by David Cassilo / @dcassilo
Simply saying Arizona beat Duke 93-77 would not give the Wildcats enough credit. Drawing on its superior athleticism, Arizona outplayed and outmuscled Duke in the second half, outscoring the Blue Devils by 22 points as it advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2005.
As has been the case all year for the Wildcats, Derrick Williams did most of the damage on Thursday night. Supplying his fair share of thunderous dunks, Williams finished with 32 points and 13 rebounds. His versatility was on full display as his 5-for-6 shooting from beyond the arc tied a season-high.
But the difference for Arizona was Lamont “Momo” Jones. After not scoring against Texas, Jones tallied 16 points and dished out 6 assists, giving the Wildcats the second option that they have desperately looked for all season.
Meanwhile, Duke’s season of high expectations hit an abrupt finish. National Player of the Year candidate Nolan Smith managed just 8 points in his final game, and Coach Mike Krzyzewski will end the season still two victories shy of Bob Knight’s Division I record for wins by a head coach. The lone bright spot for the Blue Devils was Kyrie Irving, who, in what might have been his final college game, scored 28 points off the bench.
Arizona will now face Connecticut in the Elite Eight on Saturday. The Huskies defeated San Diego State 74-67 behind 36 points from Kemba Walker. A win for the Wildcats would give them a spot in the Final Four for the first time since 2001.