When the ball tipped off on Saturday afternoon in the desert, it felt like a big game in McKale Center. All Arizona men's basketball fans were wearing white and you could hear the hate they had for UCLA from the start of the game.
Two of the most prestigious programs in the Pac-12 faced off in a matchup on ABC and it was a low-scoring contest. For the third straight time, No.11 Arizona came out with the victory over the No.5 UCLA by a score of 58-52. This loss ended UCLA's 14-game winning streak.
This was an extremely low-scoring game as neither team could get it going early on in the game. At halftime, the Wildcats had a 26-22 lead.
"I think today we proved we can win low-scoring games. Everybody keeps talking about our offense, but nobody really talks about how good our defense is," Kerr Kriisa said.
After a down couple of games, the Wildcats bounced back in a huge way this weekend as they swept the California schools. This is Arizona's fifth win against a top-25 opponent this season and third victory against teams ranked in the top-10 in the country.
It was a tale of two halves. In the first half, Arizona couldn't get it going on offense, but they found their touch in the second half.
In the first half, Arizona shot the ball about 30% from the field and about 22% on 3-point shots, while in the second half they finished shooting about 46% from the field and about 33% from deep.
Oumar Ballo led the Wildcats in scoring with 16 points in the game. Ballo also totaled eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd shortened his bench in today's game while only playing seven players.
Azuolas Tubelis had his eighth double-double of the season and second one in a row. He finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds although he was struggling early on from the field.
One of the stars of today's game for the Wildcats was Courtney Ramey. He had 11 points while being the team's most efficient shooter as he was 3-5 from 3-point range. Ramey hit a big 3-pointer with five minutes left to put them up by seven points.
Although the game seemed out of reach for the Bruins at that point, it wasn't. UCLA cut Arizona's lead down to four points with 26 seconds left after three straight turnovers by the Wildcats. Arizona is now 6-4 in the last 10 meetings between them and UCLA.
"I think that our guys did a great job defensively and making it hard on them," Lloyd said.
Arizona now moves to 17-3 on the season and 6-3 in Pac-12 play which puts them in third place. The Wildcats have four days off before they head to Pullman, Washington where they will look to avenge their previous loss to Washington State University.
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