Fogg shakes but doesn’t rattle; three free throws with 0.2 left in regulation helps Arizona winby Anthony Gimino on Mar. 06, 2010, under Sports
Kyle Fogg’s teammates wouldn’t even look at him. He was facing three free throws, down three points, with 0.2 seconds left in regulation.
In the last home of the regular season.
Against USC and former UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill.
With a victory meaning a winning regular season and, at least, an excellent shot at the NIT if the Wildcats don’t run the table at the Pac-10 tournament.
No pressure, right?
“I was searching for help and they had their heads down,” Fogg said of his teammates.
Point guard Nic Wise, the team’s only senior, interrupted Fogg’s comments at the postgame news conference.
“We were praying for him,” Wise said.
Three free throws for the tie. Arizona coach Sean Miller, who remains one of the greatest free throw shooters in Big East history and, as legend has it, shot at least 100 free throws a day in high school for nearly three years, had some words of advice for his sophomore guard.
“I just honed in on him being a confident shooter,” Miller said.
“I tell you, that is the most pressure-packed situation you can have. When you basically have no time on the clock and you’re down two and you have to make them both … but to make three?
“I tell you, unless you have been there for that feeling, that one is the putt at The Masters from about 10 feet away. It’s not for everyone.”
Fogg said a couple of USC players tapped him as he prepared to shoot, trying to rattle him. Fogg bounced the first one off the front of the rim but it went in. The second one was a swish. So was the third one.
“The first one felt a little shaky,” Fogg said. “The second one was a little shaky, too, actually. The third one felt good, though.”
The game was tied 69, going into overtime … and then second overtime … and then Wise won the game with a driving scoop shot with 1.2 seconds left. Arizona 86, USC 84.
“I wish I could tell you that I’ve got ice water going through my veins, but, man, I was shaking,” Fogg said. “Especially because it was Nic’s last game at home, I didn’t want him to go out like that. I made the free throws and it’s a great feeling.”
While Arizona will celebrate that trio of free throws for years to come as fans remember Wise’s Senior Day, that sequence left O’Neill bitter after the game. Let’s just say he say the final play in regulation a little differently than the refs.
USC’s Nikola Vucevic was called for a foul on the arm as Fogg attempted his 3-point shot.
O’Neill was asked after the game about how he would rate that foul call.
“I’m going to let you rate it. Would you be pleased?” he said. “Everyone knows what happened there today,” O’Neill said. “It’s no secret. I’m gonna leave it at that.”
Fogg said he definitely thought he was fouled, but was surprised that the refs called it.
Said Miller: “I didn’t get a clear look at it. There was contact; there were a lot of bodies flying. Sometimes it is called, sometimes it isn’t.”
Fogg tied for the team high with 18 points, hitting 11 of 15 free throws for the game. In Thursday night’s victory against UCLA, he was a zone-killer, hitting 7 of 10 3-pointers on his way to a career-high 26 points and inspiring my new rallying cry: It’s not over until Kyle Fogg says it’s over.
Just like it was with 0.2 seconds left in regulation against USC.
More coverage from TucsonCitizen.com:
UA-USC game blog: Wise gives himself a happy ending