Commencement: Worst sports moments
Softball vs. Oregon
After two decades of consistency, Arizona’s softball team has had an uncharacteristic season, finding itself in last place in the Pac-12 with three games left to play. One of the worst series of the season was when the Wildcats traveled to take on No. 4 Oregon and held without a hit through games two and three. The Ducks provided impeccable pitching in the final two games and held Arizona to a no-hitter, which was followed by a perfect game the next day.
— Evan Rosenfeld
Then-No. 24 Arizona had won four of its last five and looked to assert its dominance in the season finale against the Sun Devils at Arizona Stadium.
The game featured two new coaches, two bowl-eligible teams and a running back, Ka’Deem Carey, who couldn’t be contained. It was rivalry football at its best. Well, until the game started.
The first half consisted of two Matt Scott interceptions, a missed extra point and a fumble by ASU. All said and done, the ugliness had the Sun Devils up 14-9 at half.
After a huge third quarter (18-3 UA stretch), Carey and the Wildcats were running away with the game until the final quarter hit.
With Arizona up 10 and knocking on the door, the Wildcats decided to call an option read. Scott decided to keep the ball, but for the first time all season, the play was blown-up. Scott coughed up the ball, and the Sun Devils went on to score.
The bleeding wasn’t over for the UA, though.
ASU then blocked a punt, picked off Scott again and in a blink of an eye was up 41-27.
With under nine minutes left on the clock, Arizona looked to be headed into a comfortable win. Instead, six minutes of hell (21-0 ASU stretch) doomed the Wildcats to a “Duel in the Desert” defeat.
— Kyle Johnson
LaQuinton Ross 3-pointer
The Wildcats’ Sweet Sixteen matchup with Ohio State was exhilarating. Arizona trailed OSU by six points with a minute and a half left in the game. Then, in the next minute and 12 seconds, Mark Lyons scored seven points for the UA to knot things up at 70. The Buckeyes took control with 21 seconds left, and OSU point guard Aaron Craft brought the ball up the floor, waiting as the clock wound down. The Wildcats expected him to shoot, which led to a fumbled defensive switch by Arizona’s Grant Jerrett, leaving LaQuinton Ross open for three. He nailed it — all but ending the Wildcats’ season.
– Zack Rosenblatt
Arizona hockey had its best season in years, with its most wins since 2008 and seven top 10 wins, the most since 1998, but was denied its first national tournament appearance since 2006.
The Wildcats had the third toughest strength of schedule and finished No. 16 in the computer poll, ahead of three tourney teams.
— James Kelley
Just when Ka’Deem Carey took the crown for rushing yards, he came down hard. Carey’s pregnant ex-girlfriend filed domestic abuse charges against the All-American running back in December. In January, he was issued a code of conduct violation for disorderly conduct at the Arizona-UCLA basketball game. Carey’s irresponsible actions disappointed his rapidly increasing fan base and left him looking like quite the fool.
— Megan Coghlan
He touched the ball
After being eliminated in the Pac-12 conference tournament semifinal by UCLA in Las Vegas, head coach Sean Miller’s post game press conference focused not entirely on the game, but rather on a call during the game that Miller perceived to be controversial. Miller was called for his first technical foul of the season for arguing a double dribble call on former UA point guard Mark Lyons with a little less than five minutes remaining in the game.
What happened next incited a 10-minute conversation on “SportsCenter” and turned into a national story. Miller passionately explained that he told the official after the call “he touched the ball,” referring to a UCLA player touching the ball while Lyons attempted to drive to the basket. Just weeks later, it was discovered that now-former Pac-12 head of officiating Ed Rush reportedly offered a bribe of $5,000 or a trip to Cancun, should an official tee up Miller. The Wildcats lost the game by two points.
— Cameron Moon