Arizona Loses Heartbreaker To Illinois In Overtime, 90-89
March 26, 2005
By RICK GANO
AP Sports Writer
ROSEMONT, Ill. - Keep the bus running and point it toward St. Louis.Thanks to a jaw-dropping comeback, Illinois' journey has another leg left: theFinal Four.
Trailing 75-60 with four minutes left, Illinois showed why it was No. 1 mostof the season.
With Deron Williams leading the way, the Illini staged an electrifying andimprobable comeback to force overtime and then held on to beat Arizona 90-89Saturday night to win the Chicago Regional.
The Illini (36-1), who've been able to drive to their two tournament sitesin Indianapolis and suburban Chicago so far, can keep on busing.
In St. Louis, they will play Louisville (33-4), which rallied from a20-point deficit Saturday to beat West Virginia 93-85 in overtime and take theAlbuquerque Regional.
The last time two regional final games went into overtime in the same yearwas 1992 when Michigan beat Ohio State, and Duke eliminated Kentucky.
Williams tied the game and capped a stunning 20-5 run by hitting a 3-pointerwith 38 seconds left in regulation, making it 80-80.
Arizona (30-7) went up by 15 points after an 18-6 spurt that momentarilysilenced a large orange-clad partisan crowd.
But the Illini didn't play like it was over. And it wasn't.
Illinois, whose previous largest deficit this season was nine, made a finalrun and it was a great one.
Luther Head hit a 3-pointer, Dee Brown made a basket in the lane, Headscored after a steal, Williams drove for a basket and then made a steal and fedBrown for another basket with 45 seconds left.
After Jack Ingram deflected an inbounds pass, Williams hit a 3-pointer totie it with 38 seconds to go.
Salim Stoudamire, the hero of Arizona's semifinal win over Oklahoma State,dribbled the clock down and then passed the ball to Jawann McClellan. He missedbut Stoudamire came up with the rebound, only to have his shot blocked by Head.
Williams hit two more 3-pointers in overtime, but Illinois' victory wasn'tsecured until Arizona's Hassan Adams, who'd scored five points to get theWildcats within a point, missed a shot just before the final buzzer.
Illinois' players then swarmed the floor in celebration of the school'sfirst Final Four trip since 1989.
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