Coming up empty
Illinois doesn't make shots, runs out of bodies in loss
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- When Frank Williams finally hit a 3-pointer, with just seconds remaining, there was no one left to help him.
More than half of his team had fouled out.
With Williams hounded into an awful shooting night, and Illinois bumping and banging its way to 36 fouls, the top-seeded Illini didn't have nearly enough to beat No. 2 Arizona in the Midwest Regional final Sunday and lost 87-81.
Williams, the Big Ten player of the year, went just 3-for-15 from the field -- including 1-for-6 on 3-pointers -- and totaled nine points. It was a big drop-off from Friday's regional semifinal, when he scored a career-high 30 in a win over Kansas.
"It seems like they came out very aggressive on me and put somebody much bigger guarding me to stop me from shooting over them," the sophomore said. "I think Arizona's depth was the key. They kept putting different people on me. It made it real tough."
Arizona's Richard Jefferson, a 6-foot-7 forward, shadowed the 6-3 Williams most of the game.
"Certainly, from an opposing coaching standpoint, I think that was a good move to put Jefferson on Frank, especially after the way he played on Friday," Illinois coach Bill Self said.
By the closing seconds, Self didn't have any choices to make when it came to his lineup -- six of 11 players fouled out.
The parade started with Brian Cook, who picked up his fifth foul with 5:17 left and Illinois trailing 62-56.
Sergio McClain was the next to go, three minutes later, followed by Robert Archibald (game-high 25 points), Damir Krupalija, Lucas Johnson and Marcus Griffin.
All those fouls sent the Wildcats to the line for 56 free throws, and they made 43.
"We played a very physical game and never backed down," said McClain, who left with two points and six rebounds.
"They are just a very good team."
Still, Illinois (27-8) had a chance to complete a difficult comeback, and Williams drew his team to 84-81 with 17 seconds left on his lone 3-pointer of the game.
Three seconds later, though, Williams had to foul an opponent, and he sent Jason Gardner to the line. Gardner went 1-for-2, then Williams missed a 3-pointer that would have cut the Illini's deficit to one point, and Loren Woods added Arizona's final two points, appropriately on foul shots.
Asked about the officiating, Self said, "We can say we didn't foul that much, but hey, we fouled a lot."
Self, in his first year at Illinois after leading Tulsa to the round of eight last season, couldn't remember coaching a game in which six players fouled out.
"You fight so hard," he said. "You're having to makeshift your lineup. You're having to do a lot of things. We just couldn't get over the hump."