Another number 1 seed bites the dust as the Arizona Wildcats did what many felt was improbable, they beat the great and mighty Duke, and they did it with such ease in the second half that you couldn’t believe that was honestly the Blue Devils out there. Behind a career night for guard Derrick Williams, who put up 32 on the evening, Arizona fought, scraped and eventually pummeled the top seed in the West.
"A lot of people counted us out," The Wildcats Lamont Jones said. "We kept on beating on the door, beating on the door until we were in."
Down 44-38 heading into the half, things didn’t look good for the Wildcats. The only thing Arizona had in the first half, heck the only thing keeping them in the game, was 25 points from Williams. The second half, however, was a different story as Arizona came out and ripped the heart out of Duke with a complete team effort that the Blue Devils couldn’t begin to match. Outscoring Duke 55-33 in the 2nd half, the Wildcats easily rolled to the Elite 8.
"The second half was just complete nastiness, as coach would say," Kevin Parrom said. "We came out swinging. We didn’t let up. We knew they were just going to focus on Derrick and that’s when other guys came in and stepped up. It shows that it’s not just Derrick Williams who is on this team."
Duke came out of the break with two goals in mind; stopping Derrick Williams and winning the game. They were only able to achieve the first as they held Williams to 7 second half points while his teammates fed off the the lack of attention to take the lead on an amazing 19-2 run that saw Williams only contribute 2 points.
"They just got on a real roll. When you get on a roll, you have more energy than the other guy," Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We had no stop for them, and you kind of get overwhelmed there for a little bit. They knocked us back and got that double-digit lead."
Duke was led by Kyle Irving who put up 28 points in the most action he’s seen since returning from injury. It is widely thought that if this freshman phenom declares for the NBA draft, that he will go number 1 overall. As of right now, he has yet to make a decision.
"I could definitely see myself wearing a Duke uniform again," he said. "I don’t want to take it off right now."
He’ll have more time than he anticipated to think on it now that Duke is like the majority of college players right now, spectators to the closing rounds of this years tournament.