Arizona lost to UConn on Saturday and WildcatAuthority.com takes a closer look.
's season came to a sudden end on Saturday as the Wildcats fell to Connecticut
65-63 in the Elite Eight. The defeat ends UA's surprising tournament run that saw it fall two points short of a Final Four berth.
The Wildcats didn't play particularly well, but found themselves right in it at the end of the contest. They had a chance to win the game twice on two late three-point attempts, but they both ultimately fell short, which allowed the Huskies to win the game.
Derrick Williams scored 20 points and grabbed five rebounds for the Wildcats, but had difficulty with foul trouble in the first half, which killed UA's early lead. The sophomore was hit with his second foul when Arizona held an eight-point advantage in the first half and then sat out for a few minutes while the Huskies surged back on a 9-0 run.
Head coach Sean Miller re-inserted Williams, but the forward picked up a third foul with 5:50 to go in the first half and the Huskies continued to roll. After trailing 18-10, UConn outscored 22-7 over the final 10:53 of the first half and it gave the it all the confidence it needed heading into the second half. The two squads went back-and-forth the rest of the way, but the big run at the end of the first half played a sizable role in the Huskies' victory.
Jesse Perry saved one of his best performances of the season for when it counted. On Saturday, the forward finished with 14 points on 7-for-9 shooting and also grabbed seven rebounds. With a large amount of UConn's focus being on Williams, Perry took advantage and proved to be a force in the paint. The play of the junior in the paint allowed UA to stay in the game in the second half.
The only other Wildcat to reach double-figures in scoring was guard Kyle Fogg. The junior finished with 11 points and was the only Arizona player to connect on multiple attempts from beyond the three-point arc. Fogg really came to play the last two contests and proved to be a key to UA's postseason run.
Arizona struggled shooting the ball in the first half – connecting on only 29.7 percent of its shots from the field. UA's shooting efficiency improved significantly in the second half, but the Wildcats still only connected on 39.3 percent of their field goals and 19 percent of their three-point attempts.
UA's bench struggled mightily from the field against the Huskies. The Wildcats' reserves shot a combined 3-for-16 from the field and didn't play the type of game that is needed to beat a squad such as UConn.
Arizona played solid defense at times – which is evident in the Huskies' shooting percentage, which only stood at 41.1 for the contest. The Wildcats didn't force UConn to work enough however, as they only forced the Huskies into committing five turnovers over the course of 40 minutes of basketball.
Arizona seemed to force the issue at times on the offensive side of the ball and it led to several bad possessions. Each time UA would look to extend a lead or cut into UConn's advantage, it would shoot itself in the foot with a bad shot attempt or a missed opportunity.
The loss is certainly disappointing for Arizona fans, but it shouldn't take away from the impressive season this squad had. Miller has resurrected the Arizona program faster than anyone anticipated and, whether Williams returns or not, the Wildcats are in a very good position to be a serious contender next season.