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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Bagga caught off guard by first-half debut

    David Bagga
    David Bagga

    It’s not surprising to see walk-on guard David Bagga make an appearance in a game with 37 seconds left on the clock.

    The surprise when he did so Saturday against Oregon came in that it occurred in the first half, making it the junior’s inaugural first-half outing of his career.

    “”It kind of caught me off guard at first, but with (guard) Jerryd (Bayless) out, (UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill) didn’t really have I guess another option, and I was fortunate enough to get in there and get a steal,”” Bagga said. “”I thought we had a lot of momentum going into the second half. It was exciting just trying to do something in 30 seconds.””

    Bagga’s first career steal led to a Nic Wise breakaway layup at the buzzer of the first half, a shot that capped a 10-2 Arizona run and gave the squad momentum heading into the second half.

    With Bayless injured, the Wildcats had only Daniel Dillon off the bench at the guard spot, making Bagga the next option to stay small in the half’s closing seconds while protecting Dillon from picking up his fourth foul.

    “”I just put Bagga in there just because at that point I didn’t know who else to put in, so I figured, ‘Let’s put Bagga in, maybe he’ll do something,'”” said UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill. “”He got a steal. That wasn’t anything genius, believe me, by any stretch.””

    Although Bagga had never seen time in a game still in question on the Arizona side in his career, that doesn’t mean he did not prepare for it.

    O’Neill “”always makes a point of emphasis everyone needs, it doesn’t matter if you’re the first man on this team or the 15th man, you have to be able to be ready to contribute and do something,”” Bagga said. “”So when your number’s called you can’t – I mean it’s going to catch people off guard when they’re not expecting it, but you still have to be ready to get in there.””

    In the end when the No. 21 Wildcats lost 84-74, Bagga ended his streak of never appearing in a game Arizona lost, a distinction UA assistant coach Josh Pastner earned as a walk-on that he often brags about.

    “”I wish we would have (won, but) that’s not important to me,”” Bagga said. “”We’ll learn from this, and I think we’ll be all right down the stretch.””

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