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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Wildcats motivated for Bruins

    Last night’s 70-58 loss to USC may have given the Arizona men’s basketball team an ugly dose of reality.

    With NCAA Tournament hopes on the line, the loss dropped the Wildcats (17-11, 7-8 Pacific 10 Conference) under .500 in the Pacific 10 Conference standings – a wakeup call as No. 4 UCLA comes to McKale Center on Sunday afternoon at 2.

    “”We sure have a lot to motivate us,”” said UA guard Jawann McClellan, who won’t play another game in McKale Center after Sunday, along with seniors Kirk Walters, Daniel Dillon, Bret Brielmaier and redshirt junior Mohamed Tangara.

    UA guard Jerryd Bayless said, however, that the game is more important than Senior Day festivities.

    “”It’s another game,”” he said. “”It’s not especially for seniors. It’s another game we need to win.””

    Added McClellan: “”We all should be itching and we all should be licking our chops.””

    The Bruins (25-3, 13-2) are on a four-game winning streak that started after Washington upset them in Seattle.

    “”It’s always harder to play teams on their home floor,”” said UCLA head coach Ben Howland.

    The Wildcats are hoping the same is true on Lute and Bobbi Olson Court as they try to forget the 22-point loss they suffered at UCLA on Feb. 2.

    “”They’re a great team,”” said Bayless, who was held to a team-high 13 points last time against the Bruins. “”If we don’t get up they’re going to blow us out like they did before. We definitely gotta get it together and try to figure out a way to get them.””

    That will be easier said than done, as four UCLA players average double digits in scoring. Center Kevin Love leads the squad with 17 points and 11 rebounds per game – seventh and second in the Pac-10, respectively – going into yesterday. He scored 16 points and pulled down 11 boards against the Wildcats last time.

    “”How do we bounce back?”” asked UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill after the game. “”We have no choice.””


    BREAKDOWN
    Tale of the tape: No. 4 UCLA at Arizona

    Guards
    One of the reasons the Bruins are such a tough matchup for the Wildcats is they have a Jerryd Bayless stopper in Russell Westbrook, not to mention a Chase Budinger stopper in Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. It doesn’t help matters that the Bruin roster also includes Darren Collison and Josh Shipp.

    Advantage: UCLA

    Forwards/Center
    Kevin Love went for 26 and 11 on 9-for-12 shooting in what was the easiest double-double I’ve ever seen during the first meeting. Jordan Hill just doesn’t match up well on him, and that’s not to mention the loads of depth the Bruins have up front that Arizona can’t match.

    Advantage: UCLA

    Intangibles
    Senior Day always provides a lift and senior Jawann McClellan said he might try some things offensively he’s never done before. On top of that the Wildcats haven’t forgotten how they got embarrassed back on Feb. 2 in Los Angeles.

    Advantage: Arizona

    Prediction
    It would be tough to predict a UA win without Nic Wise, especially when considering how bad Arizona played in the first game even with him. With it being the last home game ever for McClellan (and possibly Bayless and Budinger) I can guarantee the Wildcats will put forth a much better effort than they did during the stinker in LA. But with the talent and depth differential, it just won’t be enough.

    UCLA 73, Arizona 66

    – compiled by Michael Schwartz


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