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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Cats derailed in Bruins’ den

    UA guard Nic Wise drives to the basket on UCLA guard Russell Westbrook during the Wildcats 82-60 loss Saturday at No. 5 UCLA. Arizona fell behind early and never mounted a comeback in its largest margin of defeat of the season.
    UA guard Nic Wise drives to the basket on UCLA guard Russell Westbrook during the Wildcats’ 82-60 loss Saturday at No. 5 UCLA. Arizona fell behind early and never mounted a comeback in its largest margin of defeat of the season.

    No. 5 UCLA 82, Arizona 60

    LOS ANGELES – ESPN’s College GameDay set the stage for a matchup between two of the Pacific 10 Conference’s best teams.

    They just forgot to tell the Arizona men’s basketball team to show up.

    Instead ESPN’s national television audience saw the Wildcats (15-7, 5-4 Pac-10) play their worst game of the year in their 82-60 loss Saturday at No. 5 UCLA, falling behind by as much as 32 in a game the Bruins (20-2, 8-1) controlled from the start.

    “”We didn’t play like we normally do,”” said UA forward Chase Budinger. “”We were a completely different team out there on the court today.””

    Having won four Pac-10 games in a row in impressive fashion, Budinger felt his team may have come in overconfident, something interim head coach Kevin O’Neill talked to the Wildcats about guarding against. They won’t be next time out after allowing UCLA to shoot 57.1 percent and win the rebounding battle by 13.

    “”I think teams sometimes soften up a little bit, especially young teams,”” O’Neill said. “”To me I thought we played soft and timid, downright scared for a lot of the night, and that’s not the thing you need to do up here.””

    Arizona trailed by 20 at halftime after an opening stanza in which the Bruins outshot the Wildcats 60.9 to 32.0 percent and drew nine fouls on big men Jordan Hill, Bret Brielmaier and Fendi Onobun, including four on Onobun.

    Unlike early-season games in which the Wildcats came back from 20 points down to beat then-No. 9 Texas A&M and 13 down to defeat Illinois – not to mention a 19-point deficit the Wildcats nearly erased against Oregon – the Bruins kept pouring it on throughout the game.

    After UCLA reeled off a 15-1 run over 7:29 to take a 13-point lead 10 minutes into the contest, the Wildcats never put together a run of more than five points before a late rally against UCLA reserves prevented the game from being Arizona’s worst loss in 25 seasons.

    “”They’re a better team than most of those teams, and we can’t get down like that to this team,”” said UA guard Jerryd Bayless. “”We get down like that, they’re going to bury us.””

    Budinger credited the Bruin defense for scouting Arizona well and doing a good job on the plays the Wildcats like to run but added its up to his squad to respond to that.

    UCLA locked up Arizona particularly well from the 3-point line, a weapon the team has used often during its recent run, holding the Wildcats to two makes in nine attempts for the game.

    Arizona also uncharacteristically missed layup after layup, while letting the Bruins bully their way to 52 points in the paint, led by a game-high 26 points from center Kevin Love on 9-for-12 shooting.

    “”I don’t know how many layups we missed in the first half, right at the rim and stuff like that, and we did let it carry over to the other end of the floor,”” O’Neill said, “”and when you do that you won’t have a chance to beat good teams, especially at their place.””

    Budinger struggled most of the night in a 4-for-12 performance, while Bayless led the team in scoring with 13 on 4-for-9 shooting.

    Brielmaier, who had missed five of the past six games with a separated shoulder that also kept him out for much of the second half against the Bruins, led the team with six points in the first half.

    With their stars scuffling and UCLA outhustling them throughout the debacle, it’s no surprise the Wildcats suffered their biggest defeat of the year.

    “”They play with a chip on their shoulder the way that you’re supposed to play, and it was our job to knock it off, and we didn’t do that tonight,”” O’Neill said. “”Consequently we got what we got. Sometimes you get what you deserve, and our play got us the score that we deserved tonight.””

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