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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Poor first half dooms Wildcats

    UA guard Jerryd Bayless works around Virginia guard Sean Singletary in Arizonas 75-72 loss to the Cavaliers Saturday night in McKale Center. Singletary led all scorers with 24 points, while Bayless posted a team-high 21.
    UA guard Jerryd Bayless works around Virginia guard Sean Singletary in Arizona’s 75-72 loss to the Cavaliers Saturday night in McKale Center. Singletary led all scorers with 24 points, while Bayless posted a team-high 21.

    The No. 17 Arizona men’s basketball team lost to Virginia, 75-72, due to poor execution down the stretch, before a sellout crowd of 14,602 in McKale Center Saturday night.

    With 13 Wildcat turnovers and a constant rainbow of 3s from the Cavaliers, Arizona (1-1) could not come back from a 42-31 deficit at halftime.

    “”I know in my heart that we’re a lot better team than that,”” said UA forward Chase Budinger, who scored 15 points. “”We’re a lot better team than we showed. They hit 9 out of 13 3s in the first half and any team that does that is going to beat you.””

    With 25.6 seconds left in the game, UA guard Jerryd Bayless, who scored a team-high 21 points, hit an open 3-pointer to cut the Cavaliers’ lead to 73-72. A five-second inbounding violation by the Cavs gave the ball back to Arizona.

    UA guard Jawann McClellan threw the ball in deep, with Bayless tossing the ball over his shoulder before it went past the halfcourt line, causing a turnover that led to the Cavs (3-0) scoring two points from the foul line to seal the win.

    “”I don’t think Jerryd was aware that he could go in the backcourt and just get it,”” said UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill. “”But he threw it up over the top and we ended up with that turnover. That’s disappointing.””

    Said Bayless of the last play: “”It was my fault. It was a mental mistake and it shouldn’t happen again.””

    The end of the game was close for the last quarter of the game. With 10 minutes remaining, forward Adrian Joseph sunk one of his two field goals to tie the game at 59. The Cavs took a seven-point lead 1:38 later when Sean Singletary drained two of his game-high 24 points, but the Wildcats tied the game at 66 just over three minutes later.

    “”The first half was a little shaky,”” said UA forward Jordan Hill. “”The second half we came out and worked hard.””

    Virginia, the second Atlantic Coast Conference team to beat Arizona in Tucson the past two years, started the game on a 15-6 run. The Cavs hit five 3s in a row – three by freshman Jeff Jones, who went 4-for-5 from behind the arc in the first half.

    Budinger hit a trey to cut the deficit to 15-13 after Daniel Dillon stole a ball downcourt in a leaping effort.

    The senior guard Dillon logged a career-high 37 minutes, in his second ever start. With five points, three rebounds and two steals, he was one of three Wildcats to play 37 or more minutes.

    The eight-man rotation that O’Neill used did not include forward Jamelle Horne, who started and went scoreless in Arizona’s season-opening win against NAU last Tuesday.

    O’Neill said Horne didn’t play the 6-foot-6 Horne because he went small with his lineup, and added that Horne will play Monday against Missouri-Kansas City.

    “”I started Daniel because I thought we needed a little stability and I thought it would put us in a position where we could guard their 3-point shooters a little better,”” O’Neill said. “”Obviously that didn’t work in the first half. They had nine 3s.””

    The Wildcats took their first lead of the game at 10:56 with a Bayless 3-point play, concluding a 13-3 run and making the score 19-18.

    Dillon hit a three from the corner at the 3:15 mark to bring Arizona within two at 33-31, but a 9-0 Cavs run left the Wildcats behind at the half.

    “”I think we lost in the first half,”” O’Neill said. “”They were a great 3-point shooting team. They hit nine. Then we turn it over 13 times. We were fortunate to only be down 11.””

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