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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

HALFTIME: Arizona 29, UCLA 23

LOS ANGELES — Thanks to stingy defense and 14 points from Solomon Hill, Arizona leads UCLA 29-23 at halftime in the Staples Center.

The Wildcats forced UCLA into 10 first-half turnovers while holding the Bruins to 34.5 percent shooting from the field and 1-for-6 from three thanks in large part to the defense of Kyle Fogg.

Fogg limited Bruins leading scorer Lazeric Jones, who came into Thursday’s game averaging 19.0 points in his last two contests, to six points on 2-for-9 shooting. Jones only scored two points on 1-for-12 shooting against Fogg in their last meeting.

In addition to Fogg’s perimeter defense, the Wildcats also held their own against UCLA’s massive frontline of David Wear, Travis Wear, and Josh Smith as the trio combined for only 11 points and 11 rebounds in the first half.

Even Arizona center Kyryl Natyazhko, who hadn’t played in seven of UA’s previous eight games, gave the Wildcats productive minutes down low as he banged with Smith on the interior and even dropped in a jumper in the lane for his first points since Jan. 19.

Arizona was also able to edge the much bigger Bruins on the boards, 16-15. Hill led UA with six boards and Jesse Perry chipped in four.

While Arizona’s defense limited the Bruins, the Wildcats’ offense struggled to the tune of 10 turnovers and 39.1 percent shooting form the field. Only one player other than Hill made more than one bucket, as Perry went 2-for-3 and scored seven points. Arizona did drill four 3-pointers, however, and its defense was enough to hold a halftime advantage.

With Josiah Turner serving an indefinite suspension, Jordin Mayes started at point guard and went 0-for-3 from the field but did collect two steals. Mayes’ backcourt mate Nick Johnson was held scoreless as he went 0-for-2 form the field and committed two turnovers.

UA’s largest lead was 10 as it held a 21-11 advantage with 5:31 remaining. But UCLA ended the half on a 12-8 run to trail by only six at the half.

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