TUCSON, AZ – Weathering a last-minute surge by the Bruins, No. 11 Arizona Basketball (17-3, 6-3) hangs on to beat No. 5 UCLA (17-3, 8-1) by a 58-52 final.
Following their dominant win over USC on Thursday evening, No. 11 Arizona Basketball was back in action in front of a rowdy and raucous McKale, this time taking on Pac-12 rival, No. 5 UCLA.
Taking on a talented and well-coached Bruins team, Arizona had to bring physicality and intensity in this one. And luckily for us, the Wildcats were up to the challenge.
Despite their limited offensive output, the Wildcats were able to outmuscle the Bruins, eking out the 58-52 win all while shooting a combined 38.8 percent from the field, including 5-18 (27.8) from three.
Overall, it was a combined effort in this one as three different Wildcats finished in double-figures; however, it was Oumar Ballo that led the way, finishing his day with a team-high 16 points and eight rebounds while shooting 8-11 from the charity stripe.
Azuolas Tubelis had a big day as well. Despite scoring just three points in the first half, Zu had a big second half, scoring 11 points and grabbing five rebounds as he helped fuel Arizona’s win. Tubelis finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Despite UCLA’s best efforts to make the comeback, No. 11 Arizona Basketball was able to weather the Bruins’ surge to escape with the win.
Looking for their first Pac-12 sweep of the season, the Wildcats had a daunting challenge ahead of them as they welcomed No. 5 UCLA to town, hoping to snap the Bruins’ 14-game winning streak.
From the tip it was electric! Granted, UCLA would start out with the early, 7-2 lead, but luckily the Wildcats didn’t get rattled, matching the Bruins’ intensity and effort over the first few minutes of the game.
Trailing 20-18, Arizona would gain their first lead at 3:39 to play in the first half after Courtney Ramey hit a big three to put the Cats up 21-20. UCLA would hit a two-point jumper to regain the lead at 22-21, but luckily, the Wildcats were able to close the half on a 6-1 run to lead 26-23 at halftime.
Hoping to continue their momentum in the second half, the Wildcats’ offense would start to hit their stride early on as back-to-back threes in the half put the Cats up 32-26 with 17:45 to play.
Riding the momentum wave, the Wildcats continued to pour it on in the second half, using stifling defense and transition offense to build as much as a 13-point lead with 5:26 to play after a deep three by Ramey made it 54-41, Cats.
Unfortunately, Arizona’s offense would become stagnant as UCLA’s defense tightened the clamps, responding with an 11-2 run to cut Arizona’s lead to just four.
Luckily, Arizona was able to hang tough, making just enough plays, in the end, to come away with the narrow, 58-52 win!
With the victory, the Wildcats improve to 17-3 (6-3) on the season and will resume basketball action on Thursday when they travel to Pullman to take on Washington State, followed by a Saturday showdown in Seattle against the Huskies. Tip-off against the Cougars on Thursday is set for 9:00 PM MST.