Arizona’s Caleb Love fuels bounce-back win over Oregon

Jan 27, 2024, 4:49 PM | Updated: 5:54 pm

Caleb Love...

Caleb Love #2 of the Arizona Wildcats controls the ball during the game against the Colorado Buffaloes at McKale Center on January 04, 2024 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Buffaloes 97-50. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Arizona shooting guard Caleb Love scored 20 points in the first half and finished with 36 in an 87-78 win over Oregon in Eugene on Saturday, helping the Wildcats bounce back from a heartbreaking loss in Corvallis.

Love wasted no time in this one, getting the scoring started with a 3-pointer to give Arizona a 3-0 lead. The Wildcats as a team jumped out to a 17-5 start.

Love’s next bucket didn’t come for nearly eight minutes but he then piled on the points. Although he is shooting just 33.6% from 3 in his first season at Arizona, Love made three of his five first-half attempts, shooting 8-for-13 from the field.

He capitalized on his hot start with a transition dunk, after which officials called a technical foul on Love for yelling at the Oregon fans in the stands.

Love has scored at least 20 in a half in two other games, both part of North Carolina’s run to the Final Four in 2022.

He scored 21 in the first half against Marquette in the first round, but scored just two points in the second half. In the Sweet 16, Love scored just three points in the first half but 27 in the second to help the Tar Heels beat UCLA.

Arizona (15-5, 6-3) started pulling away early in the second half, and Oregon (14-6, 6-3) was never close enough to threaten Arizona’s commanding lead which reached as much as 16.

The 36 points on 12-of-18 shooting that Love finished with is a new regular season career high, edging out his previous best of 34. This is also his 11th game with at least 20 points in an Arizona uniform and 10th in the last 13 games.

With the win, Arizona and Oregon are again tied for first in the Pac-12, and the Wildcats avoid Tommy Lloyd’s first losing streak since arriving in Tucson.

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