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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Cats cut down in LA

    Arizonas J.P. Prince looks to pass after slipping during the second half of Arizonas game against UCLA, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006 at Pauley Pavillion in Los Angeles. UCLA beat Arizona 84-73. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat)
    Chris Coduto
    Arizona’s J.P. Prince looks to pass after slipping during the second half of Arizona’s game against UCLA, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006 at Pauley Pavillion in Los Angeles. UCLA beat Arizona 84-73. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat)

    LOS ANGELES – If Thursday night at USC was a poor performance, then Saturday night at Pauley Pavillion was just plain pitiful – at least for the first 15 minutes.

    While UCLA was clicking on all cylinders, the Arizona men’s basketball team’s engine sputtered yet again, as the Wildcats fell to the No.14 Bruins 84-73.

    The loss marked the team’s third straight loss, a streak unknown to the Wildcats since the 1991-1992 season when the Wildcats were swept at the LA schools and then lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Middle Tennessee State.

    “”When one thing’s going right with us, something else isn’t,”” said freshman forward Marcus Williams, who had 11 points. “”We need everything about our team to start clicking.””

    Arizona (13-9, 6-5) turned the ball over 3 times before halftime when UCLA (19-4, 9-2) jumped out to a 50-34 lead, setting a season high for points in a half.

    With UCLA leading 12-9, the Bruins went on a 21-5 run over 5:36 to blow the game wide open. Sophomore guard Aaron Afflalo scored a career high 27 points, including 13 for 16 from the free throw line to lead the way for UCLA.

    “”He has the heart of a champion,”” said Arizona head coach Lute Olson of Afflalo.

    Arizona was down by as much as 20 in the first half, but cut the lead to 13, before Afflalo hit one of many daggers on the afternoon, draining a 3-pointer with two seconds left in the first half.

    “”Afflalo’s shot at halftime was huge for them and that was not an easy look, it was a pressure 3-point shot, but he’s that kind of player,”” Olson said.

    UCLA led by as much as 24 in the second half, thanks to an 8-0 run out of the halftime gates, spanning two minutes.

    Senior center Ryan Hollins made a five-foot right-hand jump hook to start the spurt and Afflalo and sophomore point guard Jordan Farmar each connected on 3-pointers.

    The Wildcats would rally, however, going on one of their own patented runs, outscoring UCLA 24-7 and chopping the deficit to just seven points, while using a 1-3-1 matchup zone. Afflalo would again come to the rescue, swishing in a 3-pointer to right the Bruins’ ship.

    “”The zone was working a little and it took them out of what they did and Aaron came down and hit a big three,”” said senior guard Hassan Adams, who led Arizona with 19 points. “”That was kind of a momentum switch and that put us on our heels again.””

    Adams didn’t take a shot until the 5:02 mark in the first half, but when he did get going he was nearly perfect, scoring seven points on 3 for 3 from the field in the first half, and another 10 points during Arizona’s run.

    “”I wasn’t trying to force anything, whatever came to me, that’s what I was taking,”” Adams said. “”That was the big thing with the game Thursday, just being patient, letting things come to you.””

    Adams had all four of his turnovers at the outset of the game and Olson attributed it to Adams not being as relaxed after having a seven turnover game on Thursday.

    “”He had a horrible start, he had four turnovers in the first five or six minutes, and then he had no turnovers the rest of the game, so I’m happy that’s the case then the other way around,”” Olson said.

    Adams and Afllalo never played against each other in high school, but Afflalo has considered Adams a friend since the two played in the same competitive basketball league when they were younger.

    “”I love the challenge, and he’s the same,”” Afflalo said. “”I don’t know what he thinks of my game but I think he’s a good player and I enjoy that every time. I’m a competitive person who loves a challenge.””

    Arizona shot 58 percent from the field – a season high – but fell to 0-3 when turning the ball over more than its opponents.

    “”””It’s astounding they can shoot 58 percent and lose,”” UCLA head coach Ben Howland said. “”Usually you win when you shoot a percentage like that.””

    UCLA had 17 miscues, but snapped an eight game streak of holding opponents to under 50 percent from the field.

    “”We’re not getting out and pressuring the ball, you have to play defense the whole game, freshman guard J.P. Prince said.

    Arizona outscored UCLA 39-34 in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Bruins from gaining their biggest win since Feb. 12 1987, when UCLA won 81-65.

    “”I think we stepped up in the second half, but that’s not going to do it,”” Williams said.

    “”We played 25 minutes, as soon we learn to play 40 minutes we’ll be pretty good,”” Olson added.

    Uncharacteristically, Olson picked up another technical foul, his third of the season, while arguing a call with 11:51 left in the first half.

    “”I guess my eyes are deceiving me but I saw their post guy move all the way out of bounds to get Hassan,”” Olson said. “”Obviously it was a moving pick, you can be half blind and still see that. And what happens, Hassan gets called for a hold. At that time the fouls were 14-2.””

    Olson said he told the referee the technical was “”the first right call all day.””

    Arizona was assessed another technical with 10:42 left in the first half, when associate head coach Jim Rosborough did not agree with a call.

    UCLA marched to the free throw line 29 times, including 22 in the first half, while Arizona shot six first half free throws.

    The Wildcats set some more records of futility, including losing their third straight regular season game since Olson’s first season in Tucson, 1983-1984. The Wildcats have now lost six of their last 10.

    “”One of the things about our team through the years is we’ve tended to be very consistent,”” Olson said. “”This year’s it’s the inconsistency that’s really getting us.””

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