Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats best-play hoops countdown: Rooks banks in game-winner at Stanford in 1991




[ezcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]

This year’s countdown to tipoff includes an overall look at the best play in Arizona Wildcats history, which will be determined as the days leading up to tipoff. Today marks 48 days until Arizona starts its 2014-15 season against Mount St. Mary’s on Nov. 14 at McKale Center. Along with the mentioning of the top plays, the countdown will once again display the top players who wore the number that corresponds with the day. The following is the next top play (they will be listed randomly during the countdown until a determination is made in a bracket):


Sean Rooks' bank shot with one second left was the difference in Arizona's 78-76 win at Stanford 24 seasons ago

Sean Rooks’ bank shot with one second left was the difference in Arizona’s 78-76 win at Stanford 24 seasons ago

Sean Rooks’ last-second heroic shot capped a performance in which Arizona showed composure after trailing by four points with two minutes remaining in a pressure-filled game at rival Stanford’s Maple Pavilion in 1991.

Stanford led, 76-72, with 2:25 left after a lay-in by Andrew Vlahov. But baskets by Brian Williams (who scored 13 points) and Matt Muehlebach tied it, 76-76, with 1:55 left.

Arizona, ranked No. 5 at 16-1 overall, was in position to take the lead when Vlahov made a diving steal. On the other end, Arizona’s Matt Othick drew a charging foul from Stanford point guard John Patrick, who was whistled by Pac-10 ref Richie Ballesteros for clearing out Othick with his left arm.

Stanford was up in arms about the call.

“I like to see the kids decide the game,” Stanford coach Mike Montgomery was quoted as saying by the Stanford Daily student newspaper. “That’s a no-call at best. It’s a crime.”

“I don’t know,” Olson said in the same article. “I’m beyond the point of understanding. There were a lot of calls I didn’t understand.”

The Wildcats called timeout to set up a winning shot. After play resumed, Othick dribbled around at the top of the key as the play developed. With 12 seconds left, he passed to Sean Rooks, who returned the ball to Othick. Leading scorer Chris Mills (who would finish with 18 points) received a pass on the left side.


[ezcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]

ARIZONA’S TOP PLAYS LISTED SO FAR (Click on link to access blogs that pertain to the following)

Salim Stoudamire’s game-winning jumper against Oklahoma State in the 2005 Sweet 16.
Sean Elliott’s free throw breaks Lew Alcindor’s conference scoring record in 1989.
Craig McMillan’s McClutch shot at the buzzer from full-court pass from Steve Kerr against Oregon State in 1986.
— Arizona 6-10 center Bob Elliott’s 35-foot jumper at the buzzer beats Kansas State in 1973.
Sean Elliott downs Duke with three-pointer over Danny Ferry in last minute in 1989.
Miles Simon’s 65-foot bank shot as time expired to beat Cincinnati in Phoenix in 1996.
Tom Tolbert’s no-look, twisting shot against North Carolina in the 1988 Elite Eight.


[ezcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]

The play was set up for Mills to take the winning shot, but he couldn’t shake Deshon Wingate. Mills looked inside, saw Adam Keefe guarding Rooks, and decided to let the big fellow try to make a play closer to the hoop. Mills passed to Rooks and Keefe fell to the floor because of a puddle of sweat, he said.

“I was moving to go around Sean — there was no contact,” Keefe told the Stanford Daily. “I put all my weight on one foot and I hit a puddle. He didn’t touch me.”

“I set a pick, rolled and saw Chris with the ball,” Rooks said in the same article. “I didn’t see what happened to Adam. I thought he might have tripped.”

With Keefe on the floor, Rooks had a wide-open bank shot from eight feet away. The ball kissed off the glass, hit the inside edge of the rim, and fell through with one second remaining.


[ezcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]


The Cardinal called timeout and set up a play. Vlahov got the ball out of bounds, tossed it down the floor. Kenny Hicks leaped high to catch the pass beyond the three-point line. He landed, turned and heaved the shot. The buzzer sounded. Wingate came in from the left corner, grabbed the ball and stuffed it through the hoop. The refs ruled Wingate touched the ball while it was still in the cylinder above the hoop. Offensive interference. And, even if it was not interference, Wingate touched the ball well after the buzzer sounded.

“We executed very well at the end,” Olson said. “We’ve been in so many close games we’ve learned to maintain our composure.”

In the three previous Pac-10 games, Arizona won by three over USC, five over UCLA and three over ASU.

Rooks finished with 10 points at Stanford. The frontcourt of Rooks, Mills and Williams — one of the program’s best in school history — combined for 41 points. publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
To Top