Postgame Analysis: California

The Arizona Wildcats fell to the California Golden Bears on Sunday night. Arizona's 77-69 loss is only the third of the season. Read on for a closer look at what happened, including which players played the best and what moments were important.

The Arizona Wildcats came out flat in the second half and fell to the California Golden Bears at McKale Center. Arizona lost 69-77 for just the third season. Here's an analysis of what happened:

California Player of the Game:

Allen Crabbe – Throughout the entire game, Arizona never really had an answer for the junior. He shot an outstanding 12-15 from the field, with his only three misses coming on long balls. He powered his way to 31 points and was without a doubt the best player on the court. Crabbe didn't stop with just scoring, as he also picked up seven rebounds and five assists.

Arizona Player of the Game:

Brandon Ashley – While none of the Arizona players were at their best on Sunday night, the freshman was one of the more consistent. Ashley was a rebound shy of a double-double, grabbing nine boards and scoring twelve points. He had a turnover, but made up for it with twice as many steals. He had a few lapses on defense, but his game was one of the more rounded ones on the Wildcats' side of the ball.

Key Moments:

  • California turned Mark Lyons over on the final possession of the first half, allowing the Golden Bears to get a layup and cut the Wildcats' lead to just five at the half, taking all momentum with them.

  • Coming out to start the second half, Arizona's offense fell stagnant and Cal was ready to take advantage. The Golden Bears were off the races early in the half, going on a 16-2 run over the span of four minutes. An Allen Crabbe four-point-play capped it off, as Nick Johnson was called for a touch foul on a three-pointer.

  • Arizona fought back to cut the lead to just two after Lyons converted one of two free throws late in the game. On the defensive side of the ball, several Wildcats got lost in a scramble for a loose ball. Cal recovered and found a wide open Justin Cobbs for a three pointer, giving his team a five-point lead.

    General Thoughts:

    The Wildcats got off to a better start than in the past, but couldn't finish the game. It isn't as if they were being blown out the entire game. Arizona was in a very favorable position at halftime and couldn't get going in the second half of the game.

    Cal starting on a 16-2 run in the second half is where the game was lost for Arizona. The Golden Bears came out in an extended 2-3 zone and the Wildcats had no idea what to do against it. Often, an Arizona player dribbled the clock down and was forced into a bad shot. The Wildcats couldn't score, couldn't stop Crabbe, and it changed the momentum of the game.

    The final thing that stood out about the game was that Arizona didn't seem to have the passion for the victory that it had shown in the past. Even when the game came down to the wire late, the Wildcats didn't have that little extra push that had won them games against Utah, Colorado, Florida, San Diego State, and Washington. That is not to say that the players didn't want to win, but California was definitely the hungrier team on the floor.

    Sean Miller Quotable:

    "When you have a guy on the other team that plays that well, it puts a lot of pressure on your ability to win," Miller said. "We had no answer. They came into McKale and got the job done. They deserve all the credit."

    Wildcat Quotable:

    "We haven't really run into 3-2 zones like we did tonight," Hill said. "We didn't pass the ball and get moving, every shot was a one-on-one shot and we could have taken an extra pass to find the open guy who would have had a better shot.

    "You have to go out and be able to match the intensity of the other team and I don't think we did that tonight."

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