The Arizona men’s basketball team dropped their first game of the season to No. 19 Tennessee 77-73 on Dec. 22. With this loss, the Wildcats will move to 11-1 on the season.
Arizona came out of the gate very slow as Tennessee was able to get out to an early 9-0 lead. The entire Arizona offense struggled in the first half outside of Bennedict Mathurin, who scored 14 points (he finished 28 and eight rebounds).
Despite the early struggles Arizona was able to cut the Tennessee lead to five with just under two minutes in the half. But the Volunteers followed that up with an 8-0 run to close the half up 34-21.
The Wildcats were able to find their offensive rhythm in the second half as they scored 52 points in that half. The rest of the starting lineup joined Mathurin on the scoring sheet, to keep Arizona within striking distance.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they never took their opportunities to take control of this game. Most of Arizona’s struggles were self-inflicted, whether it was a bad pass for a turnover, a missed transition three or a technical foul down the stretch that kept them from winning this game.
Arizona struggled to stay out of foul trouble throughout the entire game. They committed a total of 28 fouls. By the end of the game, the Wildcats were down three starters: Christian Koloko, Kerr Kriisa and Mathurin who all had fouled out.
Kriisa was the only other Wildcat to score double-digits with 11 (all in the second half). Azuolas Tubelis struggled in this contest as he had zero points before scoring Arizona’s final three baskets and finished with six points and three rebounds.
The Wildcats turned the ball over 17 times and grabbed 38 rebounds in this game. Arizona shot 44% (26/58) from the field, 33% (9-27) from the three-point range and 66% (12-18) from the line.
Arizona's road-trip to L.A. to play UCLA on Dec. 30, and USC on Jan. 2, were postponed due to COVID-19 protocols within their opponents' programs.
The Wildcats next game will be at home against the University of Washington on Jan. 3. This game was originally scheduled to be played on Jan. 25, but was rescheduled.
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