No. 4 Arizona basketball outdueled by No. 14 Florida Atlantic in double OT loss

Dec 23, 2023, 4:13 PM | Updated: 4:27 pm

Johnell Davis...

Johnell Davis #1 of the Florida Atlantic Owls shoots against Caleb Love #2 and Keshad Johnson #16 of the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of the Desert Classic at T-Mobile Arena on December 23, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

No. 4 Arizona basketball guard Caleb Love’s deep 3-pointer at the horn rimmed out, and the Wildcats dropped their nonconference finale to No. 14 Florida Atlantic 96-95 in double overtime Saturday in Las Vegas.

FAU’s Johnell Davis dropped 35 points, scoring 10 after regulation. Giancarlo Rosado made the back end of two free throws for the Owls for what turned out to be the winning point. Love led Arizona (9-2) with 26 points on 25 shots, and he drilled a deep, contested game-tying 3 with 37 seconds left in the first OT.

Davis finished a tough floater over Keshad Johnson to take the lead back, and Love evened the score with a pair of free throws that forced double overtime.

Back in regulation, Arizona center Oumar Ballo blocked a shot to set up a Love go-ahead triple to take a 73-71 lead with 1:09 on the clock. Kylan Boswell came away with a steal and ran the clock down but missed a tough layup. FAU (10-2) ran the break and tied the game on an open dunk by Vladislav Goldin after an offensive rebound.

Boswell missed a fadeaway jumper short at the buzzer to keep the game tied.

FAU had to climb out of an early hole to pick up the dramatic upset.

The Wildcats broke out a 14-0 run early to take a 17-3 lead, but FAU fought to stay competitive and trail 37-31 at halftime. Florida Atlantic started the second half on a 16-4 run and led by as many as eight.

Arizona chipped away at it, and Pelle Larsson hit a floater to take a 65-64 lead with 5:39 remaining.

The Wildcats only shot 39% from the floor and 28% from deep but hit 22 free throws and won the rebound battle by 13.

Ballo had 13 points and 21 boards, while Pelle Larrson added 15 points. Five Wildcats scored in double figures.

The Wildcats were the No. 1 team in the country at 8-0 but have dropped two of their last three games. The first came against currently-No. 1 Purdue, as Arizona built a gauntlet nonconference schedule.

Head coach Tommy Lloyd’s squad is 3-2 against ranked teams so far and picked up a win against an Alabama squad that received votes.

The Owls beat their second ranked opponent of the season. FAU’s Jalen Gaffney scored 20 points and Alijah Martin had 13.

The Wildcats get a break before Pac-12 play starts Friday when they take on California on the road.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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