Friday, March 25, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Arizona 93, Duke 77
By Diamond Leung
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Arizona stunned defending national champion Duke 93-77, as the Wildcats head to the Elite Eight after outscoring the Blue Devils 55-33 in the second half. Derrick Williams had 32 points and 13 rebounds in a dominating performance that won't soon be forgotten. The last player with 30 points and 10 rebounds in a win over a No. 1 seed? Carmelo Anthony against Texas in the 2003 Final Four. Lamont Jones scored 16, and Solomon Hill added 13. Duke was led by Kyrie Irving's 28 points, but Nolan Smith struggled mightily in his final game. Smith scored eight points on 3-for-14 shooting and committed six turnovers. The national player of the year candidate averaged just 13.6 points per game in the NCAA tournament.
Turning point: A Williams dunk extended the Arizona lead to 73-61, and it wasn’t just any other dunk. Williams faked out his defender and then drove the lane for an uncontested slam. The exclamation point came during a relatively quiet second half for Williams, who scored 25 points in the first. But the power dunk sent the message to Duke that it wasn’t going to be the Blue Devils’ night.
Key player: Williams was simply masterful, finishing 11-for-17 from the field and going 5-for-6 from beyond the arc. Six of his 13 rebounds were on the offensive glass. The Pac-10 player of the year's NBA draft stock shot up, but first comes a chance at making it to the Final Four.
Key stat: Arizona outrebounded Duke 40-27 (25-9 in the second half), capitalizing on Williams' dominance and relying on 16 offensive rebounds for numerous easy shots. Williams had a putback dunk in the first half that rattled the rim and wowed the crowd. Jesse Perry had six rebounds, and Hill had five.
Miscellaneous: The Wildcats are back in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2005. ... Duke now has five losses in the Sweet 16 as a top seed in the NCAA tournament. According to ESPN Stats & Information, no other program has more than two. ... Despite Irving's performance, the Blue Devils lacked an outside shooting presence and couldn't match up with Williams. ... Kyle Singler had 18 points and eight rebounds in his final game, but it wasn't enough. ... Entering Thursday, 5-seeds were 6-38 all time against No. 1 seeds. There's now a seventh member of that club. ... This was the fifth-most lopsided tournament loss in Duke history and the second-worst ever by a 1-seed prior to the Elite Eight. Ohio State's 17-point loss to St. John's in 1991 tops the list. ... Arizona's 93 points were the most scored by a Duke opponent in the NCAA tournament since 1997.
What’s next: No. 5 seed Arizona moves on to play No. 3 seed UConn on Saturday for the right to go to the Final Four.