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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Kyle Fogg uses threes to ruin Bruins’ run

Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat

basketball vs ucla
Alan Walsh
Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat basketball vs ucla

Momentum killers, turnovers and mediocre records aside, it was a vintage UCLA-Arizona grudge match.

Missed free throws and a missing Nic Wise defined the first half, but ironically, it was those two ingredients that catapulted Arizona (15-14, 9-8 Pacific 10 Conference) to a 78-73 victory Thursday night in McKale Center.

“”Every shot I took … they were all in and out,”” said Wise after scoring 12 points, all in the second half. “”I know I wanted to come out fighting in the second half. I just wanted to provide a spark in the second half and get us going.””

The senior point guard, who also had seven assists, didn’t score until six minutes after intermission, but after Arizona gained a lead thanks to two Kyle Fogg free throws with 3:19 to go, Wise nailed a 3-pointer from the right corner to give the Wildcats a 68-64 lead.

Their lead cut to two, Wise then whipped a pass to a back-cutting freshman Momo Jones for a layup before the Wildcats finished off the Bruins with free throws.

“”We executed,”” Miller said of the second half. “”What I always look for playing a zone is free throw attempts. To get to the foul line against the zone is important and we did that.””

Arizona shot a poor 8-for-15 from the charity stripe in the first half before they regained their form with a 15-for-18 performance in the second.

Fogg, who didn’t score in double figures the past two games, scored 26 points on 7-for-10 shooting from long range. Miller said the team tends to have its best moments when Fogg is sharp.

“”I’ve been doing push-ups every night and getting a lot stronger,”” the sophomore joked. “”I just wanted to show it off a little bit.””

The Bruins (13-16, 8-9) bumped the lead up to 12 points with half a minute to go in the first half but Fogg hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to single-digits, but the Bruins had a 39-29 lead at intermission.

Junior Jamelle Horne didn’t start the first half in an attempt by head coach Sean Miller to jump-start the forward — and it worked.

Horne was aggressive, grabbing eight rebounds and scoring seven. But with almost five minutes expired after halftime, he mishandled the ball while trapped in the lane and UCLA made Arizona pay when he was caught sleeping on the defensive end. Forward Nikola Dragovic hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to give the Bruins a 50-36 lead.

Arizona came back with a 11-5 spurt, including two consecutive 3-pointers by Fogg. He hit another to bring the Wildcats within five points with less than 10 minutes remaining.

“”It was great to see us stick to what we’re doing and get some results down the stretch,”” Miller said.

The Wildcats came back with freshman forward Derrick Williams suffering through foul trouble and a quadriceps bruise. He still finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Scoring his second consecutive and career-high 16-point game, Jones tied the game at 58 with two free throws with less than eight minutes remaining on the scoreboard.

Missed shots and free throws summarized the first half for the Wildcats, who couldn’t scratch out more than 39 percent shooting and hit just 3-for-12 in 3-pointers launched.

“”We weren’t playing like ourselves in the first half,”” Jones said.

The Wildcats got out to a slow start, finding themselves behind 8-2 three minutes into the contest. Horne nailed a 3-point trey off the bench to cut the lead in half.

But UCLA continued to break down Arizona’s defense, edging the lead to 14-7 with 15:41 in the first half off a jumper by Dragovic.

“”Our defense was poor at best,”” Miller said of the first half. “”They (UCLA) screen and they’re disciplined. We had no answer.””

But in the end, Arizona regained its form, playing in what Miller said was possibly the 20th game in which his team went into crunch time with the game on the line.

“”I thought it was our best win of the season,”” he said. “”(Through) the ups and downs, (it is) very gratifying for everyone in our locker room.””

 

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