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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcats suffer first loss of season against No.6 Kansas

Las Vegas, Nev. — The Arizona basketball team gave Kansas a run for its money but in the end it wasn’t enough.

The Wildcats suffered their first loss in an 87-79 highly contested game at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

“”It was a tough team. We battled back but it just wasn’t enough at the end,”” said Arizona forward Derrick Williams after the game.

Williams again led the Wildcats with 27 points and 8 rebounds before fouling out with 2:31 remaining in the game.

Arizona fell behind 33-18 with 10:47 remaining in the first half, in a game that seemed headed for a blow-out early on.

But guard Kyle Fogg — who was replaced in the starting line-up by fellow junior Brendon Lavender — crawled his way out of head coach Sean Miller’s doghouse after being benched in the second half of Friday’s game against Santa Clara because of his attitude. Fogg hit two crucial threes in the next minute to make the score a more manageable 33-24.

The junior from Brea, Calif., responded with 18 point on 6-for-12 shooting from the field, including 4-for-8 from beyond the arc.

“”To watch him go from last night and play the way he did tonight, says a lot about him,”” Miller said. “”That’s a good sign for our team.””

Arizona continued to chip away at the Jayhawks lead. The Wildcats took the momentum into halftime despite trailing 44-39, thanks to a Jordin Mayes three to beat the clock just before the half.

In the second half, the Wildcats took their first lead of the game with 15:43 remaining in the half on a runner by sophomore Solomon Hill.

Arizona led by as many as four points in the second half, but the Jayhawks twin big-men Marcus and Markieff Morris took a toll on the Wildcats down the stretch. The Jayhawks took the lead back with two free throws from Tyshawn Taylor making the score 61-60 with 8:40 remaining and Kansas never trailed again.

Williams and center Kyryl Natyazhko both fouled out in the last three minutes of the game after having to use fouls in the second half against the Morris twins.

Marcus Morris scored 16 points and Markieff Morris added 15 points, pounding the Wildcats down low during crucial possessions late in the game.

“”(The Jayhawks) do a great job sealing and getting the ball to the block,”” Miller said. “”It has a way of taking its toll against the defense and did tonight against us.””

“”We we’re playing some good defense but the Morris twins are just great players,”” Fogg added. “”They we’re hitting fade-aways from the short corner you can’t really stop that.””

Arizona, despite the play from the Kansas frontline, out rebounded the Jayhawks 37-33.

The Wildcats (5-1) will have a few days before travel to Houston to take on Rice University on Wednesday.

“”We just have to go back to the drawing board and put this game behind us and get ready for a very good Rice team on Wednesday night,”” guard Momo Jones said.

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