Arizona defeated Memphis on Friday and WildcatAuthority.com takes a closer look.
won a thriller in the second round of the NCAA Tournament 77-75 over Memphis
. It was a back-and-forth affair for most of the contest and UA was able to pull off a two point victory over former Wildcat and current Tigers' head coach Josh Pastner.
It was far from easy for Arizona, who played catch-up for a good portion of the contest. Memphis surged out to a 10-1 lead right out of the gate, but UA eventually closed the gap mid-way through the first half. The Wildcats depth eventually proved to be too much for the Tigers to handle and Arizona eventually earned the win. UA will move on to the three round where it will face Texas on Sunday.
Derrick Williams had a huge performance in his tournament debut with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and a critical block as time was expiring to seal the victory. The sophomore shot 6-for-11 from the floor and connected on all nine of his free throw attempts. His presence was dominant on the offensive end of the floor and Memphis had no way to contain him.
Guard Lamont Jones had a big game against Memphis for Arizona. Playing a very quick Tigers' squad, Jones scored 18 points on 5-of-10 shooting and did an outstanding job of drawing contact while driving to the basket in order to get to the foul line. The sophomore hit seven out of eight free throw attempts.
The Wildcats played 10 players, but only eight saw significant time. The three players that saw significant playing time off the bench – Jamelle Horne, Kevin Parrom and Jordin Mayes – were all extremely productive. The three impact players off the bench combined for 26 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and only combined to commit one turnover. The play of the bench helped will Arizona to victory in this contest and took some of the pressure off of the starting lineup when it struggled during different parts of the game.
The game was very close in nearly every statistical category. What separated the Wildcats from the Tigers was the ability to draw fouls and go to the free throw line. UA knocked down 26 out of its 31 shots from the charity stripe while Memphis went 17-for-24. In a two point contest, making nine more foul shots made all of the difference.
When Arizona played physical with Memphis, it worked in the Wildcats favor. There wasn't much disparity in the number of fouls committed (Memphis was whistled for 24 fouls; Arizona committed 21), but the Tigers had players in foul trouble throughout most of the game. By the end, the Tigers were playing with five players that had four fouls and were unable to play as physical they needed to in order to beat UA.
The Wildcats' defense struggled at times on Friday and will undoubtedly have to improve if they want any shot at going any deeper in the tournament. UA's defense played much better down the stretch and brought the Tigers' shooting percentage to below 50 by games end.
Arizona would become stagnant on the defensive end of the floor in spurts, which allowed Memphis to take control of the game at times. Eventually the Wildcats' defense would resurface and Arizona would take control of the contest. Against a very tough Texas squad, UA will need to bring the defense for all 40 minutes. If the Wildcats can do so, they will have every opportunity to win on Sunday.