Arizona Basketball

On this day in Arizona NCAA tournament history: March 15


March 15

2002: Defeated College of Charleston, 73-69, Second Round (Memphis)

Arizona leading scorer: Miles Simon 20 points

Arizona leading rebounder: A.J. Bramlett 15 rebounds

Arizona leader in assists: Simon with four

Summary: The fourth-seeded Wildcats advanced to a round of 16 rematch with No. 1-seeded Kansas. The College of Charleston exited crestfallen, its 23-game winning streak snapped. “It’s the saddest day in my 33 years of coaching,” College of Charleston coach John Kresse said. With 19.6 seconds left, Anthony Johnson, a former ball boy at College of Charleston, nailed a 3-pointer to bring the Cougars to within 70-69. harleston had one more chance when Simon missed one of two foul shots. With 13.9 seconds left Johnson drove the lane and kicked the ball out to Jermel President. His 16-footer was too strong. Mike Bibby, a freshman, looked like a veteran making two free throws to ice the game. He finished with 18 points, including 7 of 8 free throws. “He’s been clutch for us all season,” Lute Olson said of Bibby. It was Bibby’s 13 second-half points that keyed an Arizona comeback after the Wildcats trailed by 10. When Arizona switched to a full-court trap with 10:57 left, College of Charleston started to become undone.

1996: Defeated Valparaiso, 90-51, First Round (Tempe)

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Arizona leading scorer: Michael Dickerson, 22 points

Arizona leading rebounders: Ben Davis and Miles Simon, 4 rebounds each

Arizona leader in assists: Reggie Geary with eight

Arizona NCAA tournament records
Largest halftime lead: 36 points
Fewest points allowed first half: 15 points
Most assists in a game: 26
Highest 3-point FG percentage (minimum three attempts): 1.000, Jason Terry (3 of 3).

Summary: Arizona quickly dispelled of the talk about a first-round jinx.Dickerson led an scoring onslaught in the West Regional game. Four players scored in double figures as the Wildcats advanced to the second round for just the second time in the previous five years. “For this team to get the first one is a big thing,” Arizona forward Joe McLean said. “It gets the monkey off Coach’s (Lute Olson’s) back. But we don’t worry about that. Now we just want to get to the third round. That’s all we care about.” The Wildcats, a perennial Top 15 team, fell in the first round to East Tennessee State in 1992, Santa Clara in ’93 and Miami (Ohio) in ’95. But victory never was in doubt against the shellshocked Crusaders. Arizona scored the first seven points of the game, then later embarked on scoring sprees that built the advantage to 23 points midway through the first half, 36 at intermission and 45 early in the second half before the Wildcats mercifully began clearing their bench.

1985: Lost to Alabama, 50-41, First Round (Albuquerque)

Arizona Daily Star clipping from Arizona’s loss to Alabama in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 1985.

Arizona leading scorer: Pete Williams, 10 points

Arizona leading rebounders: Williams, 7 rebounds

Arizona leader in assists: Brock Brunkhorst with three

Arizona NCAA tournament records
Fewest points in a game: 41
Fewest points in a half: 17

Summary: Arizona, making its first NCAA tournament under Lute Olson, who was in only his second year in Tucson, had a poor shooting performance from the field at The Pit. The Wildcats made only 29 percent (14 of 48) its shots from the field. Guards Steve Kerr and Craig McMillan combined to make eight of their 14 shots, but their teammates were 6 of 34. Arizona’s lack of size inside was evident with its zero offensive rebounds in the game. Pete Williams, Arizona’s starting center at 6’7″ and 200 pounds, was 40 pounds lighter than Alabama’s 6’9″ post player Buck Johnson, who had 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Future coach Mark Gottfried played in the game for Alabama and scored only four points in 22 minutes.

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