Tulsa, OK (Sports Network) – Derrick Williams finished with 17 points, none more important than a three-point play with 9.6 seconds remaining, which lifted the fifth-seeded Arizona Wildcats over the fourth-seeded Texas Longhorns, 70-69, and into the Sweet 16.
“It was a very hard-fought game,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “I know there were a couple of tough calls at the end, some that go your way and some that don’t.”
Williams scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half and grabbed nine rebounds for the Wildcats (29-7), who will face the West Region’s top seed, Duke, in the Sweet 16.
Solomon Hill and Jordin Mayes both finished with 16 points for Wildcats, who got eight points from Brendon Lavender.
J’Covan Brown finished with a game-high 23 points, making 13-of-13 from the foul line, and led a Longhorns team that erased a double-digit deficit in the second half. However, he missed a potential go-ahead layup in the closing seconds.
“[Brown] made shots down the stretch,” Jordan Hamilton said of his teammate. “He got fouled and he knocked down his free throws, and that’s what he did. I just think he did a fantastic job down the stretch in the last five minutes of the game.”
Hamilton added 18 points and six rebounds for Texas (28-8), but committed his fourth foul on Williams’ driving layup. Gary Johnson scored 14 with six rebounds in the loss.
The Wildcats held a lead for the first 17:35 of the second half until Brown made a pair from the line to give the Longhorns a 67-66 edge, their first since it was 12-11 in the first half.
Williams went for a basket at the far end, and after failing to get the shot to go down and missing two attempts at the putback, he was fouled by Cory Joseph. Williams then made 1-of-2 to tie the game at 67.
Brown capitalized on a Solomon Hill traveling violation by putting the Longhorns up 69-67 with a short pull-up jumper in the lane with a minute remaining.
Tristan Thompson came up with a crucial block on a Williams jumper, but after the Longhorns called a timeout they failed to get the ball inbounded in time.
Texas got called for the five-second violation, turning the ball over under the Wildcats’ basket with 14.5 seconds remaining.
That’s when Williams converted on the driving layup while getting fouled with 9.6 remaining to give the Wildcats their final edge.
“When I shot the ball, I was looking down so I could catch myself from a hard fall,” Williams said. “I was surprised it went in, actually. I didn’t know it went in until [Hill] picked me up.”
Brown attempted a game-winning layup just before the buzzer, but the shot was short, and Gary Johnson couldn’t get a putback off in time.
The Longhorns opened the game on an 6-2 run, but a Mayes three-pointer just over four minutes in cut the Texas lead to 12-11. Mayes added a three with just over 13 minutes remaining to give the Wildcats the lead, and they never relinquished it until Brown’s free throws with 2:55 to go.
Arizona is now 45-25 in the NCAAs. Texas fell to 34-32…Arizona leads the all-time series 9-2, the most recent meeting coming in 2003-04 during the Jimmy V Classic with Arizona winning 91-83…The Wildcats held a 36-25 lead at the half thanks to 12 points from Hill and 11 from Mayes.