After a timeout, Stoudamire waved his hand to clear out the floor and then maneuvered past Daniel Bobik and popped in a jumper from the left side, putting the Wildcats up 79-78 with 2.8 seconds left.
“I played some good defense on him and it could have gone either way. He could have missed it and I could have been a hero,” Bobik said.
Stoudamire said, “I knew when it came down to crunch time I was going to step up. I practice that shot everyday. Coach is always on me about going hard, I guess it paid off.”
Arizona had a foul to give, cutting the clock to 1.3 seconds, but the Cowboys still managed to get off a decent shot.
Saddled with two early fouls, Stoudamire played just 10 first-half minutes, but when the game seemed to be slipping away, he was there at the end.
Hassan Adams also finished with 19 points and had 10 rebounds for Arizona, and Frye added 15 points and 10 boards.
JamesOn Curry and Graham hit back-to-back 3-pointers and the Cowboys overcame an early seven-point second-half deficit to lead 52-51.
But the persistent Adams connected on his third 3-pointer and then followed up his own miss on the second try to put the Wildcats up 59-56, a lead that went to five when Frye hit a short jumper.
Graham hit a pair of 3-pointers and Stephen Graham made a three-point to give the Cowboys a 69-65 lead.
Stoudamire drove for a basket and after a 3-pointer by Curry he answered with one from NBA range, cutting the Cowboys lead to 72-70 with 3:57 left.
Adams scored 10 first-half points, took charge of the Wildcats’ offense with Stoudamire on the bench with two fouls and put Arizona up at the break 41-38 by hitting a 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
Arizona shot 70 percent in the first half, making 16 of 23 shots and built an early 10-point lead.
“We take great pride in our defense,” Sutton said. “Tonight, they just shot lights out.”
But with Stoudamire off the floor earlier, the Cowboys took off on an 11-3 run, tying the game at 30-30 as Lucas and Ivan McFarlin hit back-to-back three-point plays and then taking a lead on two free throws by Graham.
Stoudamire, who had five 3-pointers and 28 points in second-round victory over UAB, came out firing.
He hit a pair of long-range three-pointers banked in another basket and the Wildcats also got three field goals from Ivan Radenovic to jump out 21-11 eight minutes into the game.
Notes: There were 10 lead changes in the fast-paced game. ... Lucas made his first two shots, both 3-pointers early in the game, and then missed five straight from long range. He finished 5-for-15 from the field. ... Arizona has made four trips to the Final Four under Olson, the last time in 2001 when the Wildcats lost to Duke in the finals. That year they beat Illinois 87-81 in the regional final.
Duke coach said that after winning his second gold medal in men's basketball would be his Team USA finale. That may not be the case anymore.
CBT: Turning the page on the Mike Rice scandal, Rutgers hired Louisville's Julie Hermann as athletic director on Wednesday. But, Hermann has a prior scandal of her own.
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