It was an amazing second half. Arizona outscored Duke 55-33 in the second half on their way to a 93-77 win over Duke.
THE TWO HALVES
Derrick Williams had an individual first half for the ages. He scored 25 points grabbed nine rebounds and dominated Duke, but the Wildcats still trailed. He made 5-of-6 three pointers, had a highlight reel put-back dunk and was the best player on the floor with at least four All-American types.
As a team the Wildcats had one of the best halves of basketball in school history. Considering the stage and the opponent, it is hard to argue that the team’s 55 points and dominance on the glass is a thing of beauty. Maybe only the second half of the 1988 North Carolina Elite 8 win compares.
MoMo Jones was the spark for the Wildcats. The sophomore scored his14 of his 16 points in the second half. More importantly, he had six assists and zero, count them, zero turnovers.
Arizona’s two power forwards, Jesse Perry and Jamelle Horne, combined for 11 rebounds. They also had 12 points combined. If that was not enough, Perry had three assists.
At the half, Sean Miller could be seen issuing a personal challenge to Horne, essentially asking him if he was going to play in the second half. Horne responded with a great half, including two monster dunks.
Arizona was a solid 9-15 (.600) from behind the arc but if you take out Kyle Fogg’s 1-5 shooting, he Wildcats were 8-10 from three-point range.
Williams shot all six of his three pointers in the first half. Duke only shot 14 for the game and were a paltry 2-6 from behind the arc in the second half.
Charles Barkley was a co-host for the halftime studio show. Barkley has been riding the Wildcats the entire tournament, picking the Wildcats for the championship game. At the half Barkley said Arizona had Duke right where they wanted them and that they were going to come out strong in the second half. He was right.
Arizona out-rebounded Duke by nine and pulled down 13 offensive rebounds. It did not look like that would be the case in the first half where Duke had 11 second chance points.
Singler scored 18 points in the game, but just four in the second half. He played for over 10 minutes with four fouls and never did foul out.
For only the fourth time in school history the Wildcats have won 30 games. This year’s team joins 1988, 1998 and 2005.
Arizona is 6-2 all time in Anaheim, but have lost both of their Elite Eight games. The Cats fell in 1998 to Utah and 2003 to Kansas.