FINAL: No. 6 Arizona falls 84-73 to UCLA at home
The seats were filled and the energy buzzing at a whited-out McKale Center, but the hostile atmosphere didn’t faze UCLA as the Bruins built an early lead on No. 6 Arizona and held on for the 84-73 upset.
Arizona opened the game with a free throw by freshman Brandon Ashley, but followed it by hitting just one of its next 13 shots. The Bruins pounced on the cold shooting and, thanks to some efficient offense of their own, went on a 19-2 run and take a commanding 16 point lead early on.
The Wildcats went into half down 40-30 and, despite several scoring spurts, never cut the lead to less than four points. A combination of poor Arizona shooting and consistent offense by the Bruins kept the visitors at arms distance throughout the entire game.
Arizona hit 38.4 percent of its shots, and only made 5-of-24 three point attempts. The Bruins shot 47.8 percent and had 17 free throw makes despite shooting 58.6 percent from the charity stripe.
The win places UCLA (16-4, 6-1 Pac-12) comfortably into second place in the conference while pushing Arizona (16-2, 4-2) farther back in the Pac-12 title race. The Wildcats now own losses to the Bruins and No. 16 Oregon, the leader of the conference.
Sophomore Nick Johnson tied UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad with 23 points in the game. Johnson turned around a poor shooting first half (3-of-10) to finish 9-for-19 but only hit one of his five three point attempts.
The freshman Muhammad didn’t appear fazed by the rowdy McKale Center crowd, remaining a factor offensively throughout the game. The young forward hit 8-for-16 from the field, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc.
The most solid stretch of play by the UA came midway through the second half. The Wildcats went on a 10-0 run in just 91 seconds to cut the UCLA lead to 55-51; the closest they’d get in the game. While Arizona still threatened, they were unable to overcome sloppy play and mediocre shooting.
Point guard Mark Lyons contributed five points in the run, but the brief stretch was one of his few bright moments. The senior started 2-for-10 shooting, but finished 6-for-17 in the game and 16 points. He also didn’t record a single assist in the game and had five turnovers
Arizona caught a break when UCLA’s forward Travis Wear left the game in the first half from concussion-like symptoms. Wear never returned to the game, though his brother David continued to be a factor with 15 points.
The Bruins had one more rebound in the game, winning 45-44 on the glass with UCLA’s freshman Kyle Anderson grabbing 12 in the game. Forwards Grant Jerrett and Solomon Hill both had 10 rebounds for Arizona.