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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


No. 4 Arizona MBB suffer devastating loss to No. 14 FAU after double over-time

Jackie Cabrera
The Arizona mens basketball team huddles up during the game against Morgan State on Nov. 7 in McKale Center. The Wildcats won the game with a score of 122-59.

The No. 4 Arizona men’s basketball team (9-2) suffered its second loss of the season, falling 96-95 in a closely contested matchup against No. 14 Florida Atlantic University on Saturday, Dec. 23, at 1 p.m. The game took place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, as the Wildcats kick off the Desert Classic. Arizona, coming off a victory against The University of Alabama with a score of 87-74 on Dec. 20, faced FAU for the second time, with their previous encounter dating back to 2008.

First half

Arizona secured the first points as Kylan Boswell opened with a 3-pointer. FAU’s Alijah Martin responded with a 3-pointer of his own. All five of Arizona’s starters contributed, extending the lead to 17-3. Despite a brief FAU rally, the score tightened to 27-24 after a jumper by Johnell Davis.  Arizona countered, with Caleb Love scoring off a possession and a steal. Oumar Ballo’s impactful performance included 14 rebounds and eight points in the first half. The half concluded with Arizona leading 37-31, and Davis leading the Owls with eight points.

Second half

FAU’s Brandon Weatherspoon opened the second half with a 3-pointer, tying the game at 41 after an Arizona turnover. Vladislav Goldin’s dunk gave FAU a 43-41 lead. FAU expanded its lead to 57-53 as Davis responded to Arizona’s 6-0 run. Both teams maintained a competitive pace, with Love’s clutch 3-pointer narrowing the gap. Pelle Larsson’s 3-pointer propelled Arizona to a 65-64 lead, followed by Love’s lay-up. Martin’s 3-pointer after a timeout silenced Arizona’s run. The game reached an unexpected climax, culminating in a 73-73 tie after Goldin’s second-chance dunk.

Overtime Period 1

Davis scored a jumper, giving FAU a 75-73 lead. Goldin’s fouling out led to crucial free throws for Love, tying the game. KJ Lewis made two free throws, propelling Arizona ahead. Davis remained a formidable force for FAU, tying the game at 82 after a turnaround jumper. Love’s second-chance 3-pointer forced the game into double overtime, with a score of 84-84.

Overtime Period 2

Jalen Gaffney scored first for FAU with a lay-up. Ballo’s successful free throws provided relief for Arizona fans. Gaffney’s 3-pointer extended FAU’s lead to 93-88. Boswell’s 3-pointer brought Arizona within two points. Love’s free throws kept Arizona in contention. In the final minute, Larsson’s fifth foul allowed FAU to secure a narrow victory, defeating the Wildcats 96-95. Davis led FAU with 35 points and 9 rebounds, shooting 15-27 from the field. Love led Arizona with 26 points, while Ballo contributed 13 points and an impressive 21 rebounds.

Head coach Tommy Llyod was asked about how having 10 extra minutes were beneficial going into conference play.

“It’s great to be in those situations, you can’t simulate those pressure scenarios and so now there’s going to be a lot we’ll learn from, a lot of positives where we did go and make great plays and probably a few negatives, you know, that we can learn from […]. it really helps.” 

Looking ahead

Arizona will continue its road trip in the Desert Classic, facing the University of California, Berkeley, on Friday, Dec. 29, at 8:30 p.m. The game will take place at Haas Pavilion Arena in California.

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