The Arizona Wildcats now stare the reality of missing the NCAA tournament in the face. They do so after a game where three different faces of the Wildcats appeared.
In a 59-57 loss to the Oregon Ducks at McKale Center Saturday afternoon, the Wildcats (12-6, 3-2 Pac-12) looked dazed and confused early, showed a sense of urgency to come back from a 34-22 halftime deficit, then revealed their youth when the game came down to the wire.
Dazed and confused (from the tip of until 17:55 remained)
The Wildcats got out of the gates slowly, finding themselves down 34-22 at halftime. They shot 42.9 percent from the field and ended the first half with a scoring drought of 3:58 seconds.
Fogg wouldn't score until 24 minutes had been played.
A sense of urgency (from 17:55 in the second half to 1:00 remaining)
Arizona's scoring drought went two minutes into the second half, and in the end, UA was scoreless for more than six minutes of the game.
That's when the team you'd expect to see reared its head. Hill led the charge and scored 14 points in a period of less than seven minutes. He finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. Still, Arizona couldn't slow down a Ducks team that shot 45.3 percent for the game and went 6-for-15 from beyond the three-point line.
They failed to trim the deficit to less than seven until the 5:27 mark of the second half. That's when the freshman took over.
Nick Johnson hit a three to cut the lead to 54-48. He and Josiah Turner scored the next nine points for Arizona -- the Wildcats' final nine points -- but it was the missed opportunities that hurt.
A final of poor execution (from 1:00 remaining to the final buzzer)
With 37 seconds left and UA down 59-57, Turner caught the ball on the right wing and had an open look at a three-point jumper.
It was one of those shots that would be a good one for Fogg, Brendon Lavender, or even a leader like Hill, but Turner probably did the wrong thing by launching it. The freshman missed badly, but Arizona got the ball back on a defensive stop. He finished with 11 points, but also had no assists and three turnovers.
Head coach Sean Miller called a timeout, and with 19 seconds left, Johnson got open for a jumper in the same spot as Turner's previous attempt. After subbing out Turner for Lavender's shooting abilities -- Johnson was technically the point guard for this play -- Oregon's defense appeared to be confused about rotations and who was responsible for guarding Johnson.
That led Johnson to find himself open after coming off of a perimeter screen.
However, the Wildcats' timing on the play went poorly, and the pass from Fogg to Johnson was too late. The Oregon players recovered and blocked the shot.
Arizona got the offensive board, and Fogg wiggled his way open before missing from 10 feet out to end the game.
In the end, Saturday's loss was a painful one that gave Oregon its first sweep of the Arizona schools in Arizona. And it also put the Wildcats in a bind, further questioning whether an NCAA tournament bid will even be possible.