The season came to a crashing halt for the Arizona
Wildcats on Thursday after they blew a double-digit first-half lead to the Ohio State
Buckeyes and ultimately lost in the closing seconds.
Despite coughing up the advantage and falling down by 10 in the second half, Arizona fought back and tied the game up in the final minute.
Unfortunately UA's defense slipped up for the slightest of moments in the final seconds and surrendered the game winning three to LaQuinton Ross.
The struggles that plagued UA throughout the campaign surfaced towards the end of the first half and carried over into the second as the Buckeyes went on a huge run to take control of the contest. The offense went stagnant, the defense fell asleep, and the Wildcats ultimately paid for it in the end.
Solomon Hill did everything he could to keep Arizona in the game in the second half, but his efforts were ultimately wasted. In his final game in an Arizona uniform, the senior finished the night with 16 points, which included a furious run where he scored nine straight points for UA.
Hill also added three rebounds and three assists in the losing effort, concluding his career in the same all-around fashion Arizona fans have grown accustomed to seeing from the senior for the past four years.
Another senior, Mark Lyons, was a player determined to push Arizona to the victory, but unfortunately his effort was not enough.
The senior ended his brief UA career with a 23-point effort on 6-for-12 shooting. Lyons almost played the role of hero when he drove to the basket for a layup with less than 30 seconds remaining.
He flew past the OSU defense and drew a foul as his layup dropped. The free throw tied the game up and gave the Wildcats a chance to force overtime, but ultimately failed to stop the Buckeyes on their last possession.
No one else outside of Lyons or Hill reached double figures. Arizona played well as a team in the first half and were able to spread the wealth, but when the offense fell apart in the second half, Arizona became a two-man show.
Kevin Parrom and Nick Johnson combined to shoot 5-for-17, while big man Kaleb Tarczewski was held to just one field goal attempt – a tip-in – in 16 minutes of action.
Three-point shooting made a huge difference in this affair. Ohio State shot 7-for-13 from beyond the arc and won the game with Ross' connection from beyond the arc.
At one point in the first half, UA was 5-for-7 form three-point range and was in control of the contest. The Wildcats went 1-for-11 from long range beyond that point forward and that's when OSU took control of the contest.
Both teams were closely matched outside of UA's shortcomings from long range. Ohio State held slight advantages in turnover margin, assists, free throw shooting rebounds and blocks. UA was better in field goal shooting and steals. The game was very evenly matched where each play throughout the game made a difference.
What really did Arizona in was the lack of scoring to start the second half. The Wildcats did not score a single point for the first 5:20 of the second frame whereas Ohio State put up 10 points during that time-frame. It was during that period of time that the Wildcats lost their chances at advancing to the Elite Eight.
Arizona lost to Ohio State on Thursday. Read on for news and notes on why the Wildcats could not get it done.
Notebook: Arizona vs. Ohio State