It’s ugly almost from the start
More than three years had gone by since the last time UCLA lost to Arizona. But the end of an eight-game winning streak wasn’t the only ugly number for the Bruins on Saturday.
On the way to an 84-72 defeat at McKale Center, UCLA fell behind by 18 points in the first 20 minutes, the biggest halftime deficit the team had faced since losing by 17 to Memphis in the 2005 NIT Season Tip-Off Championship.
The Wildcats made 50% of their shots and reached the foul line 30 times, making 23. UCLA made five of seven.
The Bruins’ 20 turnovers were well above their season average of 12.4. And it was only the second time this season that an opponent had scored more than 80 points against a UCLA defense that was surrendering an average of 61.1.
“I don’t know what happened today -- whether it was the crowd or the pressure -- but we didn’t do what we normally do,” UCLA center Alfred Aboya said. “We just needed to calm down and execute our stuff.”
Arizona guard Nic Wise and forwards Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill had accounted for 69% of their team’s offense this season. On Saturday, they more than lived up to their “Big Three” nickname.
Wise had 26 points, Hill had 22 and Budinger added 17 for a total of 65 points, or 77% of the Wildcats’ 84 points.
“We’re not changing things much,” Arizona interim Coach Russ Pennell said of his team’s seven-game winning streak. “It’s more that we’re doing the same things, but better.”
UCLA forward Drew Gordon had the unusual distinction of being involved in two double fouls in the space of one trip down the floor.
First, he tangled with Hill. Then, after making a layup, he turned upcourt and ran into Arizona center Alex Jacobson, both of them going down.
Gordon questioned the second call, but it was that kind of day for a freshman who seemed occasionally frustrated by Arizona’s play.
“I’m not going to back down for anybody,” said Gordon, who had two points and two rebounds.