By Jon D. Gaede, BVN Sports –
The Arizona Wildcats, loaded with Southern California talent, needed more last minute heroic result, to earn a trip to Houston and the Final Four.
After handling the number one seeded, reigning National Champion Duke Blue Devils on Thursday night, Arizona joined Butler and Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) as unlikely teams to win their regions.
Derek Williams, the sophomore forward from La Mirada was the Pac 10 ‘Player of the Year’ for Arizona. To reach the Western Regional Final, Williams poured in 32 points and brought down 13 rebounds in an impressive 93-77 victory over Duke. Kyle Fogg, the junior guard form Brea-Olinda H.S. added 14 in the victory.
In order to get to the Final Four, the Wildcats would have to beat powerhouse UConn and Kemba Walker. CBS and a national television audience were the winners as Arizona produced another highly competitive, never say die effort.
Down 44-38 at halftime, the Wildcats had some key players, to include Williams in foul trouble. Arizona caught the Huskies and went ahead 55-54 with six minutes to play. What looked like Arizona momentum, turned into turnovers, whistles and a few athletic baskets by UConn’s All American, Kemba Walker.
With 12 seconds on the clock and possession, Derrek Williams and Jamelle Horn each launched shots from threepoint range that missed. The partisan Arizona crowd was stunned, their magical run had ended 65-63.
UConn will now travel the toughest road as they face Kentucky in the Final Four in Houston.
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