Duke’s Coach K: ‘We had no stop for them’
I’m still waiting. Still waiting for Duke to make a run. For Duke to answer. For Arizona to kick the ball around a bit, take some bad shots, to let the Blue Devils back in the game.
I’m still waiting.
I’m still waiting for Arizona to stop treating Duke as shabbily as Robert Morris. For Derrick Williams to stop being Superman.
I’m still waiting to see if I can make sense of it all.
But when what you just saw defies the logic you thought you had acquired from 36 previous games, it’s probably time to simply submit to one feeling: Belief.
“Nobody really believed in us and that put a chip on our shoulder, like nobody in the world thought we could win this game,” sophomore forward Kevin Parrom told reporters in the locker room. “It’s a great feeling.”
The Wildcats’ wrecked the top-seeded Blue Devils 93-77 in the Sweet 16 on Thursday. They ruthlessly deconstructed Duke in the second half. Out-worked them in the second half. Out-hustled them. Out-Duked them.
Arizona out-scored Duke by 22 points in the second half, out-rebounded the Blue Devils by 15.
Who does that to Duke? Who the heck are these guys?
“We had no stop for them,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. “They didn’t miss many shots there for a while. They were already confident, but I thought their confidence level went up tremendously.”
Arizona did what it said it would do. You have to believe them. The Wildcats said they would match Duke’s intensity. They said they would be “all in.” They said they would be “nasty.”
“I think the word of the day, the week, the month has been for us to go out and be nasty,” senior forward Jamelle Horne told reporters in the locker room.
Said coach Sean Miller on his postgame radio show: “We had a saying going into the game: Attack or be attacked.”
Can’t wait to hear what he comes up with Saturday for the West regional final against UConn.
Attack. Be nasty. It’s all working — and at the right time. Talk about that good timing: You could make the case that four players have had their finest Wildcat performances in the past two games.
Freshman Jordin Mayes had a career-high 16 points vs. Texas. Sophomore Solomon Hill had 16 points and eight rebounds in that game.
Against Duke, point guard MoMo Jones had 16 points, tied his career high with six assists and had no turnovers against a Duke defense that ranks among the nation’s best.
And then there’s Superman.
He had 25 first-half points, hitting 5 of 6 3-point shots, willing Arizona to stay in the game, using his superpowers to morph into an un-guardable combination of Sean Elliott, Andre Iguodala, Salim Stoudamire and Brian Williams.
“He’s a beautiful player,” Krzyzewski said.
Williams finished with a career-high 32 points, 13 rebounds and a couple of beautiful, powerful dunks. The only thing missing was that he didn’t jump over a Kia.
Williams had one of the best 20 minutes of basketball in school history. Then the rest of the Cats joined in and played one of the best halves in school history.
“Derrick kept us in there in the first half with maybe one of the best halves that you have probably ever seen out of a player against Duke,” assistant coach Archie Miller said on the 1290-AM postgame interview.
“Then in the locker room at halftime, the whole deal was rebounding. … Our guys on the glass on the second half, that was probably as good an effort as we have had. It gave us an opportunity to run, and it also stymied them a little bit. It really gave us a lot of confidence.
“I just can’t say enough about the effort. The second half was probably as good as we have played.”
The team that Arizona was — the one that had Sean Miller questioning its maturity several weeks ago — is not the team that Arizona is.
Just one win in the NCAA Tournament would have been nice, and then we would have put a pretty bow on Miller’s second season.
But now all things — and I do mean all things — are possible.
You do believe, don’t you?
Also from the TucsonCitizen.com Sports Network:
Javier Morales: Where does this win rank among UA’s most significant victories?
Steve Rivera: Shades of 1997 all over again