Arizona Basketball

Allen’s game-winning shot in waning seconds bucks recent trend of Arizona Wildcats’ shortcomings in crunch time


Sean Miller’s team not only showed resolve battling back from a 17-2 deficit against Michigan State on Friday night, the Arizona Wildcats also overcame a wave of crunch-time failures in recent seasons.

Before the 65-63 win over the Spartans in Honolulu, the Arizona Wildcats had trouble finishing off close games with a win on the road since 2012-13. Since the start of that season, the Arizona Wildcats were 4-11 in games away from McKale Center in games decided by three points or less.

That record is now 5-11 after Kadeem Allen scored the game-winning basket against Michigan State.

Remember the shortcomings last year in crunch time? Those losses by three points or less at USC, Cal and Colorado were a result of last-second devastating turnovers.

Allen took the ball the length of the court despite a sore knee against Michigan State and scored with 1.3 seconds left. The coast-to-coast drive for the winning shot was reminiscent of Khalid Reeves’ full-court move to the hoop for the winner at Stanford in 1992.

”Putting the ball in (Allen’s) hands in that situation was I think the smart move, and he did a great job finishing,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said.

The game was played at the same arena, the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, in which Arizona escaped with a 68-67 win over San Diego State on Christmas Day in 2012. That was Arizona’s previous game at that arena and it was won because of Nick Johnson’s final-second heroics of a blocked shot that denied the Aztecs the chance for the win.

The following are some of the notable game-winning shots in Arizona hoops history with Allen’s basket tonight added to this list:

— Arizona 6-10 center Bob Elliott’s 35-foot jumper at the buzzer beats Kansas State in 1973.

Eddie Smith’s bank shot at the buzzer beats ASU 65-64 in Tempe in 1984 and sets Lute Olson’s dominant program in motion.

Craig McMillan’s McClutch shot at the buzzer from full-court pass from Steve Kerr against Oregon State in 1986.

Sean Rooks’ last-second bank shot at Stanford in 1991 gives the Wildcats a 78-76 victory.

Chris Mills’ buzzer-beating jumper in regulation gives Arizona life in its 105-94 overtime victory over UCLA in 1991.

Khalid Reeves’ coast-to-coast buzzer-beater with less the five seconds left beats Stanford at Maples Pavilion in 1992.

Miles Simon’s 65-foot bank shot as time expired to beat Cincinnati in Phoenix in 1996.

Richard Jefferson’s tap-in at the buzzer off Jason Terry’s missed three-pointer beats Washington in 1999.

Salim Stoudamire’s jumper with six-tenths of a second left beats ASU in Tempe in 2005.

Nic Wise’s controversial game-winning last-second shot against Lipscomb at McKale in 2009.

— Wise drove the length of the court for a buzzer-beating win against North Carolina State also in 2009.

MoMo Jones’ 16-foot bank shot at the buzzer in the same season 2009-10 beats Stanford at Maples.

— Wise’s game-winning shot with one second left in double-overtime against USC at McKale caps wild finishes in Miller’s first season at Arizona.

Mark Lyons’ running, floating bank shot with seven seconds left over a defender in Arizona’s 65-64 win over Florida in 2012.

Kadeem Allen takes the inbound pass and drives the length of the court for a game-winning layup over Michigan State with 1.3 seconds left today.


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