A look back: Arizona vs. UCLA

Arizona lost to UCLA on Thursday. Read on for a closer analysis of why the Wildcats could not get it done.

Arizona found itself on the wrong side of a tough loss on Thursday night and now many Wildcats' fans are left pondering where exactly UA's lies within the top teams in the Pac-12. It wasn't just the fact that the Wildcats lost, it was how the loss came about. UCLA dominated the game from the early minutes of the first half and kept Arizona at a comfortable distance for most of the contest.

The cause for the loss cannot be quantified by one or two moments. It was a collective effort by both squads and the Bruins just happened to be the ones that brought their A-game whereas UA struggled on both ends of the floor for much of the evening.

It was a tough night by the Wildcats, mostly due to their inability to overcome UCLA's strong defensive effort and competent offensive attack.

Preparation

The Wildcats found themselves in a big hole early, trailing 21-5 eight minutes in the contest. While they battled back to cut the lead to four in the second half, UCLA was able to put a stop to any run Arizona made and extend the lead back to a more comfortable margin.

UCLA picked up two quick fouls early, but UA could not take advantage. On the other end of the floor, UCLA did the opposite. The Bruins came ready to play and it showed with how they started and how they were able to fend off the Wildcats.

Poor shooting

Whether it was from long range or closer to the basket, Arizona simply could not get shots to fall with any consistency. The result was a shooting percentage below 40, while connecting on just a shade over 20 percent from beyond the arc. UA found it difficult to locate open shots and failed to efficiently move the ball in order to locate better looks at the basket.

Freshmen play

The freshmen lived up to the hype on UCLA's end. Highly-touted swing man Shabazz Muhammad put up 23 points on the road in a hostile environment. Muhammad knocked down a three in the early moments of the game and the successful long-range attempt seemed to strip UCLA of any nerves it had early in the contest.

Fellow freshman Jordan Adams had a solid outing as well, scoring 15 points on 6-for-12 shooting. The forward also added five rebounds and two assists, providing the Bruins' with a strong all-around showing.

On the other side of the coin, UA's trio of freshmen who saw the floor combined to score 14 points on 5-for-15 shooting. They did combine to grab 19 rebounds, but it wasn't nearly enough to overcome their shooting struggles.

Bench play

The UA bench was outplayed by UCLA's, plain and simple. David Wear's 15 points led the Bruins' second unit, who outscored the Wildcats' bench 25-12.

Blown opportunities

Arizona grabbed 18 offensive rebounds, which led to 23 second-chance points. UCLA also missed 12 free throws on the night. Generally, when two things like that occur, the team on the right side of both statistics wins the game.

Unfortunately UA failed to succeed in other areas - especially three-point shooting - and it cost the Wildcats, despite the Bruins' poor free throw shooting and inability to keep UA off the offensive glass.

Defense

UCLA only attempted eight three-point field goals and knocked down three of them. The Bruins still managed to shoot 47.8 percent from the floor as they were able to find great looks inside the three-point line. Muhammad, Adams and Wear didn't seem the least bit intimidated by the Wildcats' size and they went right at the Arizona defense.


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