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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Arizona not quite ready for prime time

    UCLA guard Russell Westbrook splits UA forwards Fendi Onobun (left) and Chase Budinger during the Wildcats 82-60 loss Saturday in Pauley Pavilion. After falling behind by 20 at halftime, Arizona failed to make one of its patented comebacks and trailed by as much as 32 at one point.
    UCLA guard Russell Westbrook splits UA forwards Fendi Onobun (left) and Chase Budinger during the Wildcats’ 82-60 loss Saturday in Pauley Pavilion. After falling behind by 20 at halftime, Arizona failed to make one of its patented comebacks and trailed by as much as 32 at one point.

    No. 5 UCLA 82, Arizona 60

    LOS ANGELES – Arizona entered Saturday’s ESPN-televised showdown at No. 5 UCLA riding the confidence of a four-game winning streak.

    Then the Bruins brought them back to earth with a resounding 82-60 blowout win they controlled from the start and led by as much as 32.

    “”We didn’t play like we normally do,”” said UA forward Chase Budinger. “”We were a completely different team out there on the court today.””

    Having won four straight Pac-10 games in impressive fashion, Budinger felt his team may have come in overconfident, something interim head coach Kevin O’Neill talked to the Wildcats (15-7, 5-4 Pacific 10 Conference) about guarding against.

    Overconfidence won’t be an issue next time out after allowing UCLA (20-2, 8-1) to shoot 57.1 percent and win the rebounding battle by 13, an embarrassment played out in front of the entire nation and College GameDay’s crew.

    “”I think teams sometimes soften up a little bit, especially young teams,”” O’Neill said about playing with a winning streak. “”To me I thought we played soft and timid, downright scared for a lot of the night, and that’s not the thing you need to do up here.””

    “”They played a great basketball game, we didn’t play well,”” he added. “”That’s a bad combination.””

    Arizona trailed by 20 at halftime after an opening stanza in which the Bruins outshot the Wildcats 60.9 to 32.0 percent and drew nine fouls on big men Jordan Hill, Bret Brielmaier and Fendi Onobun, including four on Onobun.

    “”We got bullied around, all of us,”” Brielmaier said. “”That’s on us. You can’t blame officials, can’t blame the players, blame yourself, whether it be stupid fouls or being in the wrong place.””

    Unlike early-season games in which the Wildcats came back from 20 points down to beat then-No. 9 Texas A&M and 13 down to defeat Illinois – not to mention a 19-point deficit the Wildcats nearly erased against Oregon – the Bruins kept pouring it on throughout the contest.

    “”I told my boys in the second half, ‘They’re going to come out and make a run,'”” said UCLA guard Darren Collison. “”That’s what we were expecting, for them to come out and make a run.””

    But it never came.

    After UCLA reeled off a 15-1 run over 7:29 to take a 13-point lead 10 minutes into the game, the Wildcats never put together a run of more than five points before a late rally against Bruin reserves prevented the contest from being Arizona’s worst loss in 25 seasons.

    “”They’re a better team than most of those teams, and we can’t get down like that to this team,”” said UA guard Jerryd Bayless. “”We get down like that, they’re going to bury us.””

    UCLA forward Kevin Love, who scored a game-high 26 points on 9-for-12 shooting, said he “”was a little shocked”” by the ease of his team’s victory because of how well the Wildcats had been playing, but he said he was not completely surprised.

    Budinger credited the Bruin defense for scouting Arizona well and doing a good job on the plays the Wildcats like to run but said its up to his squad to respond to that.

    UCLA locked up Arizona particularly well from the 3-point line, holding the Wildcats to a season-low two makes in nine attempts for the game to end a run of four straight games of reaching double digits in 3-pointers made.

    Arizona also uncharacteristically missed layup after layup, while letting the Bruins bully their way to 52 points in the paint.

    “”I don’t know how many layups we missed in the first half, right at the rim and stuff like that, and we did let it carry over to the other end of the floor,”” O’Neill said, “”and when you do that you won’t have a chance to beat good teams, especially at their place.””

    Budinger struggled most of the night in a 4-for-12 performance, while Bayless led the team in scoring with 13 on 4-for-9 shooting. The gimpy Brielmaier led the team with six points in the first half before a late layup by Bayless gave him seven.

    With their stars scuffling and UCLA outhustling them throughout the debacle, it’s no surprise the Wildcats suffered their biggest defeat of the year.

    “”They play with a chip on their shoulder the way that you’re supposed to play, and it was our job to knock it off, and we didn’t do that tonight,”” O’Neill said. “”Consequently we got what we got.

    Sometimes you get what you deserve, and our play got us the score that we deserved tonight.””

    And 1

    Brielmaier scored eight points on 3-for-3 shooting in 16 minutes of his start, but he could play just four minutes in the second half because of the separated shoulder that caused him to miss five of the past six games.

    With ice wrapped around his shoulder in the locker room, he said his injury feels the same it has been but that he just has to play through it, which did not leave O’Neill optimistic about his future effectiveness.

    “”I saw a guy that didn’t play for two weeks,”” O’Neill said of Brielmaier. “”Tried to give us a good effort. I’m not hopeful that he’s going to be able to do much the rest of the year.”” …

    Both teams’ coaching staffs wore white sneakers for the Coaches vs. Cancer National Awareness Weekend as part of a three-day effort to raise community awareness of the need for proper nutrition and physical activity to lower the risk of cancer.

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