No. 7 Arizona takes down No. 3 UCLA with huge double-digit win
No. 7 Arizona held off No. 3 UCLA’s late push in the second half to win 76-66.
The Bruins made it a three point game with less than four minutes to go, but the Wildcats woke up to get a quick six points to put the game out of reach.
With this win Arizona will take sole possession of the number one spot in the Pac-12.
THIS IS ARIZONA BASKETBALL. pic.twitter.com/EJS5N2gE9m— Arizona Basketball (@ArizonaMBB) February 4, 2022
UCLA works Arizona lead down to 3
With under four minutes to go in the game, UCLA has now worked Arizona's lead down to 64-61.
The Wildcats have gone cold with three points in the last seven minutes. During that time the Bruins have put up 12.
UCLA tries to make a run to cut down Arizona's lead
UCLA has opened the first half outscoring Arizona 17-13 to bring the deficit to 55-47 with a bit over 10 minutes to go.
Johnny Juzang has six points this half along with a few other of his teammates getting a couple. The Bruins will have to space out and get points in transition if they want to keep things close.
Arizona hasn't crumbled under the pressure. Shots haven't been falling at the same rate as the first half, but the Wildcats are still managing to get some points. This one will continue to be close the rest of the way through.
Arizona takes a double-digit lead into half thanks to great first half
No. 7 Arizona leads No. 3 UCLA 42-30 at the half.
A big part of this lead is thanks to the Wildcats' great shooting in the first half. Arizona shot 60% from field goal range and 44.4% from three. The Wildcats also played solid defense. The last time these two faced off, Arizona had two blocks. Tonight, Arizona has four blocks.
UCLA isn't out of this one, though. The Bruins did a great job when it came to forcing turnovers with seven. The typical scorers for UCLA have gone quiet tonight. Johnny Juzang has four, Tyger Campbell has two and after a hot start Jaime Jaquez Jr. has cooled off with six.
Another factor in this game has been bench points, as both teams had a few players get into some foul trouble they've had to go the bench. UCLA came up ended handed in that department with zero first half bench points and Arizona was able to get 10.
Here are the stats from the first half:
Big run helps extend lead for Arizona
Arizona went on a 12-0 run over the course of three minutes to eventually jump out to a 33-21 lead.
Everything is falling for the Wildcats this half and the home court advantage is playing a huge part in Arizona's confidence on both ends of the floor.
Arizona's Tubelis showing out early
It's been a back-and-forth game in the first five minutes with Arizona leading 13-10.
Arizona's Azuolas Tubelis has been making an impact early with six of the Wildcats' 13 points. Arizona has done a great job of getting the ball down low rather than settling for outside shots like it did the last time against UCLA.
On the defensive end, has tried to create chaos for the Bruins, but UCLA has remained calm. Jaime Jaquez Jr. is perfect from field goal range (3-3) with six points tonight.
UCLA, Arizona square off in a top-10 Pac-12 duel
Last time No. 3 UCLA and No. 7 Arizona met the Bruins got the best of the Wildcats, winning 75-59. UCLA beat Arizona at its own game, out blocking and out shooting the Wildcats to take sole possession of first in the Pac-12 standings.
Arizona will continue to rely on guard Bennedict Mathurin who leads the team in scoring average. The rest of the Wildcats' tall back court will have to step up, Azoulas Tubelis and Christian Koloko were ineffetive the last time at UCLA with just one block between the two of them and 19 combined points.
UCLA will once again go to its great guard play. Johnny Juzang, Jules Bernard, Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Tyger Campbell are all capable scorers and can help create looks for one another and the rest of their team. Those four combined for 49 of the Bruins 75 points last time they faced the Wildcats.
Stay tuned right for updates through out tonight.
Here's how you can watch Thursday's top-10 game:
When: Thursday, Feb. 3
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Where: McKale Center, Tuscon, Arizona
Previewing No. 3 UCLA at No. 7 Arizona
One week separates the last time UCLA and Arizona met. The Bruins disposed of the Wildcats 75-59 at Pauley Pavilion. This time, UCLA will have to travel to Tuscon to face Arizona in another top-10 battle.
The Wildcats are 11-0 at home this season while UCLA is 5-0 on the road. Arizona is coming off a win against in-state rival Arizona State on Saturday and the Bruins are riding a six-game winning streak.
Arizona's No. 3 offense in the nation was stifled the last time these two met. The Wildcats have shot 48% from field goal range all season but were held to 30.7% when they ran into the Bruins. That compared to UCLA's field goal percentage of 50% in the win shows a huge disparity between the two.
Another key factor in the game will be blocked shots, UCLA had eight last time the two met and Arizona had two. Prior to this game, the Wildcats are fourth in the nation in blocks per game and eighth in total blocks.
The Bruins will have to beat the Wildcats at their own game again if they want to sweep the regular-season series and move one step closer to claiming a Pac-12 regular-season title.
How to watch: Arizona vs. UCLA
Here's how you can watch Thursday's top-10 game:
- When: Thursday, Feb. 3
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- Watch: ESPN
- Where: McKale Center, Tuscon, Arizona
Andy Katz' latest Power 36 rankings
The game has been so good lately.
And we’re starting to see the best teams rise to the top — as it should be as we enter February.
Stars are taking over, finishing games and coming through with game-winners and thrilling finishes.
And the wins by the top teams have been so impressive that the chase to New Orleans continues to expand with a slew of candidates.
But the top two haven’t changed and it will be hard for anyone to change the opinion that Auburn and Gonzaga aren’t the two best teams in the country.
Kentucky certainly made a strong case with the 80-62 win at Kansas. That will go down as the most impressive win of the season and did earn the Wildcats our March Madness Team of the Week honors. The win over Mississippi State earlier in the week added credence to the debate. But it was just the previous Saturday that the Wildcats didn’t get past Auburn on the road. There is still work to be done.
In the Big Ten, Purdue has proven that ultimately the league will go through West Lafayette as predicted. There have been a few blemishes but the win at Illinois on MLK day and then the Sunday buzzer-beating win over Ohio State have shown that the Boilermakers are still the team to beat (yes even though Indiana won in Bloomington in the middle of those games).
The shot Sunday — by Jaden Ivey — gave him the final points of the game and earned him 21 on the afternoon and the March Madness National Player of the Week. Ivey, arguably the most entertaining player in the game this season, had scored 15 off the bench in a road win at Iowa after coming back from a hip injury. Ivey is a first-team all-Big Ten and all-American candidate.
February is upon us and the chases for national player of the year, coach, freshmen and every major conference race is going to go down to the final weekend. Let’s get to it.
1. Auburn (1): The Tigers have won 17 in a row and looked like one of the favorites to win the title.
2. Gonzaga (2): This was supposed to be a challenging WCC. It hasn’t happened yet. Zags have won 10 straight.
3. Purdue (5): The Boilermakers have been challenged but have stepped up to the moment by winning at Illinois and then on Sunday at the buzzer against Ohio State.
4. Kentucky (6): The Wildcats dominance at Kansas was one of the most impressive wins of the season. Keion Brooks was the latest ‘Cat to shine with 27 points in the 80-62 win.
5. UCLA (10): The Bruins took down Arizona and went 3-0 on the week. Jules Bernard has emerged as a leading figure on this team.
6. Duke (7): The Blue Devils have some blemishes but they still rise when called upon. This team has title chops.
7. Houston (11): Time to start considering Kelvin Sampson for national coach of the year. The injury-riddled Cougars have won 10 in a row.
8. Arizona (3): The Wildcats got blitzed at UCLA, but this squad will be in the Pac-12 title race.
9. Kansas (4): I’m going to let the Kentucky loss be more of an anomaly. The Jayhawks have played with fire, but this team still has the goods.
10. Illinois (14): The Illini beat Michigan State without Kofi Cockburn. A healthy Illinois can win the whole thing.
11. Baylor (8): The reigning champs have played a rugged schedule and there is no shame in losing at Alabama.
12. Villanova (12): The Wildcats are still the class of the Big East until Providence knocks them from the perch.
13. Michigan State (9): The Spartans blitzed rival Michigan. But the loss to Illinois stings.
14. Wisconsin (13): The Badgers keep finding ways to win and pulled out Ws at Nebraska and over Minnesota.
15. Ohio State (15): No reason to drop the Buckeyes after the buzzer-beating loss at Purdue.
16. Providence (17): The Friars probably won’t make up the three COVID-postponed games. But they may not need them since they could be the Big East champs with or without them.
17. Texas Tech (18): Mark Adams will be/should be a top 10 national coach of the year candidate with the way the Red Raiders have played.
18. Alabama (26): Look, good Alabama is worthy of being top 20 (see win over Baylor) but then bad Alabama (losing to Georgia) wouldn’t have them ranked. I’ll still stick with the latest result this week.
19. Marquette (23): The Golden Eagles had a great chance to win at Providence. Shaka Smart has Marquette all the way in the field. What a job he has done.
20. Oregon (19): The Ducks obliterated rival Oregon State. And, like Alabama, good Oregon is very, very good.
21. UConn (22): A healthy Huskies has the look of being a second-weekend team.
22. Arkansas (24): The Hogs have won six straight and suddenly all is well again in Fayetteville.
23. Boise State (25): The Broncos have won 14 straight and are now the team to beat in the Mountain West.
24. Texas (NR): Chris Beard’s squad beat Tennessee and has won three in a row.
25. Miami (30): The ‘Canes are having one of those seasons as Charlie Moore hits a half-court shot to win at Virginia Tech.
26. USC (16): The Trojans have three losses all in the Pac-12, one to Oregon and two to Stanford. I still believe in the Trojans as a second-weekend team.
27. TCU (33): The Horned Frogs beat LSU in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge and are on a path toward a bid for Jamie Dixon.
28. Tennessee (27): The Vols shouldn’t drop with the road loss at Texas. This team will be in the SEC chase for third behind Auburn and Kentucky.
29. Indiana (31): Yes, last Sunday Indiana lost to Michigan at home. But the good Hoosiers against Penn State was as impressive a looking squad as they have put on the floor this season.
30. VCU (NR): The Rams beat Davidson and Richmond to serve notice they are in the A-10 chase to stay.
31. Davidson (21): The Wildcats have one loss in the A-10 now but also have to contend with surging George Mason and Dayton.
32. SMU (NR): The Mustangs have won five in a row and while they aren’t in the same class as Houston, they aren’t too far behind.
33. Notre Dame (NR): Welcome to the Power 36. Mike Brey may just get the Irish in the Big Dance again.
34. Saint Mary’s (NR): The Gaels had an epic 17-point comeback at San Francisco and have won five in a row. No surprise. The Gaels are now No. 2 in the WCC ahead of BYU and USF (and Santa Clara and USD) behind the Zags.
35. Murray State (36): The Racers have won 10 in a row and will be a team no one will want to face in round one.
36. Toledo (NR): Time to give the MAC leaders some love. The Rockets have won eight in a row to go to 9-1 in the league, 17-4 overall.
Dropped out: Florida State (20), Loyola-Chicago (28), Michigan (29), Iowa (32), Wake Forest (34).
Also under consideration: North Carolina.
And a special shoutout to: Hawaii (won 7 in a row), UNC-Wilmington (11), Iona (7), Wagner (13) and Seattle (9).
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