ARIZONA BASKETBALL

No. 3 Arizona goes cold, suffers 2nd loss of season to No. 7 UCLA

Jan 25, 2022, 11:24 PM | Updated: Jan 26, 2022, 7:26 am
Arizona guard Kerr Kriisa, right, shoots as UCLA forward Cody Riley defends during the first half o...

Arizona guard Kerr Kriisa, right, shoots as UCLA forward Cody Riley defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Johnny Juzang and Jules Bernard scored 15 points each and No. 7 UCLA used gritty defense to beat No. 3 Arizona 75-59 on Tuesday night, handing the Wildcats their first loss in Pac-12 play.

The Bruins (14-2, 6-1) took the lead for good during a 12-0 run in the first half on the way to winning their fourth in a row.

Bennedict Mathurin scored 10 of his 16 points in the second half for the Wildcats (16-2, 6-1), who had their five-game winning streak snapped. Christian Koloko added 11 points and seven rebounds, highlighted by six dunks from the 7-foot-1 center.

“We knew they were going to try to pick on some matchups, and they did it, and it worked out for them,” Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd said. “We’ll see how it works out next time.”

Down by 16, the Wildcats used a 19-11 surge to close to 61-53. Mathurin had seven points and Azuolas Tubelis added six.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored all 10 of his points in the second half for the Bruins, including eight during the Wildcats’ spurt. UCLA went cold for three minutes before getting back-to-back 3-pointers from David Singleton and Bernard that pushed the lead to 14.

When the Bruins weren’t scoring, they were defending, tipping balls out of the Wildcats’ reach, throwing their bodies around inside and blocking shots.

UCLA fans chanted “Overrated!” at the Wildcats, who had their share of fans on hand at Pauley Pavilion. Arizona was the highest-ranked opponent to play at UCLA since No. 1 Kentucky on Dec. 3, 2015.

“Pretty good plan against us,” Mathurin said. “We needed to prepare a little bit better. We’ll adjust.”

Both teams came out firing. Neither missed a 3-pointer in the first 6 1/2 minutes, with Arizona making its first four and UCLA hitting its first three.

But the Wildcats missed their next 11 3-point attempts and their shooting slumped to 35% in the half. The Bruins ran off 12 points in a row to erase a four-point deficit. They shot 53% in the half and led by 15 before settling for a 40-29 advantage at the break.

The arena was fully reopened to fans after being closed to all but families and friends of the players and coaching staff since Jan. 6 because of surging COVID-19 cases.

BIG PICTURE

The Wildcats had been off to their best start since going 21-0 in 2013-14. They had dominated their previous three league road games, winning by at least 25 points. But their 31% shooting didn’t help, along with 14 turnovers.

They lost their sixth in a row to UCLA and will need a short memory because the Bruins visit Tucson next week.

FILLING IN

Pelle Larsson had 10 points and five rebounds for Arizona starting in place of Tubelis, who sprained his left ankle at Stanford last week and didn’t play against California. Tubelis finished with eight points and six rebounds in 14 minutes.

UP NEXT

Arizona hosts Arizona State on Saturday at the McKale Memorial Stadium in Tucson to open a three-game homestand.

Tip-off is set for 12:30 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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No. 3 Arizona goes cold, suffers 2nd loss of season to No. 7 UCLA