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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


No. 8 Arizona MBB falls short against Washington State

Mason Kumet
Keshad Johnson saves the ball from going out over a defender in the opening play of Arizona’s home game against Wisconsin on Dec. 9. Keshad is playing his first season at Arizona after transferring from San Diego State.

The No. 8 University of Arizona men’s basketball team visited and left with a brutal 73-70 loss against Washington State University on Saturday, Jan. 13, at 4 p.m. taking on the Cougars in Beasley Coliseum. The Wildcats are coming off a 19-point win against the University of Utah when they met on Saturday, Jan. 6, in McKale Center, claiming a 92-73 victory. Arizona (12-4, 3-2 Pac-12) holds the series lead against Washington State 68-19 as this will be the 87th matchup between the two schools. 

First Half 

Caleb Love quickly scored for Arizona as he shot a 3-pointer to start the game. Isaac Jones was the first to score for Washington State with both teams continuing to answer each other early through the quarter. With what seemed to be a steady start offensively for both teams, Arizona started to miss shots with a small 10-7 lead being collected for Washington State. Pelle Larsson tied the game at 12 with a layup as Washington State’s turnovers seemed to be affecting them, totaling five in the first half. Shortly after Andrej Jakimovski and Love made back to back 3-pointers on both ends, Jaylen Wells didn’t stop there as he shot from beyond the arc to put Washington State ahead 20-17. Approaching five minutes to go in the first quarter, Washington State went on a 7-0 run as they led by eight at 29-21. Love sent Arizona back into the half with a strong layup, gaining on the now 34-30 lead. The Cougars had difficulty scoring as they made none of their shots in the last four minutes of the first quarter and were led by Jones with nine points and six rebounds. Arizona looked to be in dismay as they shot 13-39 on its field goals in the first half. Oumar Ballo led Arizona with nine points and five rebounds. 

Second Half 

With jumpers taken on both ends by Keshad Johnson and Myles Rice, Washington State held a 36-32 lead. Larsson found himself in foul trouble as he gained his third a minute into the second half. The Cougars proceeded to go on a 6-0 run until a dunk off a turnover by Love paused it but it wasn’t long till the Cougars attained a 10-point lead at 44-34 with a dunk by Wells. Arizona went 2-for-14 on shooting at the start of the second quarter, not being able to catch the growing 11-point lead early on. A 3-pointer by Larsson was taken as the Wildcats would slowly chip the lead away. Love allowed Arizona to be within one point at 50-49 as he scored a 3-pointer forcing a Washington State timeout. Love pushed Arizona ahead at 57-55 when he shot from beyond the arc as the game went toe-toe in the closing minutes. 

Wells turned it into a two possession game at 69-65 with crucial free throws as Love shortly after shot a jumper, attempting to grab the lead. Johnson shot a hopeful 3-pointer to close in on the 71-70 score but ultimately, Love ended up missing a 3-pointer that would tie the game. Washington State claimed the win over Arizona with a final score of 73-70 as the Cougars were led by Jones with 24 points and 13 rebounds while Rice followed with 18 points. The Wildcats were led by Love as he impressively scored 28 points and eight rebounds finishing off the night but Arizona performed poorly collectively shooting 34.7% from the floor. 

Head coach Tommy Lloyd was asked about the level of effort throughout the game:

“Obviously it wasn’t good enough […]. I’m not going to get here and dissect this or that, we want to play better, we’re capable of playing better, today we didn’t. Washington State gets a ton of credit […]. I’m responsible for making sure we’re better in these situations […]. So we’re gonna hang together and look forward to getting back home and you know, we have a tough home stand against the LA schools which we know is going to be tough, I know it’s going to be tough, so we got to prepare for that.”

Looking ahead

Arizona’s next matchup will be against USC as the Wildcats return home to face the Trojans on Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 8 p.m. in McKale Center. 

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