With six minutes left in Arizona’s game at UCLA Thursday, it looked like the No. 1 Wildcats were well on their way to another impressive road win.
But the UA’s 13-point lead evaporated over the next four minutes, and the Wildcats even trailed at one point in the final two minutes. Then the Wildcats went on a 7-0 run, and Arizona held on for a 79-75 win in Pauley Pavilion.
Nick Johnson scored a game-high 22 points and Kaleb Tarczewski added 16 as the Wildcats showed why they’ve been the country’s top team since early December.
Here’s a closer look at Arizona’s win, which helped the Wildcats (16-0, 3-0 Pac-12) match the best start in school history:
The Wildcats likely had two plays that will land in Sportscenter’s Top 10 Thursday. Aaron Gordon’s reverse dunk off a halfcourt lob from point guard T.J. McConnell was the top slam, and guard Nick Johnson added a soaring dunk in traffic off a nice feed from Rondae Hollis Jefferson.
Arizona center Kaleb Tarczewski was a perfect 6-of-6 from the field, and went 4-for-6 from the free throw line for 16 points to go along with eight rebounds.
UCLA went on a 13-0 run to tie the game at 69 with 2:28 to play, then took a 70-69 lead with 1:44 on the clock. Arizona was obviously able to rally from the small hole.
Arizona turned the ball over 17 times — including four each from McConnell and forward Brandon Ashley — and UCLA turned those into 21 points. UCLA turned the ball over just nine times.
The UCLA-Arizona matchup featured a number of professional prospects, and the NBA took notice. 45 NBA personnel were credentialed for the game, including several GMs.
The UA shot just 65.4 percent from the free throw line, and that poor mark nearly cost the Wildcats. Gordon twice missed the front end of late 1-and-1s before knocking down a pair to extend Arizona’s lead late.