(ANAHEIM, Calif.) — Nick Johnson missed his first 10 shots and was held scoreless for the first 37 minutes of the game. Over the final 2:45, the Arizona guard scored all 15 of his points helping to lead the top-seeded Wildcats to a 70-64 win over fourth-seeded San Diego State in the Sweet 16.
“When I hit one shot, it just started to feel a little bit better,” the Pac-12 Player of the Year said. “I just kept on hitting shots.”
The Wildcats (33-4) trailed for the majority of the game and were down 32-28 at halftime. San Diego State would not let the lead go easily, holding off multiple runs from Arizona in the second frame. However, a 10-2 run turned a 49-46 Aztec lead into a 56-51 deficit with 2:46 remaining capped by Johnson’s first basket of the game.
Following a pair of JJ O’Brien free throws, Johnson answered with a three-pointer to give the Wildcats a six point advantage. San Diego State (31-5) cut the lead to 67-64 in the final minute when Xavier Thames converted on three free throw attempts. The Wildcats were able to escape the trapping defense as well as a potential upset.
Johnson scored 15 of the last 16 points for Arizona while Thames led all scorers with 25 points in the loss.
The Wildcats now advance to the Elite Eight and will face No. 2-seed Wisconsin on Saturday.
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Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com