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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Arizona loses third straight, shooting problems continue”

    Arizona guard Mustafa Shakur and UCLA forward Alfred Aboyafight for a rebound during the first half of No. 11 Arizonas 73-69 loss at No. 3 UCLA Saturday in Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles. Shakur had 12 points and handed out eight assists.
    Arizona guard Mustafa Shakur and UCLA forward Alfred Aboyafight for a rebound during the first half of No. 11 Arizona’s 73-69 loss at No. 3 UCLA Saturday in Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles. Shakur had 12 points and handed out eight assists.

    LOS ANGELES – A late rally didn’t help No. 11 Arizona avoid its third consecutive loss, nor did it mask the obvious problems the Wildcats have had in losing four of their last five games. Playing No. 3 UCLA didn’t assist in solving any of the tribulations the Wildcats have had in their recent fall from grace either.

    The Bruins (17-1, 6-1 Pacific 10 Conference)handed Arizona (13-5, 4-4) its second straight 0-for Los Angeles swing in a 73-69 win over the Wildcats Saturday afternoon in front of 12,229 at Pauley Pavilion. The Wildcats shot under 50 percent and under 30 percent on 3-pointers for the fifth consecutive game, and managed to tie a season low for points, only because of the free throw shooting down the stretch.

    “”We had good looks, we just have to make shots,”” said UA head coach Lute Olson of his team’s 39 percent shooting percentage and 20 percent 3-point percentage. “”We can’t make shots for them.””

    Arizona lost to UCLA for the fourth consecutive time, marking the first streak if its kind since Olson’s first season in 1983-84. The Wildcats also lost three consecutive Pac-10 games for the first time since Olson’s first year.

    “”I don’t want to find out again what it feels like,”” Olson said.

    Said forward Ivan Radenovic as he was whisked away to a 5:20 flight from LAX along with his teammates: “”When you’re losing, of course it’s (frustrating).””

    Down 68-58 after a dunk and a layup by guard Josh Shipp capped a 6-0 UCLA run, Arizona scrambled back to cut the lead to 70-67 thanks in part to two missed front ends of one-and-ones by UCLA guards Darren Collison and Arron Afflalo.

    But Cameroon native Alfred Aboya, a 53 percent foul shooter on the season, made both of his free throws to give the Bruins a 72-67 lead and put the game away.

    “”All I was thinking about, practice I made my foul shots why not here,”” said Aboya, who filled in for UCLA’s leading rebounder Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who was out with a knee sprain. “”It’s the same floor, the same basket, and the same balls.””

    Without Mbah a Moute, who is also from Cameroon, Arizona outscored UCLA 34-22 in the paint and 13-6 in second-chance points. But the poor shooting and nine first-half turnovers, along with Afflalo’s 22 points on 9-of-14 from the field, quieted Arizona’s chances of pulling the upset.

    Afflalo said he saw a different Arizona team Saturday then he saw last season.

    “”They kind of slowed it down themselves with the zone,”” he said. “”Last year they were man-to-man, pressing and getting up and down in the 80s and this year, they don’t seem to rotate guys as much, they play fewer guys…so maybe that zone provides that rest for them. I don’t think it’s much we did (to slow Arizona down).

    The Wildcats 2-3 zone was effective at times, and UCLA has struggled against it all year, but guard Michael Roll’s three 3-pointers went a long way in helping the Bruins break through.

    Radenovic led Arizona with 20 points (7-of-13 from the field) and was the only Wildcat starter to shoot over 50 percent from the field.

    “”I stayed confident during the whole stretch when I was missing (14-of-45 in the last four games prior to UCLA) and I have to keep doing that,”” Radenovic said. “”Some nights I’m going to be off and some night those shots that I miss, I’m going to make.””

    Forward Marcus Williams had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, and guard Mustafa Shakur scored 12 points and dished out eight assists.

    Neither were available for comment after the game.

    Collison aided Afflalo in scoring with 14 points and dished out seven assists against just two turnovers.

    “”I think Collison is the key to their whole ball club,”” Olson said. “”He just puts a lot of pressure defensively, gets a lot of steals, puts a lot of pressure on the defense to keep him out of the lane and he’s very, very quick.””

    Collison foiled several botched fast-break opportunities for Arizona in the first half, coming from behind to strip the ball and either get the steal or knock the ball away.

    He also dribbled coast-to-coast for a layup to give the Bruins a 35-29 halftime lead, similar to USC forward Nick Young’s tip-in Thursday to give USC a 33-29 halftime advantage. Collison, a sophomore who has the physique of former Bruin point guards Tyus Edney and Cameron Dollar, had a similar coast-to-coast layup to open the scoring for both teams.

    “”This is a very big win for us, even though ‘SC beat them and we beat them,”” Collison said.

    In the first half, the Wildcats went on a 7-0 run to extend an 18-17 lead to eight points at 25-17. UCLA answered with a 13-0 run in which five different players scored to take a 30-25 lead.

    Arizona cut the lead to 39-37 in the second half, but Roll went on a roll, hitting two 3-pointers to help UCLA’s 10-4 run and give it a 49-41 advantage

    Forward Chase Budinger, who Olson said “”was playing really well,”” had 10 points and eight rebounds but picked up his second personal foul with 4:48 left in the first half and sat out until the second half.

    “”That’s when we lost the momentum,”” Olson said.

    Although Arizona’s troubles on the floor continued, one of them was not a lack of effort as witnessed in the USC game.

    “”In the other games we’ve lost, in my opinion we’ve stunk effort wise, not everybody but we just haven’t been good effort wise as a team,”” associate head coach Jim Rosborough said. “”Today, we were focused, we were ready to go, (the) locker room was electric, everything you’d want. I thought it was much better today.””

    No matter how high the effort is, however, Arizona’s brick-laying has put them at .500 in the Pac-10, after wins over California, Stanford, and Washington in which the Wildcats shot over 60 percent each time.

    “”We’re hitting them in the practice situation, so I think they’re just thinking too much right now,”” Olson said.

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