Kevin Parrom has faced a lot more adversity in his life than a double digit deficit with less than two minutes to go a conference opener basketball game.
The New York born-and-raised senior forward has also received much bigger breaks in his life than a buzzer beating three pointer overturned.
As his coach, Sean Miller, finely put it after a remarkable 92-83 Arizona victory that was spurred by Parrom’s 16 points and eight rebounds, “I believe because he’s been through so much, he plays with nothing to lose and he feels no pressure.”
Even with the loss of a perfect record and national respectability appearing inevitable, Parrom along with fellow New Yorker Mark Lyons put the Cats on their backs in the final minutes of regulation and throughout overtime.
It’s almost as unfathomable to understand how Arizona walked out of McKale Center with a perfect 13-0 record as it is that a team with so much talent, so much height, and in the comforts of their home shot 26% in the first half of its Pac-12 opener against Colorado.
But the sport of basketball always seems to have a funny, or perhaps the better word for Thursday night should be infuriating, way of evening itself out.
After nearly every single charge-block call, three pointer, and shot clock beating jumper went Colorado’s way in the first 39 minutes of regulation, Arizona somehow found itself tied with the Buffs with nine seconds to go.
Then came what should have been the game ender and dasher to Arizona’s good fortunes this season, a three pointer bank shot from Sabatino Chen.
It was not to be for Chen. Perhaps because of home court advantage, the shot was not counted and the game went into overtime.
The rest is history.
As Miller said after the game, “I think every team that has a special season or is where we’re at has to have the ball bounce a special way a few times.”
For a team to start 13-0 – the first time Arizona has done so in over 80 years – there also needs to be a core of constant contributors in the late goings. Once again, Lyons made the two big free throws to even things up but
Parrom’s tenacity was just as influential in sending the game into overtime. Nick Johnson, Solomon Hill, and Grant Jerrett also all came through with clutch late shots and Kaleb Tarczewski’s 10 points were sorely needed.
But to have two guys that have the utmost confidence in their abilities to turn it up in late game situations is and will continue to be the x-factor for an Arizona team that has just enough New York sense of toughness installed in it.