Wise, who hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer on Monday night, scored on a driving lay-up with 0.9 seconds remaining to lift his Wildcats over the Wolfpack, 76-74 on Wednesday night in Tuscon. Wise's heroics overshadowed a tremendous comeback by the Pack, who fouled and shot their way back in the final 30 seconds thanks to 10 straight points from Gonzalez.
Arizona appeared to have the game wrapped up with 40 seconds remaining. But then Julius Mays hit a 3-pointer and Gonzalez picked up a three-point play with a drive to the basket. He followed that up with a fall-away 3-pointer then sank an off-balance jumper. Meanwhile, the Wildcats kept missing free throws to allow the Pack to chip into the lead. With 12 seconds remaining, Gonzalez took the ball with the Pack trailing by two points and went coast-to-coast to tie it at 74 only to see Wise steal a win moments later.
Jordan Vandenberg started the game for the Pack in place of leading-scorer Tracy Smith, who was serving a one-game suspension for comments he made about the officiating in the Pack's loss to Wake Forest on Saturday. The freshman center finished the game with two points but pulled down double-digit rebounds and helped disrupt the Wildcat's in the paint defensively.
Gonzalez led the way offensively for the Pack, scoring 18 points. Julius Mays added 11 points but shot just 4-of-13 from the field while CJ Williams posted a season high with 12 points. Richard Howell added nine points while both Scott Wood and Dennis Horner scored eight each.
CJ Williams propelled the Pack into an early 8-1 lead, scoring six quick points before the entire offense ground to a halt. Turnovers, poor shooting and a generally directionless offense gave the Wildcats plenty of chances to make a comeback. Arizona took advantage of the Pack offensive woes, taking the lead and then extending their advantage to as many as 10 points, taking a 31-23 lead into the locker room.
Offensively, the Pack did little right in the first half. They turned the ball over 11 times, shot just 38 percent from the floor and only attempted one free throw. Horner, the Pack's second leading scorer behind Smith, was an abysmal 0-for-5 from the floor and did not score. The Wildcats shot 44 percent from the floor and dominated the glass to help it build its halftime advantage.
The Pack showed renewed life coming out of the break, rallying to cut the Arizona lead to 35-34 early in the half before the Wildcats extended the lead back out to multiple possessions. Howell helped fuel the Pack's comeback with his play inside, providing an interior offensive presence the Pack sorely missed in the first half. As the game progressed, the Pack seemed to get more comfortable on the offensive end of the floor.
Javi Gonzalez gave the Pack its first lead since early in the first half when the junior guard pulled up from the top of key and drained a 3-pointer while drawing a foul. Gonzalez sank the free throw to make it 54-52 with around eight minutes remaining in the game. But Arizona answered and the two teams went back and forth for the next few minutes until the Wildcats created some separation in the final three minutes.
Photo Courtesy Of Arizona SID