Another big win for Arizona, another dramatic block by Arizona’s Derrick Williams.
After some early trouble with Memphis, fifth-seeded Arizona advanced with a 77-75 win over the 12th-seeded Tigers. Arizona advanced to play fourth-seeded Texas on Sunday.
With 14.9 seconds left, Memphis forward Will Barton missed a potential game-tying three-pointer. With one more chance for Memphis tie the game in the final seconds, Arizona opted to foul with 5 seconds remaining. Joe Jackson made the first free throw, missed the second of the back rim, almost certainly intentionally.
The ball wound up in the hands of Wesley Witherspoon, whose close-range shot was blocked by Williams with just over a second left.
Williams, who is likely a very high pick in the 2011 NBA draft, also had a game-changing block in the waning moments of a late-season win against Washington.
On Friday, Williams made 6 of 11 shots and scored 22 points. Antonio Barton had 17 to lead Memphis.
This was an impressive win for Arizona Coach Sean Miller, who is ahead of schedule in his rebuilding effort in Tucson.
Memphis may have needed to win the Conference USA tournament to receive a bid to the NCAAs. Memphis Coach Josh Pastner could not lead his Tigers to an upset over the school at which he played and worked as an assistant.
But this game was as exciting as advertised.