League Bias is a periodic segment examining interesting stories around our local teams’ respective leagues. Be it the NFC West, the AL West, or the Pac-10, League Bias will be there to cover the breaking story and put an interesting spin on it. Enjoy.
University of Arizona swingman Jamelle Horne isn’t entirely to blame for the Wildcats non-conference loss to UAB last night, but he sure can’t hide from the huge blunder he committed in the waning moments of the game (seen here).
With a 71-71 tie intact at the end of regulation, Arizona had crawled back from a 41-31 halftime deficit to push the UAB Blazers to the brink of overtime. With the game clock winding down and a chance to take the lead, the Wildcats missed on what would have been the go-ahead basket and UAB hauled in the rebound. Upon corralling the loose ball, Blazer guard Paul Delaney had just under three seconds to heave a midcourt desperation shot for the win.
At that very same moment Horne, a sophomore participating in his 28th college basketball game, began streaking towards Delaney thinking the ‘Cats had their “foul” play on (where as soon as the opponent gains possession of the ball, you foul as quickly as possible). Then, armed with the decision-making skills of a 15-year-old mother of two, Horne committed a Chris Webber-esque faux pas of epic proportions. Lunging with the entirety of his 6’6″ frame, Horne managed to snag Delaney’s jersey around the waist with 0.88 seconds left, sending the Blazers to the line with a chance to win the game.
Delaney went on to knock down one of two free throws and UAB was re-granted possession of the ball because Horne’s foul, in addition to being very stupid, was also ruled intentional (since Horne made no effort to go for the ball). That allowed a very lucky Alabama-Birmingham team to escape Tucson with a one-point victory in a game that should have been decided in OT.
Getting back to the embattled Jamelle Horne for a minute, we can legitimately sum up his performance with three letters: WTF. WTF, Jamelle! Have you never seen a basketball game before? Unless you are losing, you do not foul, and especially with 0.88 seconds left. Whether or not a play was on is beside the point. It’s straight mind-blowing. It’s the Mariners winning a World Series, it’s Michael Jackson running a KinderCare, it’s the Steve Bartman Pop-Fly Catching Clinic, it’s the Oprah Winfrey weight-loss plan….these things just aren’t supposed to happen! You effed up royally, and the only thing to save you from further embarrassment is the fact that this game was on ESPN2, and concluded around 1:30 AM Eastern time. So luckily, there weren’t too many people watching you go Mariah Carey crazy on the world for that short amount of time.
Of course, as alluded to earlier, Horne’s WTF moment isn’t entirely to blame for the Wildcats defeat. A minute earlier, teammate Kyle Fogg scored the game-tying basket then immediately fouled a UAB player on the ensuing inbounds play, convinced it was the right thing to do. Luckily for Fogg, he was spared public humiliation when the Blazers failed to convert at the line and play resumed.
Needless to say, two plays of similar boneheaded nature are a reflection on the coaching staff and the team’s inherent lack of awareness. If Arizona intends to compete this year, they’ll need to avoid similar gaffes in the future.