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The Daily Wildcat

 

No. 4 Arizona MBB secures victory against Cal

Motiejus+Krivas+extends+in+an+attempt+to+block+a+Colgate+shot+in+the+beginning+of+the+second+half+in+McKale+Center+on+Dec.+2.+Arizona+began+the+second+half+only+five+points+ahead+of+Colgate%2C+a+lead+that+was+extended+almost+immediately.%0A
Mason Kumet
Motiejus Krivas extends in an attempt to block a Colgate shot in the beginning of the second half in McKale Center on Dec. 2. Arizona began the second half only five points ahead of Colgate, a lead that was extended almost immediately.

The No. 4 Arizona men’s basketball team took on the University of California, Berkeley, on Friday, Dec. 29, at 8:30 p.m. in Haas Pavilion Arena where the Wildcats won 100-81. The Wildcats and Golden Bears have an extended history with Arizona leading the current all-time series record (74-31). Arizona went into this game coming off a disappointing loss against No. 14 Florida Atlantic University on Dec. 23, where FAU won 96-95.

First Half

Arizona started strong with the Pac-12 Player of the Week, Oumar Ballo making a layup for Arizona to then go on and build a 10-3 lead against Cal. The Wildcats went on a brief 8-0 run after Caleb Love hit a 3-pointer to put Arizona up 20-5. With Arizona’s fast start, Cal notably only scored five points within the first seven minutes of the game. Arizona was up 21 points after three separate shots made back-to-back by Motiejus Krivas with a score of 30-9. With Cal trying to close the gap, Arizona maintained control as Kylan Boswell hit a 3-pointer to widen the lead. Arizona scored 54 first-half points as they were 21-31 from the field as a team. Cal was 9-34 shooting under 30% against the Wildcats defense. Cal would attempt to lessen the lead as Grant Newell hit a 3-pointer leaving the score at 54-26 going into the half. Love led with 12 points in the first half as Ballo grabbed nine rebounds, dominating the floor. Fardaws Aimaq led the Golden Bears with 10 first-half points and five rebounds.

Head coach Tommy Lloyd was asked about the key to the first half:

“I think we always want to be aggressive […]. So I just think our guys came out and played with spirit and energy […]. So, I just told our guys ‘Hey, let’s see if we can get off to a good start, let’s not try to run a big deficit early.’”

Second Half

Cal opened the second half aggressively as Jalen Celestine shot from beyond the arc, quickly scoring. Jaylon Tyson made his presence known after shooting a 3-pointer of his own making the score 59-34. Cal went on a 7-0 run as Tyson scored a quick 10 points himself to propel the Golden Bears toward the 65-45 score. Arizona continued to pull ahead as Love made a powerful dunk, quickly gaining a technical foul as an effect. Cal found itself in foul trouble as Aimaq and Gus Larson were both fouled out as half of the time in the second quarter was still remaining. Arizona remained calm and built on its 81-57 lead after free throws taken by Ballo. Within the last few minutes of the game, Arizona had complete dominance throughout the second half as KJ Lewis dunked the ball for Arizona, putting no end to their lead, now at 94-70. Jalen Cone made back-to-back 3-pointers off a turnover inching Cal’s way toward the 96-77 score.

Ballo obtained his fourth double-double of the season scoring 17 points and 11 rebounds for Arizona. Love led Arizona scoring 22 points in the game with Krivas right behind him as he scored 18 points. Tyson was the leading scorer for the Golden Bears, reaching a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. The final score concluded at 100-81 as Arizona entered triple digits within the last minute of the game.

Looking ahead

Arizona will remain in California as it continues its conference play and takes on Stanford University next on Sunday, Dec. 31, at 2 p.m. in Maples Pavilion Arena.


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