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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

No. 18 Arizona 66, UCLA 64: Bruins drop Wildcats for third time this season

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Kyle Wasson / Arizona Daily Wildcat

LAS VEGAS – Arizona’s shot at a Pac-12 tournament title ended at the hands of UCLA on a Solomon Hill missed jumper at the end of regulation, falling 66-64 for the third time against the Bruins this season.

But that was not the play that UA head coach Sean Miller had talking in the post game press conference. With 4:37 left in the game, Miller was called for a technical foul after contesting a call by the officials. But, not surprisingly, Miller did not agree with that call either.

“I told our team after the game, that’s all completely on me,” Miller said. “If you’re the coach of a team and you get a technical in this type of situation with under four minutes, that’s unacceptable. The reason I got a technical foul was because I said ‘He touched the ball.’ By the way, it’s my first technical foul of the year.”

Miller repeated the phrase seven times after the game, and while the technical led to two UCLA free throws that ended up giving the Bruins two points “they didn’t earn,” as Miller put it, the call was not the only reason the Wildcats lost.

In the previous two games against UCLA, Bruin point guard Larry Drew II took control of both games, leading the Bruins in assists both times, with nine. In Friday’s game, Drew II was held scoreless and only handed out four assists, but freshman guard Jordan Adams replaced his production, scoring a game-high 24 points and zero turnovers, including 18 points in the second half.

“We went in to this game determined not to let Larry Drew II beat us like he did in the first and second game,” Miller said. “Not that he didn’t play an excellent game, but they went about it a different way. Jordan Adams really stepped up, and that’s what March is about.”

Miller also said after the game that in locking down on Drew, he didn’t anticipate giving up that much to Adams.

“I felt like the game plan was one that other teams have used,” Miller said. “Unfortunately, for us, it took us the third game to use it. But to me, that is the way that we, Arizona has to play UCLA.”

With 10:24 remaining in the game and a 48-39 lead, the Wildcats (25-7) gave up a 9-0 run in 90 seconds to UCLA freshmen Adams and Muhammad, in which Muhammad scored on two layups and a free throw.

“We started to trade baskets,” Miller said. “That’s one thing we’ve worked hard to get away from. You can’t trade baskets with a team like UCLA because they’re one steal away.”

The steal that broke a tie in the final minute was by Adams on UA point guard Mark Lyons, and was fouled by freshman center Kaleb Tarczewski on the way to the basket, before sinking both foul shots.

On the final play of the game, Adams broke his fifth metatarsal in his right foot and is out for the year. But, by that time, he had already ended the UA’s season.

Adams shot 13 free throws, more than the entire Arizona lineup.

“I thought we really attacked the rim,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said. “We did a great job attacking the basket. I’m excited how our guys did that tonight. [Adams] was the main one.”

Said UCLA forward Travis Wear, who finished with 11 points and five rebounds: “We refuse to lose and executed down the stretch. Jordan Adams put us on his back in the second half.”

On the final pay of the game, down 66-64, senior forward Solomon Hill decided against shooting a 3-pointer that would have given the Wildcats the win had it gone in, and opted for a jumper closer to the paint.

“We ran a play and put the ball in Solomon’s hands like we’ve done so many times,” Miller said. “I thought he made a great move. To me, us not being able to get those stops when we had the cushion, the lead, started to do us in.”

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