Arizona fell to 25-4 with a 77-72 loss to UCLA. Here’s a closer look at what happened.
Player of the Game:
Allonzo Trier - The sophomore followed up his best performance of the season with an even better one on Saturday. His career-high 28 points were not enough to push the Wildcats to a victory, but Trier's play was a big reason that his team was in the game late. The wing also pulled down a team-high five rebounds in the loss.
* UCLA fell behind in the early minutes, but was able to take the lead back after the first media timeout. The Bruins rode an 11-0 run fueled by four points from former Arizona commit T.J. Leaf. The rather large run put the Bruins up 17-11 midway through the first half.
* The Wildcats attacked back with a 7-0 run of their own to take back the lead at the end of the first half. Trier made a layup to start the run. Chance Comanche and Parker Jackson-Cartwright combined for three free throws before the point guard hit a shot just before the teams headed to the locker room.
* While it seemed like Arizona had things under control to start the second half, UCLA turned the tide with one single play. Trailing 51-45 Bryce Alford missed a layup, but grabbed his own rebound and was able to whip a pass out to Isaac Hamilton for a three pointer. The shot pulled the Bruins within three, but completely changed the momentum of the game.
* The Bruins took their first lead of the second half with just over 12 minutes remaining on a Thomas Welsh jumper. That made the score 54-53 in favor of UCLA. The Bruins proceeded to go on a 13-4 run to take a 67-57 lead heading into the final minutes.
* Lauri Markkanen hit a pair of free throws with 30 seconds remaining to pull with 75-72. Arizona put on the press, but had to foul Aaron Holiday, who proceeded to miss the front end of a one and one. Arizona ran the clock down to the final seconds before Allen was forced to put up a bad look from beyond the arc. it air balled and UCLA rebounded for the victory.
Arizona didn't play a terrible game, it just couldn't keep up with UCLA in the second half. The Bruins out-rebounded the Wildcats 35 to 28 and went scoreless for 3:47 in a pivotal stretch in the second half. UCLA scored 20 second chance points in the game and 14 in the second half, which was the deciding factor in the game.
Even with the loss, it is important to realize that this isn't the end of the season. The Wildcats can still get a share of the PAC-12 title with a win on Saturday against Arizona State. Arizona can rebound from this loss and learn from it moving forward. The Wildcats are still a top ten team in the country and context shows one of the better teams in the country.
Sean Miller Quotable:
"They were the bigger, stronger, tougher, more physical tam after the ball," Miller said.
"Early on it came to us, in the first half," Trier said. "In the second, it was a little slow. It was just about trying to make the right basketball play down the court, whether it involves us shooting or passing."