No. 12 Arizona Basketball makes improbable comeback to beat UCLA

Jan 20, 2024; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard Pelle Larsson (3) makes a pass to guard
Jan 20, 2024; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard Pelle Larsson (3) makes a pass to guard / Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports

TUCSON, AZ – Despite being down 19, No. 12 Arizona Basketball (14-4, 5-2) found a way to comeback and beat visiting UCLA (8-11, 3-5) by a 77-71 final.

I guess it is never truly over until the final whistle blows, and luckily for No. 12 Arizona Basketball that was certainly the case as the Wildcats rallied from as many as 19 down to beat the visiting UCLA Bruins.

Fresh off of a win over USC just a few nights before, Arizona Basketball was back in action for what seemed to be a favorable matchup for the Cats.

And despite UCLA leading for a majority of the game, Arizona was able to come back, beating the Bruins by a 77-71 final.

Led by Pelle Larsson's 22 points, Oumar Ballo also added with 17 points and 13 rebounds while going 7-8 from the charity stripe, and Caleb Love finished his day with 14 points on 5-16 shooting.

Arizona's bench was a bit quieter, finishing with 17 points with KJ Lewis leading the way with 13 points and four rebounds. 

Despite trailing by 19 at one point, No. 12 Arizona Basketball was able to rally, storming back to beat the Bruins by six!

12-15-12 may be a thing of the past as January 20, 2024 turned out to be quite a day for Arizona Athletics. Playing in front of an emotional McKale crowd that just witnessed Noah Fifita and Tetairoa McMillan announce their intentions to return for the 2024 football season, the Wildcats looked jacked from the start, jumping out to an early, 3-0 lead.

Unfortunately, that excitement quickly dissipated, especially as UCLA hit big shot after big shot, eventually jumping out to a whopping, 19-point first half lead after a pair of free throws from UCLA's Lazar Stefanovic made it 32-13 with 7:40 to play.

Finally, Arizona's offense would come to life, ending the half on a 15-5 run to cut UCLA's lead to 37-28 after a emphatic dunk from Caleb Love gave the Wildcats a little bit of juice heading into the half.

Trailing by nine, Arizona would need a strong start to begin the second half if they were to come back in this one.

Unfortunately, that would not be the case. Once again coming out flat, UCLA would start the second half on an 8-0 run to push its lead back up to 17 with 15:58 to play.

Needing to show some kind of life, Arizona would finally respond! Answering with a 12-5 run, the Wildcats would cut UCLA's lead to 10 with 11:57 to play.

Minutes later, the momentum was officially swung when a three-pointer from Kylan Boswell cut UCLA's lead to 55-50 with 8:32 to player.

Trailing 60-56, a foul from Stefanoivc would be contested by UCLA head coach Mick Cronin which then led to a technical foul, giving Arizona four free throws to tie the game at 60-60.

Arizona would take the lead at 69-67 after a made layup from Ballo, and after solid defensive stand from the Cats, Ballo would score again, making it 71-67 with 2:41 to play. Luckily, the Wildcats wouldn't look back, pacing itself to the eventual, 77-71 win!

With the victory, the Wildcats improve to 14-4 (5-2) on the year and will resume conference action on Thursday when they play Oregon State in Corvallis! Tip-off on Thursday against the Beavers is set for 9:00 PM MST and will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network. 

URGENT. The players who are staying with Arizona Football for 2024. The players who are staying with Arizona Football for 2024. dark

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