Arizona defeated Duke on Thursday and WildcatAuthority.com takes a closer look.
In a stunning turn of events, Arizona
inched closer to its first final four appearance in a decade as the Wildcats defeated Duke
93-77 on Thursday. The victory advances UA to the Elite Eight where it will face Connecticut on Saturday.
The Blue Devils led by 11 points at one point in the first half, but completely fell apart in the final 20 minutes as the Wildcats took total control of the contest. After UA was virtually a one-man team in the first half, the supporting cast around Derrick Williams
really stepped up and allowed Arizona to take control of the contest.
Williams had one of the best halves in NCAA Tournament history and all it did was allow the Wildcats to stay within striking distance as they trailed by six at halftime. The sophomore scored 25 of his 32 points in the first, but he was really the only player producing for Arizona at the time. He was completely unstoppable in the first 20 minutes, hitting shots from everywhere on the floor, including five shots from three-point land.
In the second half, Williams received much more support from his teammates and a lot of it had to do with Duke's focus on the UA star after the break. In the end, not only did Williams score 32 points, but he grabbed 13 boards and collected two steals.
The performance by Arizona point guard Lamont Jones in the second half cannot by emphasized enough. With the Wildcats desperately looking for someone to take the pressure off Williams, Jones came out in the second half and provided a major spark for UA. Jones ended up with 16 points, six assists and zero turnovers on the evening.
Jones has produced more impressive box scores in a few games this season, but his second half performance was arguably the best basketball he has played at Arizona. When the sophomore guard started taking over in the second half, UA became too much for Duke to handle.
Solomon Hill had another solid postseason performance for the Wildcats. The sophomore finished with 13 points and five rebounds in the victory. Hill was another player that stepped his game up in crucial situations on Thursday and helped Arizona take a sizable lead in the second half.
Hill has been a glue player for UA all season long and his game continues to progress as the tournament moves along. As long as players like Hill continue to step up, the Wildcats will have a shot to beat anyone.
Arizona was simply the better shooting team on the evening. The Wildcats connected on 54 percent of their field goals while the Blue Devils shot a significantly lower percentage at 46.6. It got especially difficult for Duke in the second half as the Blue Devils completely lost it offensively in just about every aspect.
The Wildcats played smothering defense down the stretch and it led to a lot of bad shot attempts by the Blue Devils. Much of UA's second half offensive success had to do with how it played on the defensive end of the floor and how it prevented Duke from getting easy looks at the basket.
The Wildcats were deadly once again from behind the arc. UA connected on nine out of 15 shot attempts from three-point land and were hitting shots from long-range whether the shooter had a hand in his face or not.
Arizona dominated the glass in the second half and ultimately won the battle of the boards. The Wildcats out-rebounded Duke 35-to-26 and also grabbed 13 of those boards on the offensive end. The determination when it came to rebounding gave UA plenty of second chance looks while preventing Duke from doing the same.