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It was a coming out party for Derrick Williams in Arizona’s Sweet 16 destruction of Duke in the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night. Sure, Williams has been dominating the Pac-10 all season, but there were still plenty who had heard the name, but not seen him play. For those people — and those who are already familiar with Williams — his showing on Thursday did not disappoint.
He ended the game with a career high 32 points. But it was the first half that was the highlight reel. It started with a monster put-back dunk, and ended with Williams scoring 25 points in 20 minutes, including five three-pointers. It was all Williams in the first half.
But in the second half, his supporting cast came out to play. SB Nation’s Arizona Desert Storm on the performance of the role players:
After scoring only 13 points in the first half, everyone not named D-Will came to play in the second half as the role players ultimately combined for 61 of Arizona’s 93 points.
Momo Jones nearly matched the play of Irving and Smith, leading a sprited second-half comeback and finishing with 16 points, six assists and zero turnovers against Duke’s constant ball pressure. Solomon Hill chipped in 13 points and five rebounds, while Kyle Fogg dropped eight points and Jamelle Horne and Kevin Parrom each chipped in with seven. […]
Arizona opened the half on a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to 48-47. Duke pushed its lead back to four with 15:55 on the clock, but the Wildcats hit stride from that point on, rattling off a 17-2 run to surge ahead 66-55. Five different Arizona players scored during the run, led by Jones’ six points.
From there, the Wildcats never looked back, en route to a 93-77 embarrassment of the defending National Champions. Arizona moves on to play UConn at 7:05 p.m. ET in the Elite Eight on Saturday.
The stunning upset, and the stunning comeback, is now complete. After trailing by six points at halftime in a Sweet 16 matchup, Arizona outscored defending champion Duke 55-33 in the second half, running away with a 93-77 win and a date with UConn in the Elite 8. Derrick Williams scored a career-high 32 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and had three steals in a monster performance.
As good as Williams was, it was his supporting cast that stepped up in the second half. Williams had 25 first-half points, but only seven points after halftime. Instead, it was players like point guard Lamont "Momo" Jones, Solomon Hill and others who really came through. It was a complete team effort that was made possible because Williams willed Arizona to compete in the first half.
Kyrie Irving had 25 points off the bench to lead Duke, while Kyle Singler added 18 in his final game. ACC Player of the Year Nolan Smith was not as fortunate, scoring just eight points on 3-14 shooting in his final college game.
Duke had one last gasp to get back into this Sweet 16 game against Arizona, but it ended quickly. The Blue Devils forced two turnovers and had a chance to cut it to single digits, but Nolan Smith missed a point-blank layup on the break. Arizona turned that into a fast break of their own, and the rout was on.
Solomon Hill got the layup on the break on that play, and after a Kyrie Irving miss, Derrick Williams punctuated his incredible game with another three-pointer, his 33rd point of the game. After two Duke free throws, Lamont "Momo" Jones hit another pull-up jumper, pushing the lead back to 16. A putback by Solomon Hill then pushed the lead to 17 with under three minutes remaining.
Arizona has now scored 48 second-half points, compared to just 25 for Duke. As much as we all love Williams, nobody could have seen this coming.
The Arizona Wildcats have gone on a shocking run in the second half of their Sweet 16 game against Duke, and are on the verge of upsetting the defending champions. The Wildcats have outscored Duke 39-19 in the second half, with Derrick Williams punctuating the run with an emphatic tomahawk slam. Well, at least until Jamelle Horne put Miles Plumlee on a poster with a right-handed jam to give the Wildcats a 77-63 lead with 6:47 left.
Williams has 30 points, 11 rebounds and three steals, but it has been his supporting cast that has stepped up. Horme, Lamont "Momo" Jones and others have made huge plays, and Duke has completely wilted.
Duke got a bucket when Kyle Singler scored on a layup, and Andre Dawkins cut the lead back to eight points with two free throws. But Lamont "Momo" Jones continued his superb game with a stepback jumper in the corner over Kyle Singler, and Duke committed a turnover on the ensuing possession. Arizona pushed the lead back to 12 points when Solomon Hill got a layup. After two free throws by Kyrie Irving, Williams put the exclamation point on the game with the tomahawk slam.
In the first half, it was Derrick Williams for Arizona. In the second half, it's been everyone else. The Wildcats trailed by six points at halftime, but have rallied and now lead by 11. After 25 first-half points, Williams has just two points in the second half, but everyone else has stepped up.
The run was punctuated by two plays. Kevin Parrom scored a layup off a nice pass from Jordin Mayes, and Brendon Lavender got a steal and a dunk to push the lead to 66-55.
Prior to that, Lamont "Momo" Johnson had been a sparkplug. He scored the game-tying and go-ahead scores, and that got Arizona going. Jordan hit two free throws to give Arizona the lead, then Jamelle Horne hit a three-pointer off a kickout from Williams to give Arizona a five-point lead. After another miss, Jordan raced down the floor, split a double team and got another layup to push the lead to seven points. Kyle Singler stopped the run with a tough bucket, his 16th point of the game, but Arizona has surged since, going on a 19-2 run in all.
Arizona has started off well in this second half of its Sweet 16 game against Duke, as it finally gets other players involved other than Derrick Williams. Kyle Fogg hit a three-pointer, Solomon Hill hit a layup and two free throws and Jesse Perry scored as well, as the Wildcats have now rallied to tie the game at 53.
Williams, who starred in the first half, didn't take a shot for Arizona's first couple possessions. But while the Blue Devils have made a couple nice plays, it's been Arizona's supporting cast that stepped up. The Blue Devils responded initially after Arizona cut its lead to 48-47, but Lamont Jones punctuated another Arizona with a transition jumper to tie the game.
Nolan Smith, who was very quiet in the first half, got off early with a jump shot, as both teams try to get more of their players in the game. Kyrie Irving also hit a jump shot, and Andre Dawkins added a three-pointer, but those have been the only two field goals for the Blue Devils thus far in the second half.
It's essentially been Duke vs. Derrick Williams in this Sweet 16 showdown, and so far, Duke is winning. The Blue Devils have weathered 25 first-half points from Williams and lead Arizona, 44-38, at halftime.
Williams has been a one-man wrecking crew the entire half for the Wildcats. He has done it all, with putback dunks, layups and a three-point game he hasn't shown all season. Williams has hit five of his six three-pointers, including an impossible shot from 27 feet away with Miles Plumlee in his face to close the first half.
Duke has countered with a team effort led by Kyrie Irving. The young point guard has 14 points in limited minutes, hitting 5-6 from the field. Kyle Singler added 14 points of his own for the Blue Devils, who are shooting 53 percent from the field. Nobody else on Arizona has more than four points.
For all the attention Derrick Williams and Kyle Singler have received in this game, Kyrie Irving has quietly been lethal. Irving's play helped push Duke to a 31-20 lead, as the Blue Devils embarked on a 12-2 run to open up the game. But Arizona, led by Derrick Williams, has rallied and only trails 39-35 as we close in on the end of the first half.
The run began when Irving nailed a three-pointer for his 10th point of the game to give Duke its biggest lead of the game. But that wasn't the case for long. After a Wildcats miss, Singler added to that with a spin move and foul to put Duke up nine. Irving then drove, crossed over and got a layup to culminate the run.
As usual, it was Williams who led the Wildcats back. He drew a foul on the inside, then sprinted the floor and nearly threw it down on Miles Plumlee on the break. Plumlee fouled him, and Williams hit two more free throws to stop the bleeding. Williams then nailed two more three-pointers, flashing range he has been reluctant to show all season, but Duke has managed to stay ahead.
Duke and Arizona are engaged in a spirited game in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Despite the best efforts of Derrick Williams, the Blue Devils lead 23-20, holding the advantage despite 12 points, four rebounds and three steals for Williams.
After a number of possessions without points, Kyle Fogg hit a tough pull-up jumper to cut Duke's lead to 19-18. Nolan Smith immediately followed with a pull-up jumper of his own for his first points of the game, and Mason Plumlee stuffed Derrick Williams in the post.
On the ensuing possession, Kyle Singler stole the ball from Williams on a double team, and Seth Curry hit a jump shot to push the lead to five points. Williams responded with a spinning layup with two men on him, getting the ball deep and turning backwards to get the layup. Earlier, Williams outran Curry for a loose ball down the floor, showing off his tremendous speed.
Derrick Williams continues to be unbelievably impressive, single-handily keeping Arizona in its Sweet 16 game against Duke. Williams already has 10 points, including a ridiculous put-back right-handed slam that may be the best play of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
Williams has also nailed two three-pointers in the game and scored a layup, showing off his complete game. But Duke has responded, led by Kyle Singler. Singler has been a matchup problem all night, with 10 points of his own on two threes and two layups. Those two are the only players doing much, though Kyrie Irving also has seven points off the bench for the Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils went on an 8-0 run at one point to turn a 6-2 deficit into a 10-6 lead, but Kyle Fogg stopped that with a jumper.
The stars have come to play early in this Sweet 16 matchup between Duke and Arizona. Derrick Williams has been aggressive early, and Kyle Singler has his shot going too as Duke leads 8-6 at the 15:45 mark of the first quarter.
Williams got the Wildcats on the board early, rebounding a miss by Lamont Jones and putting it back in to give Arizona a 2-0 lead. Williams then jab-stepped on Plumlee and nailed a three in his face to give Arizona a 6-2 lead. Williams also has two rebounds battling with Duke inside.
Singler, meanwhile, nailed his first two shots - a three-pointer from the top of the key and a three from the corner to account for most of Duke's scoring. Nolan Smith has yet to score, missing his only shot from the top of the key.
Duke Vs. Arizona is one of the most intriguing Sweet 16 matchups in the 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket. Both teams survived second-round challenges to reach this point, and both offer a dash of star power that could make this game a classic. The game will take place at 9:45 p.m. Thursday on CBS, according to the 2011 NCAA Tournament schedule, and Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery will be the announcers.
Duke got here by surviving No. 8 Michigan in the third round, 73-71, and "surviving" is the best way to put it. The Blue Devils held off a late challenge by Michigan, and only did so when Darius Morris missed a floater in the lane with two seconds left that would have tied the score. The Blue Devils really struggled down the stretch, and are still adjusting to the return of Kyrie Irving to the lineup. After starring against Hampton, Irving made just one shot from the field. Luckily, Nolan Smith saved the day with 24 big points, showing why he is the ACC Player of the Year.
Arizona also barely made it to the Sweet 16, though there was more controversy in their case. The Wildcats trailed No. 4 seed Texas by two points with 14.5 seconds left when the referees called a five-second violation on the Longhorns. Video evidence shows Texas trying to call a timeout with four seconds left, but the referees missed it. Derrick Williams then made a huge play, diving down the lane and scoring a layup while drawing a foul to provide the winning margin. Williams also saved the day in the Wildcats' first-round win over No. 12 seed Memphis, blocking a shot at the buzzer to preserve a two-point win.
Like Texas, Duke has plenty of bodies to throw at Williams. However, the Blue Devils don't have a Tristan Thompson, who held Williams in check in the Texas game. For Arizona to win, it will need Williams to dominate Duke on the inside. Duke, on the other hand, needs a better performance from Irving and continued excellence from Smith and Kyle Singler to continue its NCAA title defense.
Star Watch: Williams is the man to watch for Arizona, and while he's had poor moments in the NCAA Tournament, he always seems to come up big when it matters. Speaking of coming up big when it matters, you can bet Smith will be involved if Duke is in a close game.
Prediction: Williams will rebound, but Duke is just too deep, especially on the perimeter. The Blue Devils win, 78-67.
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