It was a night to forget at the Pauley Pavilion as the Arizona men’s basketball team was crushed by UCLA on Thursday, Feb. 18 by a score of 74-60, marking its fifth straight loss to the Bruins.
The Wildcats defense looked good in the first half, as they held UCLA to 38% from the field and 0-10 from three-point range. The Wildcats finished the first half shooting 46% from the field and 38% from three-point range.
Azuolas Tubelis ended the first half with 11 points, four rebounds and two assists. James Akinjo also tacked on seven points in the first half. Going into halftime, Arizona was in pretty good shape. Then the second half happened.
UCLA opened the floodgates with scoring, going on a 15-2 run at the 16-minute mark. In total, Arizona went over seven minutes without scoring in the second half. Head coach Sean Miller was as honest as he could be about his team’s second-half performance.
“We could not stop them,” Miller said. “They shot 73% from the field [in the second half], they were 19 of 26 [from the field] and 4 for 5 [from three-point range]. Their offense overwhelmed our defense.”
One of those Bruins they could not stop was Jaime Jaquez Jr. Jaquez, who came alive in the second half, finished the game with a team-high 25 points and five rebounds.
“Jaime Jaquez is a real tough matchup for our team,” Miller said. “[Jaquez’s] second half was terrific.”
UCLA outscored Arizona in the second half 44-29. One of the reasons for Arizona’s awful offensive second half was the team’s scoring outside of Tubelis and Akinjo. Those two accounted for 39 points, while the rest of the team only scored 21 points.
What ultimately derailed the Wildcats was turnovers. Over the course of the game, they turned the ball over 16 times.
“Our turnovers really hurt us,” Miller said. “I know I harp on that quite a bit, but we just had some really poor turnovers. 16 turnovers coupled with how they performed on offense made the final score what it was.”
Arizona hopes to fix their mistakes quickly as they face No. 17 USC at the Galen Center on Feb. 20 at 4 p.m. MST.
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