Arizona’s football team pulled out an improbable victory in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday. The basketball team made it a daily double by doing the same thing to Florida later that night.
Mark Lyons hit a contested layup with 7 seconds left, and the eighth-ranked Wildcats rallied from a six-point deficit in the final 56 seconds for a 65-64 victory over No. 5 Florida that capped a wild day in Arizona athletics.
“It’s a great day for us,” senior forward Solomon Hill said. “Both teams looked ugly at times, we both made our share of bad plays, but we kept staying in there and fighting.”
The football team got things started by scoring two touchdowns in the final 46 seconds to beat Nevada 49-48 in rainy Albuquerque.
The basketball team looked as though it had no shot of adding to the occasion, struggling against Florida’s mix of zone and man defenses to fall behind by 11 points in the second half.
The Wildcats (8-0) still appeared to be in trouble heading into the final minute, trailing 64-58.
It all changed in a hurry.
Arizona cut the lead to four by hitting two free throws, and the Wildcats forced a turnover on an inbounds play, setting up a layup by Hill. The Wildcats used their press to create another turnover, and Grant Jerrett hit one of two free throws to make it 64-63.
Arizona fouled Kenny Boynton with 21 seconds left, but the 90 percent free-throw shooter missed the front end of a one-and-one and Arizona grabbed the rebound.
Scrambling to get a final play set up, Lyons saw that Patric Young, Florida’s 6-foot-9 center, was guarding him and put his head down going toward the basket. Leaning away from the defense and flipping the ball with his right hand, Lyons sent the ball high off the glass and into the basket, setting off a deafening roar from the crowd inside the McKale Center.
Florida (7-1) botched its final possession, fumbling the ball away before taking a wild 3-pointer, sending Arizona’s players rushing onto the floor, along with a handful of students, and coach Sean Miller into the arms of athletic director Greg Byrne.
Hill had 18 points, Nick Johnson added 15 and Lyons 14 to give Arizona its best start since opening the 1998-99 season with eight straight wins.
“We’re the real deal,” Johnson said. “Everybody said something about our schedule before this and this was the opportunity to prove ourselves in front of the nation.”
No. 16 Creighton 74, at Cal 64: Doug McDermott had a season-high 34 points and nine rebounds with more than a dozen NBA scouts watching, and the Blue Jays (10-1) ran their winning streak to four games with a victory over the Bears (6-3).
McDermott, averaging 22.7 points coming in, posted his seventh straight game with 20 or more points.
At UCLA 95, Prairie View A&M 53: Freshman Shabazz Muhammad scored a career-high 25 points, and the Bruins (7-3) rolled to a victory over the Panthers (5-6).
At Oregon 60, Nebraska 38: Tony Woods scored 14 points, and the Ducks (9-1) overcame a sluggish performance on offense to defeat the Cornhuskers (6-3).
At Stanford 75, UC Davis 52: Dwight Powell scored all 20 of his points in the second half in leading the Cardinal (7-3) past the Aggies (1-6).
At USC 70, UC Riverside 26: Jio Fontan and Eric Wise each scored 14 points, and the Trojans (4-6) ended a five-game losing streak with a rout of the cold-shooting Highlanders (2-8).
At Arizona State 61, Dartmouth 42: Jahii Carson scored 18 points, and the Sun Devils (9-2) used a late second-half run to put away the Big Green (2-7).