No. 3 UCLA Falls to No. 7 Arizona, 76-66, at McKale Center
Tucson, Ariz. – The No. 3-ranked UCLA men's basketball team cut a 12-point halftime deficit to three with just under four minutes to play, but couldn't overcome No. 7 Arizona on Thursday evening at McKale Center.
The 76-66 loss was the first defeat in a true road game for UCLA (16-3, 8-2) this season. The Bruins had won five games in a row before Thursday's loss.
Jules Bernard led UCLA with 15 points and was one of four Bruins in double figures. Kerr Kriisa led all scores with 16 points for the Wildcats.
The Bruins committed just eight turnovers to the Wildcats' 15, but Arizona won the free throw battle, 20-7. The Wildcats were also strong on the defensive end with nine blocks.
Arizona jumped out to a 16-10 lead early in the first half, aided by a 7-0 run that was capped by a triple from Dalen Terry with 13:52 remaining.
The Wildcats later expanded their lead to 14 behind back-to-back threes from Kriisa and Justin Kier, but five-straight points from Bernard made it 28-19 at the 8:10 mark.
Arizona led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but the Bruins scored the final five points of the opening period to make it 42-30 at the break.
Bernard led all scores with 12 points at the half while Kriisa (11 pts) and Azuolis Tubelis (10 pts) combined for 21 points for Arizona. The Bruins connected on just 1-of-9 triples while Arizona went 4-of-9 from distance in the first 20 minutes.
A pair of baskets from Johnny Juzang fueled a quick 6-2 run to open the second half, cutting Arizona's lead to 44-36 (17:47). Later, Tyger Campbell connected on a transition layup to cut the deficit to seven points at the 14:43 media stoppage.
The Wildcats pushed their lead to 60-49 behind a pair of buckets from Pele Larsson and a second-chance layup from Terry (10:40).
Later, David Singleton and Jaime Jaquez Jr. combined for a quick 7-0 run to make it 64-61 with 3:41 to play in the contest. The Bruins would not cut the lead any further, however, suffering the 76-66 defeat.
UCLA will be back in action on Satruday evening for a matchup against Arizona State. Tip-off from Desert Financial Arena (Tempe, Ariz.) is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT (8 p.m. MT). The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2.
The Bruins will continue a four-game road trip with a matchup against Stanford on Tuesday, Feb. 8. Tip-off from Maples Pavilion is scheduled for 8 p.m. PT on ESPN2.