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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona men’s basketball loses nail-biter to Butler in Las Vegas

Steven Spooner
Arizona men’s basketball head coach Sean Miller screams at his team during Arizona’s 71-55 win over University of Northern Colorado on Monday, Nov. 21.

The No. 8 Arizona Wildcats fell to 5-1 on the season after suffering a 69-65 loss to the Butler Bulldogs. Freshman Lauri Markkanen scored 15 points and added five rebounds to lead the way for Arizona.

In another game that came down to the wire, Arizona came up short this time around. With the game tied with less than a minute to play, the Bulldogs pulled ahead after senior Kadeem Allen committed a foul underneath the hoop that resulted in a three-point play that gave the Bulldogs a 66-63 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

For the second straight night, both teams came out firing and connected on five 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the first half. The Bulldogs were lead by senior guard Avery Woodson who connected on three 3-pointers in the half, and scored 10 points overall. Markkanen and freshman Rawle Alkins each hit a three for the Wildcats in the opening minutes.

Things settled down after the opening minutes and Arizona made some key defensive plays. With Arizona trailing, junior Parker Jackson-Cartwright stole an inbound pass and pushed the ball up court and found Allen for an old fashioned 3-point play. It sparked the Wildcats on both ends of the floor, and they held the lead all the way until the last five seconds of the first half.

The Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run to end the first half, and carried that momentum in to the second stanza. After Arizona tied the score at 40 in the early going, the Bulldogs went on a 9-0 spurt to take the lead 49-40. Both teams were playing for the second straight night, but it was the Wildcats who looked like the team playing with tired legs.

Markkanen picked up his fourth foul with 12:12 to go in the game and it could have easily been the nail in the coffin. The rest of the team responded, as they went on a 15-2 run and took a 61-57 lead with 3:25 to play.

It was Arizona’s defense that brought it back in the game. Arizona’s guards denied every pass the Bulldogs attempted and it resulted in nine second-half turnovers for the Bulldogs.

Markkanen was able to take an extended break while Arizona made its big run, and re-entered the game with 3:25 to play and four fouls. But he fouled out on the first possession in which he re-entered.

Freshman Kobi Simmons is proving to be Arizona’s go to scorer in crunch time. And he´s not shy about taking the big shots when Arizona needs them. Simmons played a big role in Arizona’s 15-2 run, making multiple plays on defense and playing aggressively on offense. Simmons finished with 12 points on the night.

Arizona dug itself out of an early second half hole but it proved to be too little too late. The ‘Cats forced nine turnovers in the second half, but after Markkanen fouled out, Arizona ran out of gas on the offensive end. Trailing by three points with 20 seconds to go, Simmons had to settle for a three-point jumper with a hand in his face that came up short.

Arizona will face Texas Southern on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. in McKale Center and will be aired on on Pac-12 Networks. 

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