hill, who until recently was on the bench more than on the floor. Hill made things happen with four assists against Cal and seven rebounds against Stanford. Horne attempted only six shots during the weekend, grabbed only six total rebounds and had four turnovers without an assist.
Wise and Horne were on the bench in the final sequence.
“I really have to give our freshmen credit,” Miller told Muehlebach. “I give Nic credit a lot with his senior leadership and what he’s been through. But the freshmen made the plays at the end.”
Hill has that sense of purpose that Horne has rarely shown this season. Williams has always been a resourceful player, arguably the most dependable player to wear an Arizona uniform since Channing Frye. Jones has that exuberance, because of his youth and New York City mentality, that Wise lacks presently.
Rarely before has an off-balance bank shot on a 16-foot jumper looked so pretty. Any player from the asphalt courts of Harlem will tell you that you take what you can get.