No. 5 Arizona Basketball blows out Bruins, wins last-ever Pac-12 Title

Mar 7, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard Caleb Love (2) signals during the
Mar 7, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard Caleb Love (2) signals during the / Yannick Peterhans-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES, CA – Meeting for the last time as Pac-12 foes, No. 5 Arizona Basketball (24-6, 15-4) clenched the last-ever Pac-12 title, routing UCLA (14-16, 9-10) by an 88-65 final. 

It was an ironic ending to the final clash between two titanous basketball programs that have shared a deep and passionate rivalry that has defined the very essence of college basketball on the West Coast.

For decades, Arizona Basketball and UCLA have battled on the hardwood, and on Thursday night, the Wildcats and Bruins were once again, pitted against each other as Pac-12 rivals.

As they tipped off one last time as conference foes inside the historic and hallowed halls of Pauley Pavilion, the Wildcats put together one last poetic and fitting end to this rivalry, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of players and fans alike.

Dominating this game from the tip, No. 5 Arizona asserted its dominance early in this one and never seemingly looked back as they cruised to the convincing 88-65 win!

Clenching the last ever Pac-12 Regular Season Conference Title, the Wildcats were fueled by their bench in this one as KJ Lewis and Jaden Bradley combined for 31 of the teams' 88 points.

Arizona's starters were not to be outdone of course as Caleb Love finished with a very respectable 17 points and three rebounds, meanwhile, Pelle Larsson and Kylan Boswell finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Jumping out to a comfortable 17-point halftime lead, No. 5 Arizona Basketball continued its dominance en route to the 88-65 win!

Playing physical from the tip, UCLA would hang tough with Arizona over the first nine-plus minutes of game action when a second-chance layup by UCLA's Adem Bona made it 15-15 with 10:15 to play in the first half.

But after a three from Kylan Boswell put Arizona up 18-15 just moments later, it was that shot that helped jumpstart this offense and get the team rolling!

Arizona would respond in kind, answering with a 9-2 run to make it 27-17 with 6:14 after another three-point jumper from Boswell.

UCLA would find a bit of a rhythm, cutting the Wildcats' lead to six, but luckily that is as close as they would get the rest of the way in this one as Arizona answered with another momentum-killing run as a 17-6 scoring spurt over the final 5:35 to play in the first half made it 44-27, Arizona at the break.

Leading comfortably, now wasn't the time to get complacent!

Already starting to see some of the Bruin faithful head for the exits and begin their long commute along the 405, Arizona continued its dominance!

Beginning the second half with a 15-6 run, the Wildcats pushed its lead to 59-33 when an opportunistic Pelle Larsson scored off a Bruin turnover with 15:04 to play that put the Cats up by 26!

Unfortunately, not going away, UCLA would continue to answer several of Arizona's offensive spurts, luckily, never able to get closer than down 20.

The Wildcats would pull ahead by as many as 28 when deep reserve Paulius Murauskas hit a stepback jumper with 2:01 to play, making it 88-60, but the Bruins would close out the game on a 5-0 run before falling 88-65.

But as the final buzzer sounded and Arizona was crowned the last-ever Pac-12 Champions (thanks, Washington), we cannot help but feel a tinge of sadness knowing that this chapter of this historic rivalry is drawing to a close.

The memories we've shared, the countless memorable games played, and the bonds we've forged will forever remain ingrained in our souls! And yet, our Arizona Wildcats are victors once more!

With the win, the Wildcats improve to 24-6 (25-4) on the year and will return to action on Saturday when they close out the regular season against USC. Tip-off against the Trojans on Saturday is set for 8:00 P.M. and will be broadcast on ESPN.

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