No. 7 Arizona grinds out 76-66 win over No. 3 UCLA
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) Kerr Kriisa scored 16 points and hit a big 3-pointer, Dalen Terry flirted with a triple-double and No. 7 Arizona grinded out a 76-66 win over No. 3 UCLA on Thursday night.
Shut down by UCLA nine days earlier, the Wildcats (18-2, 8-1 Pac-12) had a good offensive flow in the first half, building a 12-point lead.
The Bruins (16-3, 8-2) turned up the defensive pressure and slowed the game in the second half to chip the lead down to three. Kriisa soon answered with a 3 to make it 70-61 and Arizona made six straight free throws in the final 1:25 to win the rematch.
Kriisa celebrated the win by throwing the ball into the student section after missing all 12 of his shots, including nine from deep, in the first game against UCLA. Terry finished with 10 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Jules Barnard scored 15 points for UCLA and Johnny Juzang had 12 after missing two games in COVID-19 protocols.
UCLA won the first game 75-59 at Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 23 by slowing the pace and shutting down one of the nation's top offenses. The Wildcats shot 31% and went 7 for 28 from 3 in one of their worst offensive performances of the season.
Arizona got back to its free-flowing, fast-cutting ways against the Bruins early in the rematch. The Wildcats worked the hi-low for a couple of early baskets and hit consecutive 3s to cap a 12-0 run to go up 28-14 midway through the first half.
Arizona kept flowin' and scorin,' shooting 15 of 25 to lead 42-30 at halftime.
UCLA, after a good offensive start, struggled with Arizona's pressure and aggressive switching. The Bruins labored to get good looks and shot 1 of 9 from behind the 3-point arc.
Bennedict Mathurin had the defensive highlight of the first half, rising up to block Bernard's dunk attempt in transition and bringing the crowd to its feet with him.
Scoring was a little more difficult for the Wildcats in the second half, yet they were able to push back the Bruins nearly every time they tried to make a run, keeping the lead near double digits.
UCLA's pressure finally started to wear down Arizona late in the second half. The Bruins held the Wildcats without a field goal for more than five minutes and used a 7-0 run to pull within 64-61.
Arizona wouldn't let them any closer, with Kriisa's 3 keying a strong finish.
UCLA couldn't slow the Wildcats in the first half, but was able to dictate the pace better in the second. It still wasn't enough.
Arizona was at its offensive best in the first half, then labored against UCLA's pressure but found a way to win. Beat No. 19 Southern California on Saturday and the Wildcats could find themselves back in the top 5 in Monday's poll.
UCLA: Plays at Arizona State on Saturday.
Arizona: Hosts No. 19 USC on Saturday.