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Arizona-Memphis game blog: Sultan of Swat: Williams does it again

Derrick Williams. Big.
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Derrick Williams saves the game with a blocked shot in the final seconds — just like he did against Washington.

Joe Jackson missed the second free throw with 5.0 seconds left, with the ball caroming to Memphis forward Wesley Witherspoon. Williams then swatted the put-back attempt from close range.

Jamelle Horne tracked down the ball, was fouled, and he missed both free throws.

Arizona wins 77-75.

Said assistant coach James Whitford on the postgame interview on 1290-AM: “All’s well that ends well.”

Survive and advance.

The Wildcats move on to play fourth-seeded Texas in Tulsa on Sunday.

(Just asking: Did Williams foul Witherspoon on the final play? Video link)

Postgame quote from Williams, courtesy of the Arizona Republic’s Paola Boivin: “I just went up and made a hard play … Honestly, with a couple seconds left refs usually don’t make that call.”

* * *

Arizona fouls Joe Jackson with five seconds left.

* * *

Safely in. MoMo Jones going to the line with 7.4 seconds left. Makes the first; makes the second.

* * *

Trouble with the in-bounds pass (shades of Washington game?). After making two free throws, Memphis steals the pass, misses a 3-pointer, but puts in the rebound. It’s 75-74 with 12.8 seconds left.

* * *

Jamelle Horne at the line with 23.7 seconds left. A senior moment. He makes the first … and makes the second. Arizona up 75-70.

* * *

MoMo Jones frees himself from the trap in the corner (so say the officials) and, while on the ground, is able to call timeout with 33.8 seconds left. Could have been a tie-up situations, with the possession arrow favoring Memphis.

* * *

Arizona, with the help of a kind bounce off the rim on a 3-pointer from MoMo Jones, takes the lead in the final two minutes. It’s down to 38.8 seconds left; Arizona up 73-70.

* * *

Arizona getting too happy to shoot 3s — Jesse Perry (not this late in the game) and a quick attempt from Kyle Fogg are off the mark. Derrick Williams bails out the Cats by taking matters into his own hand and draining a 3-ball.

That gives Arizona a 68-65 lead. There’s 3:30 to go.

* * *

Arizona’s Kevin Parrom fouls out with 4:47 left. That hurts.

* * *

Notes Arizona Republic columnist Paola Boivin via Twitter: Derrick Williams has one field goal in the second half and nearly 13 min. have gone by. He has disappeared as an inside presence

* * *

Memphis has what Arizona doesn’t: Guards that blow by their defender. Tigers lead 65-61 with 7:09 left.

* * *

Another run Memphis, which goes up 63-58 with 8:59 to play.

* * *

Four fouls for Kyle Fogg and Kevin Parrom. MoMo Jones playing the 2-guard with Jordin Mayes at the point.

* * *

Steve Kerr notes that Arizona is 2 of 12 from 3-point range. Sadly, Kerr was once 2 of 12 from 3-point range in the NCAA Tournament.

* * *

Memphis on an 11-0 run to take a 51-48 lead. The Tigers also have had a 10-0 run a 7-0 run.

* * *

Tie game: 48-48 at first TV timeout of the second half.

* * *

TucsonCitizen.com’s Scott Terrell notes via Twitter: Memphis shoots 33% from 3 as a team on the year. Of course they’re 5-for-9 (56%) today.

* * *

Guard Charles Carmouche and post Tarik Black each have four fouls early in the second half for Memphis. Could be an opportunity for Arizona to pull away — Cats lead 48-46 — but I doubt it.

Arizona doesn’t run away and hide against good teams. I’m expecting this to go down to final couple of minutes.

* * *

Good start to the half for Arizona. Memphis can’t handle Derrick Williams down low (without a zone). The Tigers with two early offensive fouls. Williams up to 17 points.

And … then Memphis hits a couple of 3-pointers.

Meanwhile, I’d be happy to not see MoMo Jones not shoot another 3-pointer.

* * *

Sean Miller at his halftime interview on CBS:

“We have to play smart. The thing about March and the tournament is you have to play together. And when everyone doesn’t, you have to play hard. You have to have an intelligence.

“We fouled two times, I think, under eight seconds on the clock. We had an over-and-back (violation). An intentional foul. It’s those little things — smart plays — that allow you to win. We gotta play smart.”

* * *

The game has swung on turnovers. Arizona was sloppy early, so Memphis turned those mistakes into easy points. Then the Tigers — as has been their inclination — got loose with the ball, giving the Wildcats fast-break opportunities.

It hasn’t been boring.

Memphis led 21-11 … and then the Cats turned that around for a 35-30 lead.

At half, it’s Arizona 41-38.

We having fun yet?

* * *

Memphis has had runs of 10-0 (at the beginning of the half) and 7-0 (near the end of the half).

* * *

Derrick Williams with 12 points and six rebounds. Trying to prove Josh Pastner right; Pastner voted Williams as national player of the year.

* * *

Derrick Williams uses his length — wingspan! — to grab a rebound and put in a basket to give Arizona the 27-26 lead with 4:56. After Memphis’ 10-1 lead, the Wildcats climbed back when they were able to take care of the ball and make the Tigers play a half-court game on offense.

* * *

Arizona trails 24-18 with 7:25 to play in the half … and it sure seems as if the Wildcats are lucky to be this close. Memphis is making it tough for Derrick Williams down low, and none of the UA shooters has helped out.

* * *

Forget about the role players. Derrick Williams is going to have to take over this game. If there ever was a time for him to be selfish, this is it.

* * *

As Steve Kerr says on the telecast, Memphis just looks like the quicker, more athletic team. That might be because Memphis is the quicker, more athletic team.

Problem is, Arizona has not really countered with any of its strengths: Derrick Williams, shooting and a tad more experience.

Memphis leads 19-11 with 11:48 to go.

* * *

Sean Miller uses first TV timeout to put in four new players; only Derrick Williams stays in.

* * *

It’s almost all Memphis early, which will only empower these young Tigers. Josh Pastner has mixed in some zone with his man-to-man defense, and Memphis has turned Arizona mistakes into transition points.

Memphis led 10-1 at one point, but Arizona got back to 10-5 with 15:24 to go.

If the Tigers are going to plat man defense, then the UA guards need to find Derrick Williams more often.

* * *

Memphis starting four freshmen. I’m guessing this game gets sloppy at multiple times. The Tigers rank among the nation’s worst teams in terms of turnovers, while their defensive pressure could be trouble for UA — which lacks elite ballhandlers.

* * *

Texas freshman forward Tristan Thompson blocks a shot from a shot by Oakland center Keith Benson. Thompson blocked seven shots.
Photo by Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Fourth-seeded Texas holds on to beat Oakland 85-81. Freshman forward Tristan Thompson had 17 points, 10 points and seven blocked shots for the Longhorns.

If Arizona advances to play Texas, I don’t like the matchup at all for the Wildcats … but we’ll deal with that when, and if, it comes.

* * *

Junior guard Kyle Fogg will be back in the starting lineup for Arizona after missing three starts at the Pac-10 tournament because of a quad strain. He is one of the guys Sean Miller really trusts on the court, and Fogg was getting 30-plus minutes per game down the stretch before his injury.

* * *

Among those who figure to be tweeting courtside from Tulsa are Arizona Republic columnist Paola Boivin (@PaolaBoivin) and ESPN’s Pat Forde (@espn4d).

Our Javier Morales will be watching and offering observations, too — @JavierJMorales

This blog post will be the space where I mostly spout off, but there is no reason why you can’t be following me on Twitter — @AGWildcatReport.

* * *

This has nothing on Christmas morning, as we await the 11:45 a.m. Tucson time tip-off for the Arizona-Memphis game.

The Wildcats are back on the big stage after missing the NCAA Tournament, understandably so, last season in the first year of the Sean Miller era.

Arizona is the No. 5 seed and Memphis is 12. You wonder if those seeds would be reversed if Derrick Williams had signed with the Tigers instead of the Wildcats.

Settle in for the Wildcats’ return to the NCAAs … and go around the block a few times with our coverage from the past few days (and the Arizona Daily Star’s Bruce Pascoe has lots of Arizona/Pac-10 related links in his morning blog post).

More Arizona basketball coverage from the TucsonCitizen.com Sports Network:

Ex-Wildcat Corey Williams: Watch how the officials call the game inside

Kansas State senior goes way back with MoMo Jones

Arizona’s Fogg expected to be close to 100 percent vs. Memphis

Pastner meets with the media: On Arizona, youth, Derrick Williams and more

In demand: It will take more than N.C. State to pry Miller from Arizona

Arizona playing at a high level heading into NCAAs, Miller says

Javier Morales: Breaking down the Arizona-Memphis matchup

Javier Morales: Clouded perception of Pastner

Javier Morales: Ex-Arizona coach, players have mixed emotions as Wildcats face Pastner

Javier Morales: Programs would be wise to pursue Archie Miller while getting is good

Javier Morales: This date in UA history: Best of times, worst of times

Brad Allis: Williams was almost a Tiger

Scott Terrell: This Week in the Pac-10: March Madness Edition

Christopher Wuensch: Bear Down and Blog: Arizona vs. Memphis, the Madness begins

Steve Rivera: Remembering Pastner — there’s a lot there

Steve Rivera: Stoudamire: UA will be ‘all right’ but has to hit perimeter shots

Through the years with Josh Pastner: Words and photos

Video: Pastner says Memphis is peaking at the right time

Video blast from the past: Sean Miller in ‘The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh’

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