Arizona didn't play a bad game on Saturday afternoon, but they inevitably dropped off from the level of incredible play they exhibited against Duke. They went all-in to beat #1 on Thursday night, and it's not too surprising the team fell off in its production and efficiency against UConn.
The Wildcats returned to Earth with regards to their shooting stroke. One of the best three point shooting teams in the country, Arizona did shoot 50% inside managed to shoot only 4 of 21 from downtown, and it was fitting their final two three point attempts by Derrick Williams and Jamelle Horne to go for the win rather than the tie came up just a little long and just a little short.
Arizona experienced a harsh regression to the mean Saturday, and it ended their national championship aspirations.
Still, Arizona did keep themselves in the game by managing to win the rebounding game as expected (42 to 31 advantage on total boards, 19 to 11 advantage on offensive boards) and again relying on Williams to carry the brunt (20 points, 5 of 13 shooting, 9 of 12 from the free throw line, 5 boards). Jesse Perry provided a nice spark at the start of the second half to finish with 14 points and 7 rebounds, Kyle Fogg and Lamont Jones contributed 11 and 8 points respectively, but Horne, Kevin Parrom, Jordon Mayes and Solomon Hill combined to go 4 for 21 from the field (although they did grab 22 combined rebounds as well). UConn's defense bothered the Wildcats enough on both the perimeter and the inside that even all of Arizona's depth was negated.
As for UConn, Arizona's defense (not the greatest ever) was surprisingly solid itself for most of the game. The Huskies only shot 29% on their threes and 41% overall. Kemba Walker did hit his customary selection of big shots, but he was only an average 7 for 17 shooting in putting up 20 points (he did distribute seven assists). Jeremy Lamb had some huge plays down the stretch, but he also shot only 7 for 19 for 19 points. If it weren't for Connecticut getting some early and unexpected success at getting to the free throw line off of hasty Arizona fouls, they might not have pulled this one off.
The Huskies will move onto face the winner of North Carolina/Ohio State in the Final Four. For reaction from Wildcats fans, go to Arizona Desert Swarm. For reaction from Husky fans, go to The UConn Blog.