Comeback Not Enough For Arizona

Arizona struggled offensively the past two games and it continued against Michigan State until late in the game. The UA made a late push after being down by as many as 17 in the second half, taking a two point lead with less than a minute on the clock before heading to overtime. Michigan State played their fourth overtime in two games and prevailed by a score of 74-71.

The Maui Invitational Tournament seemed to be a series of games for the Cats where there was a cover on the rim. While in the first two games they were rushing their shots, the matchup with Michigan State featured more patient shooting, but the shot selection did not necessarily improve, and the UA struggled in the first half as a result.

The Cats looked to shoot the three in the first half making a mere 1 of 11. They ended the game shooting 26 of 68 from the field, 6 of 25 from beyond the arc.

At the end of the first half, Arizona trailed Michigan State by a score of 37-23. For the third straight game, it was going to be a difficult second half for the Wildcats.

Michigan State maintained their lead for most of the second half and the Cats found themselves down by as many as 17 and were able to pull within 11 on two occasions, but the UA reverted back to their old ways with little passing. Chris Rodgers threw up two ill-advised shots on both possessions, neither of them went in.

With just over five minutes left in the game, the UA seemed to make a bit of a run on the strength of three Rodgers free-throws, a Hassan Adams lay-up, a Marcus Williams dunk, a Rodgers three, and an Adams dunk off a Rodgers miss to put them within five points with 3:35 left on the clock.

Adams was instrumental in the late run. All things told he had a team high 23 points, nine rebounds and three assists. With 3:21 left on the clock, Adams sunk a free-throw and got his own rebound on the second and Arizona pulled within four points with 3:09 left on the clock. Adams committed a foul, but Rodgers forced a turnover on the other end and Williams slammed home a fast break dunk making the score 58-56 with 2:26 left in the game.

Williams also played an important role in the game tallying eight points, three rebounds and two assists.

Michigan State regained control of the ball at the other end drove hard into the lane and made a basket that was waived off as a result of charge that Williams took.

With 1:51 left on the clock, Adams had a chance to tie it up with two free-throws but he missed them both short. MSU got the rebound but fell with the ball giving it back to the Cats with 1:47 left in the game, trailing by 2.

Free throws were not a strong point for the UA who shot 13 of 21 from the stripe.

Arizona got another chance to tie it up as Ivan Radenovic was fouled with 1:28 on the clock, he sunk them both this time and the Cats found themselves tied for the first time since early in the game. The free-throws fell with 1:17 left in the ball game.

The Spartans turned the ball over again for their 26th of the game and Arizona had the ball while tied late. Adams was able to sink a lay-up with 0:56 left in the game and MSU took their final timeout with 48.5 ticks left.

MSU's 27 turnovers compared to Arizona's mere 10.

With 30.6 left in the game, MSU drew a Radenovic foul, his fifth, and they sunk them both to tie it up at 60 a piece. Lute Olson called the second timeout with 25.8 seconds left and Arizona looked to take one last shot.

Rodgers in-bounded the ball to Mustafa Shakur who then passed it to Adams with 7 seconds left. With two ticks on the clock Adams put it up but the shot was no good and the two teams would need overtime to finish this one.

With 3:00 left in the extra period, the Spartans took a three point lead. Shakur then went down, got an offensive board and hit a lay-up while being fouled. Count the free throw and with 2:35 left on the clock, Arizona had tied it up 66-66.

With just over a minute left, Arizona forced a jump ball and took over tied up at 68 a piece. Arizona got the ball inside but could not convert and a jump ball gave it back to the Spartans with 46 seconds left. A quick two, and Arizona trailed 70-68 with abaout 35 seconds left.

With 8.5 seconds left, Williams went to the line to shoot two free-throws with the opportunity to tie the game at 70. He missed the first and Arizona took a timeout. Williams shot the second which was no good and Adams fouled MSU's Paul Davis who was shooting a one and one.

Davis was 8-8 prior to the one and one, and he sunk the first and Arizona took their last timeout. Davis' second attempt was good, giving them a four point lead.

Rodgers hit a three with a second left but called a timeout and was given a technical foul. Maurice Ager shot the technical foul shots, hitting both giving the Spartans a three point lead, with one second, and the ball, and Michigan State went on to win 74-71 in overtime.

Arizona struggled early before putting forth a strong push late, but it was not enough as the Cats fell to the #13 Spartans 74-71. Arizona finished the Maui Invitational Tournament in fourth place.

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