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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    O-for Los Angeles-again

    Arizona guard Mustafa Shakur, right, and UCLA forward Alfred Aboya, left, fight for a rebound as UA forward Ivan Radenovic reaches from behind 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, right, and UCLA forward Alfred Aboya, left, fight for a rebound as UA forward Ivan Radenovic reaches from behind 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 Saturday didn’t help No. 11 Arizona avoid its third consecutive loss, nor did it mask the obvious problems the men’s basketball team has had in losing four of its last five games.

    Of course, playing at No. 3 UCLA didn’t help solve any of the Wildcats’tribulations during their recent fall from grace.

    The Bruins (17-1, 6-1 Pacific 10 Conference) handed Arizona (13-5, 4-4) its second straight winless Los Angeles swing in a 73-69 win over the Wildcats before 12,229 at Pauley Pavilion.

    Arizona shot under 50 percent from the field and under 30 percent on 3-pointers for the fifth consecutive game. It tied a season low for points, thanks to poor free-throw shooting down the stretch.

    “”We had good looks, we just have to make shots,”” said UA head coach Lute Olson. “”We can’t make shots for them.””

    Arizona lost their third straight Pac-10 game and its fourth in a row to UCLA, the first such streaks since Olson’s first season in 1983-84.

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

    Said senior forward Ivan Radenovic, as he was whisked away along with his teammates to a 5:38 p.m. flight from LAX: “”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 Bruins 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 then 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: (in) practice I made my foul shots, (so) 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, 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 shooting, quieted Arizona’s chances of pulling the upset.

    Afflalo said he saw a different Arizona team Saturday from 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 (with their points) 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 and I have to keep doing that,”” said Radenovic, who was 14-of-45 from the field in the four games prior to Saturday. “”Some nights, I’m going to be off, and some nights 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.

    Collison aided Afflalo in scoring with 14 points and dished out seven assists against only 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 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. UCLA answered with a 13-0 run, in which five different players scored, to take a 30-25 lead.

    Arizona cut its deficit 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 finished with 10 points and eight rebounds. Olson said he “”was playing really well”” when he picked up his second personal foul with 4:48 left in the first half. He sat out until the second half.

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

    Although Arizona’s recent on-court troubles continued Saturday, they were not due to lack of effort as in Thursday’s loss to USC, said UA associate coach Jim Rosborough.

    “”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,”” Rosboroughsaid. “”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.””

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