Arizona rallies late to fend off St. Mary's, 69-60

VCU fan enthusiastically cheered on the Rams while holding a sleeping baby

Having a set of guidelines is the reason measures are taken to alleviate any panic that may set in, in this case, a call to action in the most important game of the season.

The Sweet 16 is one win away for both the Arizona Wildcats and Saint Mary's Gaels, but only one of them will keep dancing on to San Jose, Calif.

Later, Gaels guard Tanner Krebs hit a three from the corner to make it a three-point game but the 7-foot Lauri Markkanen (16 points) answered with a three of his own to make it 61-55 with 3:29 left.

"You understand that yourself, and you stick with yourself, you trust yourself and your teammates, and what your coaches do", he said. "I told these guys I don't care where we're seeded". "We're going to have to let the game come to us".

St. Mary's took a 30-29 lead into halftime as the Gaels controlled the tempo and locked down Arizona defensively for much of the half.

"I stay even-keeled", he says, "and then when it's my turn to make big plays, like I did in the second half, I do it and I stay the same". "We've lived through it". "He looked like a real player in this tournament. So, you have to accept it". A year ago in the round of 32, it had the displeasure of running across Oklahoma's Buddy Hield, whose path to the Final Four featured his 36 points dropped on VCU, 19 in the final eight minutes of an 85-81 win that flattered both sides.

"We utilized our size", he said. "You have all types of ranking systems, statistics".

"They're extremely physical; they're tough, smart. And that's the thing we have".

Arizona won the Pac-12 Tournament this season by overcoming fellow conference heavyweights OR and UCLA, and the Wildcats have a winning tradition, too, including the 1997 national title.

Super sub freshman Donte DiVincenzo scored 15 and Jalen Brunson added 11 for Villanova. "I nearly feel like the difference in the game was his offensive outburst midway through the second half". He fouled out in 19 minutes in the first game, had four fouls in 25 minutes in the second game and another four fouls in the third game.

Jenkins and fellow seniors Hart and Darryl Reynolds finish their career 129-17 in four years, but the sting of their last loss might linger.

"Whether that's turnovers, taking good shots, them - how they get back in transition - they do all the things that a great team does", Miller said.

The Badgers have been at their best when it matters most. Early in the game, Trier stepped out of bounds as he was receiving a pass. Saint Mary's ball. "Sometimes the game comes down to it".

"He was running down the sideline and he caught the ball out-of-bounds", UA coach Sean Miller said.

Maybe not fair, but Wright knows that's the reality. "That's probably what we have to be to be a success". "We know they're a good three-point shooting team and we're a good defending team of the three-point line, so we just have to bring our identity with us Saturday".

For fans at home, the feeling of watching a player so important to the team go down can cause a tremendous amount of worry, but for Kokoskie, this is what he gets paid for. Jenkins and Hart are National Basketball Association bound, but in Brunson, DiVincenzo and Eric Paschall, Villanova has a solid core coming back.

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