Postgame Analysis: Arizona vs. California

Arizona fell for the first time all season on Saturday 60-58 to California. Read on to find out how it happened, who was Arizona's best player, and more.

Arizona is no longer undefeated as it lost to California on Saturday night. The Golden Bears were the first team to knock off the Wildcats and they did it in stunning fashion with a last-second shot, giving them the 60-58 edge. Here's an analysis of what happened:

Arizona Player of the Game:

Kaleb Tarczewski – Arizona fell on Saturday night, but the center was the one bright point in the game. Tarczewski finished the game with a career-high 18 points in the loss, hitting all 12 of his free throws and hitting three of his eight shots from the field. The big man also grabbed six rebounds and threw in a block for good measure. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough.

Key Moments:

  • Just two minutes into the game, Arizona suffered what could be the worst blow of the season. After a missed shot in the lane, Brandon Ashley hit the floor in pain and writhed on the floor before limping off the court. He missed the remainder of the game, though Arizona was able to adjust to life without him, finishing the half and trailing by just one.

  • It wasn't until midway through the second half that Arizona really looked like it was in trouble. Two free throws by Justin Cobbs gave California an eight-point lead with 11 minutes left in the game.

  • That wasn't all she wrote, as the Wildcats were able to claw their way back into the game and do it without star guard Nick Johnson, who sat out part of the second half with foul trouble and a aggravated wrist. Baskets by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and T.J. McConnell preceded two Kaleb Tarczewski free throws, as Arizona cut the lead to just two with eight minutes to go.

  • Arizona fought all the way back and took the lead by two with just over four minutes remaining. The Wildcats would have gone up by four, but McConnell was called for a charge as he dished to Aaron Gordon for the dunk. On the return possession, Cobbs got a layup to tie the game.

  • With seconds remaining in a tie game, Cobbs dribbled down the court, took a hard cut on the screen and hit a fade-away jumper with one second remaining in the game, giving California the lead 60-58 and sealing the upset for the Golden Bears.

    Stats of the Night:

    100: Arizona was 100-percent from the free throw line in the loss. Many thought that foul shooting would be the reason for the Wildcat's first loss of the season, but it actually kept the game much closer than it could have been. Arizona was 16-16 from the free throw line on the night, with 12 coming from Kaleb Tarczewski.

    General Thoughts:

    If Brandon Ashley doesn't go down with what looks like a broken foot two minutes into the game, Arizona is likely still undefeated. If Nick Johnson doesn't have his worse game of the season, Arizona is likely still undefeated. It was a perfect storm for the Wildcats and, to their credit, they found a way to stay in the game for its entirety.

    Arizona did plenty of things right on Saturday, but the one thing that it didn't do well absolutely killed them: shoot well. The Wildcats were just 20 of 62 from the field and only made eight shots in the second half. That will do it on just about every night.

    The final takeaway from this game is that Arizona is a very good team. Even with losing Ashley and Johnson only making one of his fourteen shots, the Wildcats were right in the game to the very end.

    Moving forward without the power forward will be tough for Arizona, but if he can return before the NCAA tournament, the Wildcats will still be a tough out in March.

    Sean Miller Quotable:

    "We'd always found a way to be on the positive end of it," Miller said. "Tonight in that same moment, we didn't make the shots and we didn't get the big stop."

    Wildcat Quotable:

    "Because we've been in this situation so many times, we're really comfortable. We weren't worried at all. We were ramped up," Tarczewski said. "Cobbs made a really, really tough shot."


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