April 14, 2024

Brighton Journal

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UCLA falters late, losing to Arizona in the Pac-12 major game

UCLA falters late, losing to Arizona in the Pac-12 major game

UCLA didn’t come here just to experience it well.

Their best defender back home, big guy watching them in a tracksuit, the Bruins didn’t hold back Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena while desperately lacking in the Pac-12 Championship.

They finally ran out of counterpunches.

The wild game ended in a mad stampede from the end. Arizona Azulas Toples He pushed his team to a two-point lead by making the first two free throws before missing the second by 5.8 seconds.

UCLA’s Jaime Jacques Jr. grabbed the rebound and dribbled frantically into the bottomcourt before cutting to freshman guard Dylan Andrews on the wing. Andrews rose to have a 3-pointer and a photo opportunity to last a lifetime.

The ball flew off the side of the rim, preserving the second-ranked Wildcats’ 61-59 victory over the first-ranked Bruins.

UCLA’s Amari Bailey controlled the ball under pressure from Arizona’s Azulas Toples, second from right, and Kerrissa (25) on Saturday night.

(Chase Stevens/The Associated Press)

“Wide open shot to win the game,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said afterward. “We’ll take it. It is what it is. Get some rest, and get ready for the real tournament.”

The Arizona players continued to celebrate their second straight title game victory over UCLA (29-5) while the Bruins contemplated where they might be seeded in the NCAA Tournament.

Even if he was shorthanded, the Bruins had every chance of pulling this off.

Given a chance to tie the score with 6.8 seconds left, Bruins point guard Tyger Campbell, an 84.9% free throw shooter who’s been clutch all week, missed the second of two free throws, the ball rolling around the rim before going out. Cronin said Campbell was angry with himself afterward.

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“I’m going to put my career on the line,” Cronin said, “with Tiger on the line.”

Tubelis grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled to start the game-ending sequence.

Another missed UCLA chance after Jackie’s knocked the ball away from Topilis with 1:10 left to steal and the Bruins held a one-point lead. But after the Bruins called a timeout, Jaquez missed the short jump.

“I thought I had a great look so much, I just missed it,” said Jacques, who scored 13 points on five-for-18 shooting.

The Wildcats missed their next shot, but Tubelis faced and found an offensive rebound Courtney Ramey A three-pointer pushed Arizona to a 60-58 lead with 18 seconds left. Cronin suggested that Ramy had pushed Will McClendon before the shooting, one of two calls that angered the coach.

“My takeaway is an unnamed offensive foul, they triple-scored,” said Cronin, who also lamented his team’s defensive errors and gave up seven offensive rebounds in the second half.

The other call that upset Cronin came in the first half when Jackie’s passed to Amari Bailey cutter, who threw a vicious one-handed dunk on Arizona’s Bill Larson. The whistle exploded. Bruins fans cheered, assuming it was a three-point play opportunity.

no. The official pointed his arm to indicate that Bailey (19 points) lunged. offensive foul. Cronin and Bruins fans were furious.

“An offensive foul called out a guy who had the best dunk of the season,” Cronin said incredibly.

Somehow it got worse. On the Wildcats’ next possession, Larson threw a one-handed dunk, prompting an Arizona fan sitting on the field to yell, “That’s how you do it!”

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The Bruins fought back bruised but not broken. They led by nine points early in the second half before it looked like they might be running out of magic. The bullets stopped falling. Errors accumulated.

With freshman quarterback Adam Bonna sidelined after injuring his left shoulder on Friday, the Bruins ran out of seniors in the final minutes. Backup Mac Etienne fouled with 9:35 left and Kenneth Nopa followed with four minutes to go.

Toplis scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Wildcats (28-6), who ended the Bruins’ 12-game winning streak. Then, an Associated Press reporter told Cronin that an Arizona fan had yelled at his 81-year-old father, Heep, after the game. Mick Cronin and his players immediately got up and left the post-game press conference.

UCLA radio announcers reported on the air that a family of Arizona fans had caused a disturbance and security was called to defuse the situation and order the fans to leave the area. Martin Garmond, Prince’s athletic director, told The Times that he has been in contact with Pac-12 officials about the incident.

This was supposed to be an opportunity to resolve discussions, answer questions, and end any lingering doubts.

These two teams have met twice prior to this season, with each winning once. Concerned fanbases have made their cases for supremacy. UCLA was the toughest and most complete team. Arizona has the biggest frontline and the most powerful offense.

The Bruins won the Pac-12 regular season title in four runaway games, as they beat the Wildcats just last week, and now the two teams are meeting again.

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Any reasonable account of the Bruins has changed dramatically over the past week. Images of the Bruins running to celebrate with fellow students inside Pauley Pavilion were replaced by images of UCLA fans crossing their fingers and holding their breath over the two asterisks that hovered like a dark cloud over the latest Arizona showdown.

Junior guard Jaylen Clark was out with a lower leg injury. Bona, a crippling shooting danger, was turned into a cheerleader because of a shoulder soreness he couldn’t expect to stop him last Saturday.

The Bruins withstood it all as part of a thrilling run this week that was Disney-made, pulling away from Colorado before attacking Oregon behind a barrage of Campbell’s buckets. But this challenge was on a whole other level, like going from climbing the Santa Monica Mountains to Mount Everest.

UCLA made it most of the way. He couldn’t reach the top.