Arizona completes first double-digit comeback of season with win over UCLA

Jan 20, 2024, 4:30 PM | Updated: 4:55 pm

Pelle Larsson...

Pelle Larsson #3 of the Arizona Wildcats reacts to a three-point shot against the Utah Utes during the NCAAB game at McKale Center on January 06, 2024 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Utes 92-73. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona basketball continued its winning ways at McKale Center with a 77-71 victory over UCLA on Saturday after trailing by as many as 19 in the first half.

The Bruins were up 19-13 after about nine minutes of game time before using a 12-0 run to take the game by the horns. UCLA came in shooting 29.6% from 3 (325th out of 351 Division 1 teams), but they started 6-for-9 to help get their early lead.

Arizona has not done well against large deficits this season, losing all three prior games in which they trailed by 10 or more points.

However, a pair of 3s from Pelle Larsson and Caleb Love contributed to a 15-5 Wildcats run to end the half, cutting the deficit to just nine entering the break.

Arizona did not score in the first four minutes of the second half, allowing UCLA’s lead to balloon back out to 17 before the Wildcats started to chip away.

A flurry of free throws later, Arizona was starting to creep back in it. They finished 25-of-29 from the line, including 7-of-8 from Oumar Ballo, who was shooting just 43.5% from the line on the season.

Kylan Boswell started 0-for-5 from 3 but hit his sixth attempt to bring Arizona within five with 8:30 remaining, capping a 14-5 run and forcing a UCLA timeout.

Shortly thereafter when UCLA head coach Mick Cronin was called for a technical foul after one of his Bruins fouled Pelle Larsson on a shot. Larsson hit all four free throws to tie the game at 60. UCLA freshman Sebastian Mack responded with an and-one but fouled coming back the other way to allow Arizona to pull within one.

Mack scored 10 of UCLA’s 12 points over a near-seven-minute stretch.

With most of the scoring from either team in the final two-and-a-half minutes coming at the line, Arizona sealed the win with a 10-4 run to end the game.

Pelle Larsson led the Wildcats with 22 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Ballo added 17 points and 13 rebounds.

Mack led the way for the Bruins with 21 points, shooting 7-of-16 from the field.


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