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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Fast five: The five key factors that led to Arizona’s dismal showing against UCLA

Beau Leone

Sophomore guard Brandon Randolph stretches through a plethora of UCLA defenders as he makes his way towards the basket on Saturday, January 26. 

LOS ANGELES – Arizona men’s basketball’s trip to sunny Los Angeles got rained out with back-to-back losses by over 20 points, the latest a 90-69 showing against UCLA in Pauley Pavilion. Below are the five factors that led to UA’s blowout loss. 

Shooting slump

The Wildcats had another dismal performance shooting the ball, missing 44 shots (22-66) and making only 8-26 of their 3s. In the two games against USC and UCLA, Arizona missed a combined 96 shots (42-138). It’s quite an unprecedented slump for Sean Miller’s bunch.

UA’s head coach said aloud what many have been thinking the last 80 minutes of basketball.

“We can’t make a shot,” Miller said.

          RELATED: Game recap of Arizona’s 21-point loss to UCLA

Wilkes works wonders

UCLA guard Kris Wilkes came into the game averaging 17 points a game this season. He doubled that Saturday night with a career-high 34 points on an impressive 12-16 shooting, 5-7 from three-point range. 

Wilkes’ physicality at 6-foot-8, 215 pounds proved to be too much for Brandon Randolph and Brandon Williams to handle, as the UCLA sophomore got to the bucket at will and turned unconscious from beyond the arc early in the second half when he hit four 3s in the first nine minutes to effectively sink Arizona.

Williams shines in homecoming

Williams, a freshman guard, grew up in Los Angeles and attended Crespi High School just 10 miles away from the UCLA campus. In the return to his hometown, Williams had two of his better performances as a Wildcat, including a 19-point effort against the Bruins.

“He’s playing the best basketball of his career. Good to see him comeback to LA and string, in my mind, two really solid games in,” Miller said.

Brandon Williams dribbles through traffic as he manages to work his way inside. Williams finished with 18 points on Saturday, January 26 at Pauley Pavilion. 
Brandon Williams dribbles through traffic as he manages to work his way inside. Williams finished with 18 points on Saturday, January 26 at Pauley Pavilion. 

While the score certainly didn’t favor Arizona, Williams was the lone bright spot to keep the bleeding to a slow drip, as he was able to penetrate UCLA’s zone well, dish out to teammates and knock his out shot down when he had the ball in his hands.

Points in the paint

Without Chase Jeter in the lineup for the second consecutive game, UA had minimal depth in the front court, and the Bruins took full advantage. They pounded the rock inside and scored almost half of their points inside the sky-blue paint.

7-foot-1 Bruin freshman Moses Brown had a lot to do with that, as he scored eight points near the rim (11 total points). UCLA had 42 points as a team in the paint compared to Arizona’s 26.

Almost wire-to-wire

UCLA controlled the game the entire way, leading for 37:08 of the 40-minute slugfest. The ‘Cats led for just 18 seconds, albeit right after they scored the first points of the game. A few minutes into the first half and the Bruins had built a few possession lead that quickly turned into a blowout in the second half.

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