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2013 NCAA Tournament: Arizona Has Rich NCAA Tournament History in Los Angeles

Alan RubensteinAnalyst IIIDecember 11, 2016

2013 NCAA Tournament: Arizona Has Rich NCAA Tournament History in Los Angeles

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    Arizona’s history of NCAA tournament games stretches back to the Fred Snowden era with a thrilling Sweet 16 win against UNLV. The Wildcats have largely been successful in the Los Angeles area. Only once has Arizona lost in the opening game of the weekend in LA, in the first round in 1986 to Auburn at Long Beach.

    In their last three appearances in the regionals in Los Angeles, the Wildcats have fallen in the regional finals.

    With a large alumni base in the greater Los Angeles area and only an hour flight from Tucson and Phoenix, the Wildcats will have a decided home court edge at the Staples Center. In addition, the Pac-10/12 Tournament was held at Staples until this year.

1976: Defeated UNLV 114-109 (OT) , West Regional Semifinal, Pauley Pavillion

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    In their first tournament game ever in Los Angeles, the Wildcats survived a wild one. Six players scored over 20 points, and two more had 18.

    The Wildcats’ Herman Harris had 31 points, nine rebounds and nine assists as UA advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time.

1976: Lost to UCLA 82-66, West Regional Final

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    UCLA broke open a tight game in the second half. After leading by three at halftime, the Bruins outscored UA 44-31 after halftime to advance to their tenth straight Final Four. Harris scored 18 but only had one rebound and four assists.

    Richard Washington led UCLA with 16 points and 10 boards.

1986: Lost to Auburn 73-63, West Regional First Round, Long Beach

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    The Wildcats lost for the only time in their first game in eight NCAA appearances in Los Angeles. Auburn outscored the Wildcats 41-29 in the second half after trailing by two at halftime.


    Future NBA stars Chuck Person and Sean Elliott each led their teams with 20 points. It was Elliott’s first NCAA tournament game. The difference in the game was Auburn’s 36-21 rebounding edge.

1988: Defeated Cornell 90-50, First Round, Pauley Pavilion

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    Arizona opened the tournament as a No. 1 seed for the first time by blowing out the Ivy League champions. Elliott and Anthony Cook dominated the undersized Big Red by combining for 41 points on 14 of 22 shooting.

    The game began Arizona’s first run to a Final Four.

1988: Defeated Seton Hall 84-55 Second Round, Pauley Pavillon

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    Arizona jumped out to a 45-25 halftime lead and never looked back. Cook and Elliott were once again dominant. They combined for 39 points on 13-23 from the floor. John Morton led the Hall with 16 points. A year later he scored 35 in the Pirates overtime loss to Michigan in the national championship game.

1990: Defeated South Florida 79-67 First Round, Long Beach

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    Brian Williams put on a dominating performance in his first NCAA tournament game as a Wildcat. He scorched the Bulls for 28 points on 12-15 shooting and contributed seven rebounds as the Wildcats improved to 4-2 in NCAA tournament games in the Los Angeles area.

1990: Lost to Alabama 77-55, Second Round, Long Beach

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    After taking a five-point lead into halftime, the Crimson Tide outscored Arizona 39-22 in the second half. Five Alabama players finished in double figures, led by David Benoit’s 20 points and 13 rebounds.

    Alabama out-rebounded UA 37-26 and had 23 assists to just 13 for the Wildcats. This was the first of many disappointing early exits for Arizona throughout the '90s.

    Williams failed to score in just 14 minutes of playing time.

1994: Defeated Louisville 82-70, Regional Semifinal, Sports Arena

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    In a game that wasn’t as close as the score, the Wildcats took a 35-26 lead into halftime. Louisville’s All-American forward Cliff Rozier finished with five points. The Wildcats shot 48 percent from the floor and held Louisville to just 37 percent. Khalid Reeves finished with 29 points, and the Wildcats made 10 three-point shots.

1994: Defeated Missouri 92-72, Regional Final, Sports Arena

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    In a dominant performance, Arizona took a 48-34 halftime lead and never looked back in ousting the West’s number-one seed.

    Arizona’s three-guard lineup combined for 67 points. Reeves finished with 26 to earn the West Region’s most outstanding player award. Reeves, Damon Stoudamire and Reggie Geary combined to make 25-29 from the free-throw line. The Wildcats finished 33-41 from the line as a team to just 7-15 for Missouri.

1998: Defeated Maryland 87-79, West Regional Semifinal, Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim

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    Arizona entered the 1998 NCAA tournament as defending champions after one of the best seasons in school history. The Wildcats went 17-1 in the Pac-10, not losing until the second to last game of the season at USC. Miles Simon and Mike Bibby were first team All-Americans and Michael Dickerson was the leading scorer.

    Arizona traveled to Anaheim with a 36-point average winning margin in the first two games. It had a nine-point lead at the half and maintained it through most of the second half to advance to its second straight regional final. Arizona shot 7-16 from beyond the arc and held Maryland to 37 percent overall shooting.

    All five Wildcat starters finished in double figures, led by the 1997 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Simon with 26.

1998: Lost to Utah 76-51, West Regional Final

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    In the most lopsided NCAA tournament loss during the Olson era, the Utes Triangle and two stymied the Wildcats. The Wildcats shot just 28 percent, falling a game short of advancing to back-to-back Final Fours.

    Dickerson, Bibby and Simon combined to shoot just 6-of-36. Utes points guard Andre Miller recorded a triple double with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists.

2003: Defeated Notre Dame 88-71, West Regional Semifinal, Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim

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    Five years after the devastating loss in the regional final, Arizona returned to Anaheim in quest of another Final Four.

    Arizona took a 53-40 halftime lead in an explosive opening 20 minutes. Five Wildcats finished in double figures, led by Jason Gardner’s 19. Luke Walton nearly had a triple-double with 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

    The Wildcats forced 19 Notre Dame turnovers, including seven by All-American point guard Chris Thomas.

2003: Lost to Kansas 78-75, West Regional Final, Anaheim

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    This was a rematch of an epic game played earlier in the year. In that showdown in Lawrence, Arizona came back from 20 points down to outscore the Jayhawks 52-22 in the second half to capture a 91-74 victory.

    Arizona twice attempted to come back from double-digit deficits but ultimately fell by three. Jason Gardner’s last shot of his career was a missed three-pointer as time expired. In a matchup of great point guards, Kirk Hinrich scored 28 for KU, and Gardner finished with 23 for the Wildcats.

2011: Defeated Duke 93-77, West Regional Semifinal, Honda Center

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    Coming off wins over Memphis and Texas by a combined three points, not many people gave Arizona a chance against top-seed Duke. A Derek Williams' three-pointer just before halftime cut Duke’s deficit to 44-38.

    The Wildcats exploded after halftime and played one of the best halves of basketball in Arizona NCAA tournament history, outscoring the Blue Devils 55-33 in the second half.

    With Florida Gulf Coast currently dubbed Dunk City, the Wildcats staged their own Dunk City against Duke. Two memorable dunks by Williams and one by Jamelle Horne are firmly sketched in Wildcat lore.

    Williams scored 25 in the first half and finished with 32 points and 13 rebounds.

2011: Lost to UConn 65-63, West Regional Final, Honda Center

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    Arizona lost for the third consecutive time in a regional final in Anaheim. After trailing by seven at halftime, the Wildcats nearly pulled off another epic comeback. A three- point attempt for the win by Jamelle Horne hit the front rim at the buzzer.

    After making nine of 15 three-point attempts in the upset win over Duke, the Wildcats made just four of 21 in the loss to the Huskies. It was too much Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb as they combined for 39 points. Williams finished with 20 for UA.

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