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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    A sad Senior Day

    UCLA guard Aaron Afflalo dunks over Arizona forward Ivan Radenovic during the second half of the Bruins 81-66 win Saturday in McKale Center. Radenovic scored a season-low four points and was limited to 10 first-half minutes due to foul trouble.
    UCLA guard Aaron Afflalo dunks over Arizona forward Ivan Radenovic during the second half of the Bruins’ 81-66 win Saturday in McKale Center. Radenovic scored a season-low four points and was limited to 10 first-half minutes due to foul trouble.

    Despite making several runs throughout the game, the No. 19 Arizona men’s basketball team never seriously threatened No. 5 UCLA, who led wire to wire in an 81-66 loss Saturday in McKale Center on Senior Day.

    The Bruins (23-3, 12-2 Pacific 10 Conference) cruised through the final 10 minutes of the game, as the lead never dropped below seven.

    When Arizona (17-9, 8-7) made its final run with a four-point play by forward Chase Budinger and a three-point play by forward Marcus Williams, cutting the lead to 66-59 with about five minutes left, a Josh Shipp jumper and back-to-back 3-pointers from Michael Roll answered the bell for the final time for the Bruins.

    “”Every time we’d get the momentum and made a big play, they’d always come back and answer,”” said Budinger, who scored 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting from the field. “”They run their offense, get the shot clock down and knock down a shot in the last seconds of the shot clock. It was tough, it was frustrating – we’d have good defense, the shot clock was running down, and one of their guys would always step up and hit a big 3.””

    Senior memories:

    “”This crowd that really knows basketball, the student section, (head) coach (Lute) Olson getting mad at me when I make mistakes. Those kind of things are definitely going to stay in mind.””
    – Ivan Radenovic, senior forward

    “”Probably this year against Memphis, that was one of my recent memories, just refuse to lose, kept fighting to win the game.””
    – Mustafa Shakur, senior guard

    The Wildcats had used a 9-2 run in the final five minutes of the first half to reduce UCLA’s halftime lead to only one point, and a 12-0 run in the middle of the second tied a contest the Bruins were threatening to run away with.

    UCLA swept the season series against the Wildcats just like No. 22 USC did in its win Thursday. Arizona has been swept by both Los Angeles schools in the same season for the first time since the 1982-83 season, when Ben Lindsey was the head coach.

    “”We knew (Arizona) would be fired up,”” UCLA head coach Ben Howland said. “”This was one of our best games of the year.””

    In trying to prevent the milestone, the Wildcats used a zone for much of the game, a defense the Bruins have struggled with much of this year.

    “”The zone was really effective,”” said senior Mustafa Shakur, whose 17 points tied Williams’ for the team lead. “”When we first went into it, we went on our run and came back. Then they came out with a new game plan, which kind of took away from the zone’s effectiveness.””

    The Bruins attacked the zone by hitting 3-pointers, nailing 13 of 28 (46.4 percent) long balls in the game.

    “”We couldn’t stop their outside shooting,”” said senior forward Ivan Radenovic, who scored a season-low four points.

    UCLA point guard Darren Collison also took apart the Wildcats, scoring 17 points and dishing out 15 assists, including 10 in the first half. He also hit 5 of 7 3s.

    “”I don’t think there’s a better point guard in America than Darren Collison,”” said UA head coach Lute Olson.

    Collison didn’t just pass for more assists than his entire team in the Bruins’ loss to West Virginia Feb. 10, a game he missed with a shoulder injury, he also bested Arizona’s total of 13 Saturday.

    The 15 assists set this season’s Pac-10 mark and tied for fourth-best nationally this season, with no player ahead of him from a major conference. But it didn’t completely impress Shakur, who passed for six assists and is the only player in the conference averaging more assists than Collison.

    “”He played well, but I don’t think it was a case of him making crazy assists,”” Shakur said. “”A lot of those assists were out of the zone and just passing out of the zone, and guys couldn’t defend their shots with time running out. He played great, but, not to take anything away from him, I don’t think he did something that was unbelievable that I’ve never seen, as far as getting teammates open.””

    On the Arizona end, guard Jawann McClellan, who recently accepted a role as the Wildcats’ sixth man after starting much of the year, was Arizona’s ninth man Saturday, with guards Daniel Dillon and Nic Wise getting time off the pine before him.

    “”Daniel has been just competing a whole lot harder,”” Olson said.

    In all, McClellan – who looked dejected in the locker room after the game – played only three minutes in the contest, getting time at the end of both halves and recording an assist without taking a shot.

    The swelling is down in McClellan’s chronically injured right knee, but he has developed tendonitis that has bothered him and caused him to put more pressure on the other knee, Olson said. Problems with his knees have robbed McClellan of some of the explosiveness that made him a McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school.

    “”The last few games have not been good games,”” Olson said of McClellan’s three games before Saturday, in which he averaged 6.7 points. “”Physically, it’s just been a disaster.””

    Dillon finished with two points in 13 minutes, while all of Arizona’s starters played at least 34 minutes except Radenovic, who played 29 but was limited in the first half with foul trouble.

    After the game, Olson told his club they could learn from the team that just beat them – a squad he called a good basketball team, both offensively and defensively.

    “”There’s an example right here of what needs to be done,”” Olson said.

    And 1

    Former UA players Richard Jefferson, Luke Walton and Channing Frye attended the game, with Jefferson and Walton sitting courtside and speaking to the players in the locker room after the game. The ex-Wildcats’ schedules, with this weekend being NBA All-Star Weekend, allowed for the visit. … For the second straight year, the Wildcats lost on Senior Day during a Red-Out, in which players wore their road red jerseys. Arizona fell to then-No. 14 Washington last year. … Neither bench factored much in the contest, as UCLA’s scored six points while Arizona’s put up four. … At 12:50 a.m., there were 19 students lined up outside of McKale Center.

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