Staff Writer AW Butler
It took guts. It took talent. It took maturity. It was huge. It was a statement. It was clutch. It was Arizona’s finest moment to date this season.
It was just another day in the life of Momo Jones.
Arizona’s 107-105 triple overtime win over Cal showed that the Wildcats aren’t just the Derrick Williams’ show. Arizona’s bench produced 52 points versus just three points from Cal’s bench. Arizona is proving they’re growing up.
Last year, this team probably would have lost this game. That team clearly lacked the poise, experience, and confidence of the one we saw at Cal. Saturday night’s dramatic finish began as the Wildcats overcame a five point deficit with just under a minute in regulation. In the first overtime the ‘Cats blew a four point lead only to tie it up for a second overtime. Down three points with six seconds left, Momo Jones exhibited the new team’s confidence by knocking down a clutch three to send the game to another period. Entering the third overtime, you had to ask: What did these Wildcats have left?
The answer: Enough for a conference win on the road with our best player on the bench.
Winning on the road is never easy. But when you get performances like those from Momo Jones and Kevin Parrom, the odds begin to shift in your favor. Momo has been money over the last four games, and his timely scoring in this game demonstrates that Arizona now has a guard who can be considered a floor leader. Kevin Parrom demonstrated his toughness and skill development in this statement game by stepping up to cover the four and by drilling a game tying 26-footer with five seconds left.
Two weeks ago, Arizona received the latest jerseys from Nike with a trademark cactus on the back badge. It is safe to assume that the ‘Cats can now be fitted for another jersey with a big target on their back. This is nothing new for the Arizona Wildcat program, but this is something new for this crew. They hold a one and a half game lead over UCLA, and they must still face the LA schools on the road and the Washington programs at home.
Staring down the second half of the conference season would have been a daunting proposition for the old Wildcats. This year, the maturing Wildcats have proved that they are big enough to handle the target. They are demonstrating the swagger to win games when they count. This team is not playing not to lose; this team is playing to win.
A team that wins like they did on Saturday night is indeed a team to be reckoned with down the stretch.
It took guts, maturity, and talent to win in a total team effort this weekend. It looks like Arizona is ready to lead.