Arizona lost to UCLA on Friday. Read on for news and notes on how Arizona fell short.
After leading for the majority of the contest, Arizona
blew a double-digit lead in the second half to UCLA
and ultimately fell to the Bruins 66-64.
It was a game filled with controversy at the end with Arizona players, as well as head coach Sean Miller, seemingly irate with the officiating crew at the final buzzer.
On top of UA's struggles down the stretch of the ballgame, the Wildcats appeared to be the subject of numerous questionable calls in the second half. The frustration led to head coach Sean Miller picking up a late technical foul and giving UCLA two points after what appeared to be a really bad double-dribble call by the officiating crew.
Whether the blame lays more on the officials or not is beside the point as UA failed to capitalize on several opportunities to open the lead even further or hold control of the contest. Despite strong efforts from numerous players, UA was forced to bow out of the Pac-12 tournament on Friday.
Freshman big man Brandon Ashley brought his A-game on Friday and put together one of his best offensive performances of the season. Ashley shot a near-perfect 7-for-8 from the floor for 15 points as he terrorized UCLA's interior defense throughout the night.
The freshman had a knack for getting into the right position and find an open look close to the basket, resulting on a strong outing off the bench.
Mark Lyons had a strong night with 13 points and three assists in the losing effort. The senior shot 6-for-12 from the floor and was able to break down the Bruins' defense on more than one occasion, taking the ball to the basket for numerous lay-up opportunities.
Oddly enough, despite drawing contact on several drives to the basket, Lyons never drew a whistle that resulted in foul shots and finished only his second game all season without a free throw attempt.
Senior Solomon Hill had another strong, all-around outing for Arizona. The forward scored 10 points and also added six rebounds, five assists, and a block in the losing effort. The most impressive part of Hill's night was his defense on UCLA star player Shabazz Muhammad. The freshman was held to 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting as the experienced Hill stood with him every step of the way.
Nick Johnson had a poor shooting night, going 3-for-12 form the floor, but played well otherwise. Johnson finished with 10 points and dished out five assists in the loss. His defense was the real story, however, as Larry Drew played one of his worst games of the season. Johnson was given the assignment to guard Drew and the UCLA senior was held scoreless and came up with just four assists all game.
Center Kaleb Tarczewski was a monster on the glass, collecting 13 rebounds with four coming on the offensive end of the floor. He scored just six, but Tarczewski's impact on the boards was one of the big reasons for UA holding a lead for much of the game.
UCLA took very good care of the ball, turning it over just five times all game. Compare that to 13 from Arizona and it doesn't take much to see how UCLA was able to claw back into the contest and ultimately win the game.
There was a big foul disparity throughout the contest. Arizona was whistled for five more personal fouls and shot 12 less free throws. In a two-point game, a 10-point disparity at the foul line makes a world of difference.
Jordan Adams -- UCLA's clear star of the game, who will be lost for the remainder of the season with an ankle injury -- was a nightmare for UA in the second half. On top of hitting numerous ridiculous shots, the freshman shot more free throws for the game (13) than the entire Arizona basketball squad.