Arizona men's basketball physically outmatched in loss against UCLA
Arizona men’s basketball fell apart again in the second half and suffered one of their worst losses of the year to UCLA, 65-52 Saturday night at McKale Center.
The Sean Miller–Mick Cronin era in the Pac-12 is officially underway and it was just as physical as their games used to be at Xavier and Cincinnati. Miller talked after the USC game about how Cronin has always made sure his teams are physical and play hard-nosed basketball and the Bruins proved that Saturday night in Tucson.
“They [UCLA] were the bigger, stronger and more physical team,” Miller said. “And we really struggled against their style. ‘Could you see this coming? Absolutely.’”
The now 13-11 Bruins have had a tough year and lost by 18 on Thursday to ASU. But that didn’t stop them from coming out hot from three. Both teams went back and forth making threes and it took over eight minutes for either team to make a field goal that wasn’t a three.
From the start it was obvious that UCLA was the tougher team and it showed as they outscored Arizona 24-14 in the paint. The Wildcats were 3-13 on layups alone in the first half but were only down one at the break.
“It was nothing he hadn’t seen before,” Mannion said. “They were ultra-physical. They got some strong players, some big dudes and they were just super physical.”
The second half was reminiscent of the USC game where Arizona was completely outplayed. Arizona was dominated in every facet of the half including scoring and they got outrebounded by nine just in the half.
It was one of, if not, the worst loss of the season for Arizona considering how they had played their last couple of games. They only shot 20% in the half and went 0-12 from three.
Zeke Nnaji and Josh Green were the only players to score in double digits for Arizona, but perhaps the craziest stat of the night was that Nico Mannion had zero assists. It’s rare to see that from any point guard in any game, but having it come from one of the best point guards in the country makes it even more bizarre.
There was good news however for the Wildcats tonight, as both USC and Oregon lost, which puts Arizona only one and a half games out of first place and tied with ASU for third.
Arizona travels up to face California on Thursday, Feb. 13 and then Stanford on Saturday, Feb. 15. Both games will be at 8:30 pm MST.
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