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Arizona on Fire

Derrick Williams torches Duke for 32 points as the Wildcats run the Blue Devils off the floor


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LAST UPDATED: 01:05 a.m. HST, Mar 29, 2011


ANAHEIM, Calif. » Derrick Williams grabbed the front of his jersey at chest level and pushed out the name on the front for everyone to see.

Arizona was no longer just a nice little regional story from an afterthought of a conference.

Not after the second-half smackdown the fifth-seeded Wildcats administered yesterday during a 93-77 drubbing of top-seeded Duke in a NCAA West Regional semifinal.

Arizona outscored the defending national champions by 22 points over the final 20 minutes, getting contributions from almost its entire roster following a first-half breakthrough by Williams in which the sophomore forward scored 25 of his career-high 32 points.

"Anyone who scores 25 points in one half on Duke," Wildcats guard Kevin Parrom said, "his name is Superman."

The hero had plenty of sidekicks in Arizona's game-turning 19-2 surge that transformed a six-point deficit into an 11-point cushion. Williams scored only two points during the run.

There was a jumper from forward Jesse Perry, a 3-pointer from forward Jamelle Horne, a driving layup from Parrom and a steal and dunk from seldom-used guard Brendon Lavender.

"That just shows the depth on our team," Arizona guard Jordin Mayes said, "that it's not a one-man show."

Guard Lamont Jones scored 16 points and forward Solomon Hill had 13 for Arizona.

The Wildcats' victory was a major triumph for the Pacific 10 Conference, which has not advanced a team this deep into the NCAA tournament since UCLA made the Final Four in 2008.

"The Elite Eight is great, but we're not looking to stop right there," said Williams, who made 11 of 17 shots, including five of six 3-pointers. "We're trying to win a national championship one step at a time, and one more game we're in the Final Four."

After trailing by six points at halftime, Arizona manhandled Duke in almost every facet in the second half. The Wildcats had a 25-9 edge in rebounding and a 24-6 advantage in points in the paint while shooting 58.3 percent to Duke's 37.5 percent.

There was still 6:47 remaining when Horne started exchanging celebratory hugs with teammates during a timeout huddle after dunking over Duke's Kyle Singler to give the Wildcats a 77-63 advantage. Fans started streaming out of the arena a few minutes later.

With his team headed to its most lopsided defeat of the season, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski pulled Singler and fellow senior Nolan Smith from the game with 2:01 left, sharing a brief exchange with the players along the sideline.

Krzyzewski finished the season two victories short of tying former mentor Bob Knight's record of 902 Division I coaching victories.

Duke's Kyrie Irving had 28 points off the bench, but the vaunted Blue Devils guards couldn't outclass their Arizona counterparts as expected.

Williams had 25 points by halftime, punctuating a dizzying display of putbacks and 3-pointers with a shot from about 30 feet over the outstretched arms of 6-foot-11 forward Ryan Kelly 1 second before the buzzer.

"That one at the end of the half, that kind of sums it all up," Duke forward Mason Plumlee said. "He was on fire."






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