Arizona Falls to Connecticut

Arizona played #3 UConn in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational Tournament Tuesday and struggled mightily early but was able to put together a stronger second half until late. Unfortunately it was too little too late and Arizona lost 79-70.

The first half was abysmal for the UA who shot 32% from the field, taking ill-advised shots with very few passes overall. Arizona trailed 41-34 at the half and it was clear that they would have a lot of work ahead of them to come back.

Kirk Walters showed some strong moves to the basket for the Cats in the game, and Daniel Dillon made some good decisions. These were the two high notes for the UA in the first half.

All things told Walters tallied six points and two rebounds, despite a strong effort. Dillon added three points and two rebounds.

At the start of the second half, Arizona appeared to be playing some smarter basketball. They stopped settling for the long ball and began getting it inside. Walters started the half with a dunk for the Cats, and Radenovic drove hard into the lane and Adams made a nice move for a lay-up, despite taking an ill advised shot prior.

Radenovic had a strong game for the UA with 20 points, seven rebounds, and two assists.

Arizona was sparked on the strength of a 18-8 run making the score 50-49 in favor of the Cats following a Radenovic three with under 11:00 left in the ball game, it appeared as though Arizona may have found their stride. It was their first lead of the night.

A strong turning point occurred for the UA as Radenovic hit a long two to tie the game at 52 a piece. Radenovic was hustling all over the floor and dove for a ball before UConn was able to come away with it.

The Huskies had numbers but Dillon swept in and stole the ball for the Wildcats and then passed it to Hassan Adams. It was three on one for the UA and Adams passed to J.P. Prince who lobbed it up for Adams for the alley-oop slam giving them a two point lead.

Adams has a better second half scoring 16 total points with three rebounds and an assist on the night.

UConn's next possession was a near shot clock violation before they shot and got the board but soon stepped out of bounds giving the UA the ball with about 7:30 and a two point lead.

Then UConn had a turn in momentum in their favor with a 13-1 run.

Adams hit one of two free throws and UConn threw up a quick shot with four seconds left on the shot-clock that missed. The Huskies got another offensive rebound and hit a three. Adams in bounds pass was intercepted and UConn then sunk two free throws.

Arizona came down and Marcus Williams took a quick shot which missed and UConn got on a fast break. Williams was able to get back down the court but fouled Hilton Armstrong on the dunk. Armstrong hit the freebie and Arizona trailed 60-55 with 5:29 left in the game and that it was too much of a deficit for the UA to come back from.

UConn continued the run after a Radenovic free throw hitting a long two before Chris Rodgers shuffled his feet. UConn hit a three and gave the Huskies a nine point lead with just 4:13 left in the game.

Arizona found themselves down seven points with 30.3 seconds left in the game, but UConn went to the line with 26.8 and hit both shots putting them back up nine. Shakur went down and hit a lay-up and Olson called a timeout with 18.7 ticks left, and the UA fought to the very end fouling down the stretch.

Arizona tried to keep it close, but a poor night at the line making 12 of 22 was too much to come back from and the UA lost 79-70. Arizona shot better today than they had against Kansas shooting 40% for the game, 46% from beyond the arc. Lute Olson moved to 0-4 against UConn in his career, and the UA moved to 1-1.

Arizona now will play Michigan State in the third place game Wednesday.

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