Williams, Arizona put end to Duke reign
Derrick Williams scored a career-high 32 points and his Arizona teammates showed they’re not just a one-man team, upsetting defending national champion Duke 93-77 Thursday night to reach the final eight for the first time since 2005.
The top-seeded Blue Devils (32-5) were sent packing from a regional semifinal for the second time in three years. Coach Mike Krzyzewski, with 900 wins, will have to wait until next season to resume his pursuit of Bob Knight’s record as the winningest men’s coach in Division I history.
Williams scored 25 of his points in the first half before his teammates came up big in the final 20 minutes. Lamont Jones added 16 points and Solomon Hill 13.
Williams had 13 rebounds to help his team dominate the boards, 40-27, while playing 15 minutes from his hometown of La Mirada.
Fifth-seeded Arizona (30-7) will play Connecticut (29-9) on Saturday in the West Regional final.
Duke’s Kryie Irving scored 28 points in his most minutes since returning at the start of the NCAA tournament after missing 26 games with a toe injury. Kyle Singler added 18 as one of three Blue Devils in second-half foul trouble. Nolan Smith was held to eight points — well under the senior’s 21-point average.
Down by six points early in the second half, the Wildcats unleashed a scoring rampage that left the Blue Devils looking stunned.
Williams scored just two points during the 19-2 run while five of his teammates did the rest, hitting from long-range, driving to the basket and scoring off a fast break. Jones’ basket tied the game at 53 and the spurt ended with Arizona leading 66-55. Jones and Jamelle Horne had five points each.
Horne’s dunk extended Arizona’s lead to 77-63 as the Wildcats’ fans roared, thrilled to see their team making a deep run in the tournament a season after the school’s 25-year streak of consecutive appearances ended.
The Wildcats closed the first half on an 18-13 run, capped by Williams’ 3-pointer just before the buzzer, that left them trailing 44-38. He hit back-to-back shots from the same spot at the top of the 3-point line during the spurt in which his teammates contributed just five points.
The Wildcats closed within one point earlier in the half, and Duke responded by outscoring them 14-7 to take its largest lead, 31-20.