Tuesday, March 28

UCLA Score vs. Arizona takeaways: No. 7 Bruins hand No. 3 Wildcats their first Pac-12 loss in a top-10 matchup

Tuesday night’s top-10 matchup between Pac-12 powerhouses No. 3 Arizona and No. 7 UCLA began to the delight of the Wildcats. But it soon turned into an emphatic statement from the Bruins, who used a stifling defensive effort to secure a 75-59 win at Pauley Pavilion.

Arizona (16-2, 6-1 Pac-12) led 16-12 early after making 6 of 7 shots to start the game with a display of offensive prowess that made it the No. 2 scoring team in the country entering the play. From there, the Bruins offered repeated reminders of how they reached the Final Four last season with many of these same players.

UCLA (14-2, 6-1) outscored Arizona 28-13 to close the first half with a 40-29 lead and never allowed the Wildcats to get within seven points in the second half. Every time Arizona tied within single digits in the second half, the Bruins had an answer in 30 seconds.

In the end, Arizona was never able to hold anything offensively as the Wildcats shot just 31% after entering fifth in the nation with a team shooting percentage of 50.1% for the season. Jules Bernard and Johnny Juzang led UCLA with 15 points apiece, while Arizona star end Bennedict Mathurin led the Wildcats with 16 points on 5-for-22 shooting. Neither star winger, Juzang or Mathurin, was efficient after a good start for each. But Juzang got a lot more help, and as a result, the Bruins got a big win.

Total team effort for the Bruins

Juzang and Tyger Campbell scored 20 of the Bruins’ first 24 points. But it was a total team effort for UCLA, as the Bruins showed their functional depth even amid the absence of key backup guard Jaylen Clark. With Clark out due to concussion-like symptoms, UCLA used just eight players and got key contributions from each of them. Ultra-athletic rookie Peyton Watson had two blocks and two steals to go with five points off the bench.

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Among UCLA’s other starters, Jaime Jaquez scored all 10 of his points in the second half, Bernard needed just 11 shots for his 15 points and Cody Riley finished with a season-high 12 points. From the bench.

By contrast, it was a tough night for the Wildcats role players. Kerr Kriisa and Dalen Terry combined to go 0-for-17 from the floor. Arizona’s second leading scorer, Azuolas Tubelis, finished with just eight points in just 15 minutes as he played a limited role off the bench due to an ankle injury suffered Thursday against Stanford. If the second-year big man is fully healthy for the rematch, he could make a big difference for the Wildcats.

revenge is coming

UCLA can enjoy holding the Wildcats tiebreaker for first place in the Pac-12 standings for now. But the Bruins may have to beat Arizona again a week from Thursday if they want to keep that distinction. The rematch is just over a week away, and it will take place at the McKale Center on Feb. 3, where the Wildcats are a perfect 10-0 this season.

For now, though, UCLA has a six-game winning streak over Arizona that dates back to the 2018-19 season and predates Cronin’s tenure. Arizona’s only scheduled game before the rematch is against lowly Arizona State on Saturday. UCLA is scheduled to play Cal and Stanford before the rematch. The Cardinals are a formidable foe, and a stumble there would likely put the Wildcats back in first place going into Game 2 between these two.


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