Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 3/29/13
LOS ANGELES -- When Arizona needed them Thursday, seniors Solomon Hill, Kevin Parrom and Mark Lyons were there. And while the three did not leave the NCAA tournament the way they wanted, they left with their legacies front and center. Hill and Parrom were part of 90 Arizona victories in the last three seasons, one of the best periods of sustained excellence in the programs history. Lyons, a newcomer as a senior, played an integral role in the 27-win 2013 season, one of nine years in school history featuring that many victories. Lyons scored 73 points in Arizonas three NCAA tournament games, including 23 in a 73-70 loss to Ohio State at the Staples Center in the West Regional on Thursday, but it was only a number to him. I would score zero points if we could have won the game. Im a winner, Lyons said. Lyons and Hill scored 39 points and took turns carrying Arizona (27-8) after it fell behind by 10 points midway through the second half, something senior leaders do. Parrom had seven points and tied for the team lead with seven rebounds. Hill scored nine in a row at one point, trimming the Wildcats 10-point deficit to four with eight minutes left. The opportunity presented itself, Hill said. "Just trying to make sure everybody knew we werent giving up. Its easy, especially for young guys, to give up. But in the situation me, Mark and Kevin were in, its do or die. My teammates really found me open, and it was my duty to knock down the shots. Hill fulfilled his mission, as did Lyons in the final 6 12 minutes, when he scored 12 of the Wildcats final 16 points, including a game-tying three-point play with 21.8 seconds left. I was just trying to put our team in position to be in the game. I could see the look on some our guys faces, they kind of looked like it might be over. They didnt think it was over, but it might be over. I just wanted to keep pushing, keep fighting, keep getting layups so our team knew we had a chance, Lyons said. Parrom, who played in only 20 games in 2011-12 after being shot in the leg following the passing of his grandmother and mother, said his takeaway was simple: never quit, never give up. It meant a lot. It meant more than basketball, Parrom said of his time at Arizona. One thing I can say this year: I started and I finished. I didnt give up, even after everything I went through. I stuck with it. I finished strong. Win or loss, I finished my career the way I wanted to. Im sure everybody back home was proud of me. Our fans are proud of us. My mother and grandmother are proud of me. I finished. It wasnt the way I wanted to finish, but I finished. Thats all I can ask for. The Wildcats pointed to the start of the second half as a determining stretch, as the Buckeyes scored the first 10 points to take a six-point lead. It is not about the last short of the game. The start of the second half really got us. We lost focus and they started making their run, Hill said. But we fought back, thats the thing. We made our run to tie it. I think that second-half run is what really set up apart. We didnt give up. Most teams would have given up and let Ohio State go on a run and win by 20. Its hard to be upset about a game like that. It came down to a last possession. It wasnt like we didnt execute. We just slipped for a bit. Hill tied Kyle Foggs school record by playing in his 139th game Thursday. It would have been nice to put this Ohio State game into the W bag and be able to go to the Elite Eight and cut down the nets and have a hat and a T-shirt," he said. Added Lyons, who was reunited with coach Sean Miller this season after transferring from Xavier: The only thing I regret is not getting past the Sweet Sixteen, because I have been here so many times and I just feel like I cant get over that hump. I played with a great bunch of guys this whole year who had a lot of faith in me, and Im just happy they accepted me to come into their program and trying to help them win. So no regrets, either.
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