Arizona overcame two massive scoring droughts to beat UCLA 57-47 on Saturday night. Read on to find out more about the game, including who the player of the game was, what the key moments were, and more.
Arizona survived a disappointing performance from its starters to beat UCLA 57-47 on Saturday night. Here’s a closer look at what happened:
Arizona Player of the Game:
Gabe York – The junior shooting guard didn’t have a career night and threw up one heat check too many, but he gets the player of the game for this win because of his entire game against the Bruins. York finished with 13 points, three rebounds, and two assists, but also played some of his best defense all year and didn’t have a single turnover.
In addition, York was expending effort all of the place, diving for loose balls, jumping in passing lanes and bringing much needed energy to the court. Arizona does not win without his performance in the game.
After UCLA started the game on a 7-0 run, Arizona finally got something going with Dusan Ristic as the big man scored six straight to get the Wildcats on the board and right back in the game. Both teams traded baskets, with Gabe York scoring five straight points to put the Wildcats ahead.
With 5:36 left in the first half, Rondae Jefferson, playing with two fouls, forced a Kevon Looney miss, grabbed the rebound and rushed down the court. He found York in the corner for his second three of the night, giving the Wildcats a 20-14 lead and forcing a Bruin timeout.
The Wildcats pulled away from there, going on an 8-0 run to close out the first half. Ristic got four points, T.J. McConnell hit a layup and Elliott Pitts added a jumper as Arizona went into the break up 32-18.
UCLA started the second half on a 17-0 run, with Kevon Looney leading the way with eight of those points. The Wildcats has a scoring drought of 6:51 before Hollis-Jefferson got a tip in for Arizona’s first points of the half. The damage had been done, with the Bruins taking a small lead over the Wildcats.
Arizona rallied to retake the lead and the tide turned when Stanley Johnson made his first field goal of the night. He drove to the basket, scored the bucket and got the fifth foul on Thomas Welsh. The basket put Arizona up 49-43. Just moments later, star freshman Kevon Looney picked up a foul on both ends of the court in a span of 15 seconds to foul out of the game.
With a six-point Arizona lead and under a minute to go, Norman Powell missed a layup in traffic and Kaleb Tarczewski came down with the board as two free-throws from McConnell sealed the victory.
Stat of the Night:
1 - UCLA has the second best offensive rebounding rate in the Pac-12. On Saturday, Arizona held the Bruins to just one offensive rebound.
Arizona did not play well offensively at all. If your name wasn’t Gabe York or Dusan Ristic, you weren’t scoring much in the first half. The big man had all 12 of his points in the first half, but played just two minutes in the second half. The starters hit just 9 of 36 shots on the night and without the 27 points from the bench, the Wildcats might have been on the losing end of the game.
The good thing was that Arizona did just about everything else well enough that it didn’t need much offense to win the game. The Wildcats outrebounded the Bruins 40-23, attacked players with foul trouble, and made most of UCLA’s offense come from Bryce Alford, holding Kevon Looney and Norman Powell to just a combined 21 points.
Stanley Johnson played a very poor game in just about every aspect, except one. The freshman finished with 10 rebounds on the game. With a late bucket and some free throws throughout the night Johnson nearly flirted with a double-double as he finished with seven points. He also had some defensive lapses, but was able to pull it together enough to help his team win.
Sean Miller Quotable:
"We won tonight because we had two players who were not starters come in and contribute in massive ways," Miller said.
"It was ugly, but we'll take a win any way we can get it," McConnell said.