Shots don’t fall, superb. Mick Cronin can dwell with that.
Just preserve grinding away on the opposite finish of the courtroom. Get your hand on the ball. Snag a steal. Start a quick break that ends in straightforward factors to compensate for the sagging offense.
UCLA did none of that till it was too late Saturday throughout its largest showdown of the season.
Even a late flurry of steals as a part of 4 consecutive Arizona turnovers couldn’t save the fifth-ranked Bruins throughout a 58-52 loss to the Eleventh-ranked Wildcats at an more and more boisterous McKale Center.
Cronin didn’t like something he noticed from a group that misplaced for the primary time in two months, halting a 14-game profitable streak that was the longest within the nation amongst main convention groups.
“At UCLA, we try to play with heart and intestinal fortitude, and I don’t think we played that way,” Cronin stated after the Bruins fell to 17-3 total and 8-1 within the Pac-12 Conference. “I think we were offensive-sensitive all day, so I’m not impressed with our defense at all today. I could care less what the final score is. I didn’t think we played hard until the game was over.”
It was solely UCLA’s second loss in 4 seasons below Cronin when holding an opponent below 60 factors, the opposite coming throughout a 54-52 setback towards USC in March 2020 that required Jonah Mathews’ buzzer-beating three-pointer.
Cronin’s displeasure along with his protection was mirrored in Arizona (17-3, 6-3) getting layups on 13 of its 19 made pictures and the Bruins having solely six deflections at halftime.
“We tried to pick it up in the second half, but I think by that time it was too late, especially in the last two minutes of the game,” UCLA ahead Jaime Jaquez Jr. stated. “We weren’t as prepared as we should have been, and I take responsibility for that, not getting guys ready.”
There was momentary hope for a group that trailed by 12 factors with lower than two minutes left. UCLA middle Adem Bona’s layup pulled his group to inside 56-52 earlier than a loopy sequence bought the Bruins the ball again with 12.8 seconds left.
Arizona broke the Bruins’ full-court press, discovering Azuolas Tubelis below the basket. But Tubelis had his shot blocked by a fast-closing Jaquez earlier than a putback by Pelle Larsson was stuffed by Bona. Officials initially known as goaltending earlier than reversing the decision after a prolonged assessment and giving the ball to the Bruins.
In a fittingly irritating end, level guard Tyger Campbell missed a spinning layup and Jaquez couldn’t convert a tipin earlier than Arizona tacked on two free throws.
Cronin stated his group’s lack of shot-making bled over to its protection, dooming UCLA in its bid to take a commanding lead within the convention standings. The late sequence during which the Bruins bought two steals from Jaylen Clark and one from Jaquez earlier than forcing a five-second violation weren’t simply maddening for the Wildcats.
“It shows you what you’re capable of when you play with your heart and your intestinal fortitude,” Cronin stated. “You start playing with your mind — if you only play with your mind, your mind is on your missed shots instead of your mind needs to be on your effort.”
An opportunity to maneuver into place for a potential No. 1 seed within the NCAA event, showing earlier than the Bruins like a desert mirage, vanished amid one brick after one other.
Senior guard David Singleton, the group’s greatest shooter, missed all 5 of his pictures. Clark made 4 of 13 pictures on the way in which to 12 factors. Campbell made 5 of 18 pictures, two layups rolling off the rim, and completed with 13 factors and 7 assists.
There could be no repeat of the late success for Jaquez that had nudged the Bruins previous Arizona State two days earlier. Frigid from begin to end, Jaquez made 5 of 17 pictures and scored 12 factors for a group that shot 31.3% and made 4 of 20 three-pointers (20%). Jaquez’s ultimate three-point try may have pulled the Bruins to inside three factors with 51 seconds left.
“I thought my three in the corner was pretty open,” Jaquez stated, “I just missed it.”
The partying intensified for Arizona college students who had batted seaside balls amongst themselves earlier than tipoff. They arrived contained in the previous constructing with an assemblage of water sports activities inflatables, presumably as a nod to the spitting incident involving UCLA ahead Mac Etienne a yr in the past. One fan wore an umbrella atop his head, and a number of other college students sitting within the entrance row donned rain slickers.
Etienne was booed when he emerged from the tunnel beneath the coed part, ignoring the noise as he skipped towards warmups alongside his teammates. The seaside balls had been deflated and the water sports activities inflatables eliminated earlier than the sport.
But good sportsmanship was not in abundance. Students broke out a “F— you, Tyger!” chant on the first lifeless ball. The sport was 15 seconds previous.
It by no means bought any higher for the Bruins.