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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Energetic performance not enough in Senior Day loss

    With the chance for revenge – and a case for a NCAA Tournament bid – the Arizona men’s basketball team (17-12, 7-9 Pacific 10 Conference) nearly upset No. 4 UCLA before 14,624 in McKale Center on Sunday, but the Bruins (26-3, 14-2) were too much as they beat the hosts 68-66.

    Down 67-63 with 50.8 seconds left, UA guard Jerryd Bayless made a layup to cut the UCLA lead in half. Bruin guard Russell Westbrook was fouled with 14 seconds left and made one of two shots from the free-throw line, extending the lead to 3.

    Driving to the hole, Bayless was fouled by UCLA center Kevin Love and made one of two shots at the charity stripe. The miss was knocked out of bounds by UCLA.

    When the ball was inbounded to senior center Kirk Walters on the right side with 5.7 seconds left, he hesitated before giving the ball to Bayless, who launched an off-balanced 3 at the buzzer that didn’t drop.

    “”We tried to run a play but they switched everything,”” said Bayless, who finished with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting. “”Kirk, he had an open shot, but he turned around and gave it to me and with four people around you, it’s kind of tough to get it off.””

    The Wildcats came out of halftime down 41-39. A Bayless trey at the 16:34 mark capped an 8-2 run that was stifled by Arizona foul trouble.

    At the 8:16 mark, UA forwards Jordan Hill and Fendi Onobun – who got his first career start and was the 10th different Wildcat to start this season – were both on the bench with four fouls.

    Onobun only played 14 minutes but Hill wasn’t as affected by the foul trouble, as he scored 18 points and pulled down six boards in 33 minutes.

    The intensity was evident early on as Budinger missed a shot then raced downcourt to deflect an outlet pass, forcing the ball to go out off a UCLA player. On the next play, Onobun dived for a stripped ball, recovering it.

    “”We had a lot of energy off each other and played hard the whole way,”” Onobun said. “”At UCLA, I think we lost it mentally. They jumped out on a big lead when we were there and it was kind of a domino effect from there.””

    The Wildcats did anything but topple over this time around, as they came back from an 11-point first-half deficit, thanks in large part to Budinger, who scored 10 straight UA points over 2:45 to cut the Bruin lead to 39-34.

    A free throw and a jumper by Hill, along with two Budinger free throws, cut UCLA’s first-half lead to 41-39.

    “”That was energy,”” Bayless said. “”We rallied back but we didn’t finish the job.””

    Read Monday’s version of the Daily Wildcat for more on the game.

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