Williams' basket, block keep Arizona alive


TULSA, Okla. -- Derrick Williams nearly took his many skills to Memphis. Instead, the Pac-10 player of the year used them to defeat the Tigers in the NCAA Tournament.

Williams made a late 3-pointer to finish with 22 points and 10 rebounds for fifth-seeded Arizona, then blocked a potential tying shot in the final seconds to seal a 77-75 victory on Friday.

"It's as if he's playing in his backyard," Wildcats coach Sean Miller said. "He just has a way of making big plays and finishing the other team off. He did it here again tonight."

Joe Jackson hit the first of two free throws with five seconds left, then missed the second to give the Tigers a shot at the tie. Wesley Witherspoon grabbed the offensive rebound at the right block, but Williams came over to swat it away and send the Wildcats into a Sunday game against fourth-seeded Texas in the West Region.

"At one point, he was wide open," Williams said. "I knew he wasn't going to shot-fake it because there wasn't enough time on the clock, so I just went up trying to make a hard play on the ball like Coach always tells us to do.

"Good thing it wasn't a foul."

Memphis coach Josh Pastner did not protest the noncall and complimented Jim Burr -- one of the referees who withdrew from the Big East tournament after missed calls cost Rutgers in a loss to St. John's -- and the rest of the crew on a good game.

Pastner said he couldn't complain after his 12th-seeded Tigers (25-10) had a shot at the tie -- even if Williams took it away, just as he did against Washington last month.

"Derrick's really good," Pastner said. "Like I've said, I voted for him for national player of the year. My vote doesn't change after today's performance because he's really good."

Lamont "MoMo" Jones added 18 points for Arizona (28-7), including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:35 to play. He added two free throws with 7.4 seconds left to make it a three-point game.

Antonio Barton scored 17 points and his brother Will Barton added 12 points for Memphis, which returned to the tournament after a one-year absence and played with its lowest seed ever. The Tigers won 13 NCAA Tournament games over a four-year span under John Calipari, losing a late lead to Kansas in the 2008 national championship game.

Pastner was making his NCAA Tournament coaching debut against the school where he was a longtime assistant to Lute Olson and a reserve on the Wildcats' 1997 championship team.

He was also close to attracting Williams, who visited only Memphis and Arizona after decommitting from Southern California following coach Tim Floyd's resignation.

Instead, Williams celebrated with Arizona after sending the Tigers home, clenching his right fist and slapping his chest after blocking Witherspoon's putback try.

TODAY'S NCAA TOURNAMENT GAMES
EAST REGIONAL
At Tampa, Fla.
Kentucky (26-8) vs. West Virginia (21-11), 9:15 a.m., CBS (8)

SOUTHEAST REGIONAL
At Tampa, Fla.
Florida (27-7) vs. UCLA (23-10), 11:45 a.m., CBS (8)
At Washington
Pittsburgh (28-5) vs. Butler (24-9), 4:10 p.m., TBS (7)
At Denver
Brigham Young (31-4) vs. Gonzaga (25-9), 4:45 p.m., CBS (8)
At Tucson, Ariz.
Wisconsin (24-8) vs. Kansas State (23-10), 5:40 p.m., TNT (18)

SOUTHWEST REGIONAL
At Denver
Richmond (28-7) vs. Morehead State (25-9), 2:15 p.m., CBS (8)

WEST REGIONAL
At Tucson, Ariz.
San Diego State (33-2) vs. Temple (26-7), 3:10 p.m., TNT (18)
At Washington
Connecticut (27-9) vs. Cincinnati (26-8), 6:40 p.m., TBS (7)
 

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