Nobody told the Wildcats. Arizona took the floor with a confidence previously unseen. The UA shot 45.1% for the game, and 41.2% from beyond the arc, both well above their season average. This was a situation in which some players needed to step up in the absence of others, and they did just that.
McClellan underwent season ending surgery on his wrist to repair broken ligaments this afternoon. He was at the game in a tan suit and cheered on his team before the opening tip. Prince's injury was not as severe as previously thought and he put forth some solid minutes for the Cats. So it was up to the bench and other starters to pick up the slack. The player of the game was clearly Marcus Williams.
Williams, a freshman, played 40 of the 45 minute affair and contributed a career high 22 points, six rebounds, and two assists. He also shot 3-3 from beyond the arc. Mustafa Shakur also put forth one of his best performances in a Wildcat jersey playing 40 minutes adding 13 points and a career high 12 assists. The point total also included 9-9 from the free throw line, an area that had plagued this Wildcat team.
Arizona jumped out to an early lead and led at the half by 11 when little used senior Isaiah Fox scored on a layup in the closing seconds of the first half to make the score 46-35.
The Cardinal began the second half playing a tough zone which the Cats had some trouble getting through. Stanford eventually tied it up, and even took a two point lead late in the second half before the player of the game came up big in the clutch.
Williams took control and made a great move to the basket and hit the game tying jumper with approximately 35 seconds left. Arizona put forth the best defensive possession of the season as Stanford did not even get a shot off and the game went into an extra session.
Arizona's defense seemed to be just as strong as usual and the Cats forced 22 turnovers in the game. This was an area that kept them in the game late.
Overtime began and Williams returned hitting a nice jumper to open the extra session and eventually scored a layup while being fouled. Count the free throw and the UA was up 80-77 halfway through the extra period. Arizona cruised the rest of the way and eventually prevailed 90-81.
While Williams and Shakur were the most valuable players of the game, other players also put forth strong performances. Ivan Radenovic added 18 points and eight rebounds, and Hassan Adams tallied 17 points and three assists on the night.
It was a strong team effort for the Cats who moved to 11-6 (4-3) and moved up to fifth place in the conference. The Cats now look forward to Cal, 10-5 (4-2) who dominated ASU Thursday evening.