ANAHEIM, Calif. In barely more than four minutes, the damage was done and so was Duke. Arizona hit the defending national champions with an offensive barrage so swift and surprising that the Blue Devils had no answer.
Derrick Williams scored 25 of his career-high 32 points in the first half, then his teammates carried the Wildcats the rest of the way to a 93-77 victory in the West Regional semifinals on Thursday night.
Showing no fear of the top-seeded Blue Devils or their pedigreed history, the Wildcats shot 58 percent in the second half. They put on a 4-minute, 13-second dunking and driving display that led to the decisive 19-2 run.
Nobody really believed in us and that put a chip on our shoulder, like nobody in the world thought we could win this game, Kevin Parrom said. Its a great feeling.
Fifth-seeded Arizona (30-7) will play Connecticut (29-9) on Saturday in the West Regional final, the Wildcats first such appearance since 2005. The third-seeded Huskies defeated No. 2 San Diego State 74-67 in the other semifinal.
The Elite Eight is great, but were not looking to stop right there, Williams said. One of our team goals this season was not only to get in the tournament, but to make a run in the tournament, and so far were doing that.
Down by six points early in the second half, the Wildcats unleashed a scoring rampage that left the Blue Devils wondering what happened.
Williams scored just two points during the 19-2 run that seemingly came out of nowhere, while five of his teammates did the rest in putting the Wildcats ahead for good, 66-53.
To see on the scoreboard that we were up and it was possible for us to beat them, I think it gave my teammates and me a lot of motivation, said Lamont Jones, who had 16 points. We just came out after that and never stopped.
The Blue Devils were 1 of 7 from the field and committed two turnovers at the same time Arizona had its fans high-fiving and exploding in cheers.
As a team, we came together and willed ourselves to win, Jones said.
The top-seeded Blue Devils (32-5) were sent packing from a regional semifinal for the second time in three years. Coach Mike Krzyzewski, with 900 wins, will have to wait until next season to resume his pursuit of Bob Knights record as the winningest mens coach in Division I history.
The tournament is cruel, Krzyzewski said. Its an abrupt end for everybody when you dont win.
Solomon Hill added 13 points for the Wildcats, who made 9 of 15 3-pointers, including five by Williams.
Williams had 13 rebounds to help his team dominate the boards, 40-27, while playing 15 minutes from his hometown of La Mirada.
It makes me feel great, he said. If we win this game on Saturday, well be known as one of the greatest Arizona teams to play.
Dukes Kryie Irving scored 28 points in 31 minutes, his most since returning at the start of the NCAA tournament after missing 26 games with a toe injury.
After we lost the lead, I think everyone got a little rattled, he said. We tried to settle down, but by then it was too late.
Kyle Singler added 18 as one of three Blue Devils in second-half foul trouble. Nolan Smith was held to eight points well under the seniors 21-point average.
The way they played in the second half, they should win it all, Smith said. Williams is a monster. They hit us full force, and kept hitting. They did everything right, and we did a ton of things wrong.
Jones basket tied the game at 53 and the spurt ended with Arizonas first double-digit lead of the game. Jones and Jamelle Horne had five points each, while Williams focused on rebounding.
They just got on a real roll. When you get on a roll, you have more energy than the other guy, Krzyzewski said. We had no stop for them, and you kind of get overwhelmed there for a little bit. They knocked us back and got that double-digit lead.
Hornes dunk extended Arizonas lead to 77-63 as the Wildcats ensured they would advance a season after the schools 25-year streak of consecutive NCAA tournament appearances ended.
Thats a big part of this tournament, second-year Arizona coach Sean Miller said, not getting caught up in who youre playing, but can we be at our best and do the things that make us good.
They certainly did against the defending champions.