Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono had not made a shot all night. So, of course, it was up to him to slay No. 2 Kansas with a three-pointer from the wing in the final seconds on Friday night.
Arcidiacono came free on a screen and drilled the go-ahead three-pointer with 10 seconds left as Villanova toppled KU 63-59 in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. Kansas sophomore Perry Ellis had switched off his man and closed out hard, but he couldn’t quite contest the shot enough to bother Arcidiacono.
“I almost was (there),” Ellis said. “I didn’t know if I could help too much, because my man just slipped (the screen). So I just tried to do (what) I could.”
Kansas coach Bill Self was pretty clear that Ellis defended the play correctly, providing a little window into why Arcidiacono was able to get his open look at the basket. The defensive lapse, Self said, came during the first moments of the play. Freshman guard Frank Mason, who had been guarding Arcidiacono, let him get a few steps of separation while the ball was being inbounded.
“The way we guards out-of-bounds under (the basket), we don’t switch,” Self said. “And we don’t help, so it was just a situation where we got beat on the first two steps, and then after that, that allows screens to take place where there’s separation, and two steps become four steps when there’s separation.”
• Another late-game question: Should Self have called timeout after Arcidiacono’s three-pointer went in? After the game, Self was second-guessing his decision to let the game play out.
“I should have called timeout,” Self said. “I had one left, and my thinking is the best thing we can do is get it in quick, and try to go score and attack.”
There were close to nine seconds on the clock when Kansas inbounded the ball after Arcidiacono’s make, and Self’s general rule of thumb is to let his players go make a play if there’s more than six seconds on the clock in a late-game situation.
KU ended up getting a three-point look for freshman guard Frank Mason, who had carried the Jayhawks in the final minutes. It hit iron and bounced off.
“Frank was actually open,” Self said. “But that’s not what I want in that situation; I’d rather him drive it. But he had to take the shot, he had to take it, because it’s what was there. So I probably put our team in a situation not as good as what it could have been if I would have called a timeout.
“If there’s above six, (we) get it and go,” Self said. “If there’s under six, I call timeout.”
• Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins had turned the ball over only four times all season before Friday night. He ended up with four turnovers in 30 minutes against Villanova.Rustin Dodd, email@example.com