clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

3 up, 3 down in Arizona’s loss to UCLA

The Wildcats were blown out. Again.

arizona-wildcats-brandon-williams-college-basketball-injury-knee-surgery-cal-stanford-sean-miller Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Another game, another blowout loss for the Arizona Wildcats in Southern California.

The Wildcats were decimated by the UCLA Bruins 90-69 on Saturday for their second straight loss and third in the last four games. UA drops to 14-7 overall and 5-3 in the Pac-12.

Our full recap can be found here, and here are some positives and negatives from the game.

3 up

This road trip is over

The best part about this road trip is that it is over. Arizona lost both games by a combined 44 points and got outrebounded by 29, while shooting 30 percent from the field and 26 percent from 3.

It was the first time Arizona lost by 20 or more points in consecutive games since the 1982-83 season. UA won four games that year.

The biggest takeaway is that Chase Jeter is Arizona’s most valuable player and it isn’t even close. Without him, the Wildcats will struggle to beat anyone. The depth just isn’t there. The frontcourt of Ryan Luther, Ira Lee, and Dylan Smith is not only undersized, but under-skilled as well.

Brandon Williams

The hometown kid was the only one that came to play, pouring in 19 points, eight more than fellow Southern Californian Ira Lee, who was UA’s second-leading scorer.

Williams was 6 for 13 from the field. His teammates were 16 for 53. The freshman also made half of UA’s eight 3s. In fact, he was the only UA player to register in the 3-point column until Alex Barcello sank one with 11:34 left in the second half.

Looking ahead to next year, Williams and Jeter look like keepers and guys worth investing in. The rest of the team? Eh. They have a lot to prove in the final stretch of the season.

Jake DesJardins’ generosity

The former walk-on missed both free throws in his lone trip to the charity stripe, triggering a promotion that awarded free Chick-Fil-A to every fan in attendance. There were quite a few Arizona fans at Pauley Pavilion, so let’s mark this as a positive. It’s all we have.

3 down

The offense

Arizona threw up brick after brick from the outside, shooting 8 for 26 from 3, and was completely outmatched inside, going 6 for 17 on layups, clearly bothered by UCLA’s length.

The thing is, when you’re forced to play small like the Wildcats were without Jeter, you have to make up for it by making shots from the perimeter or beating bigger, slower defenders off the dribble. Needless to say Arizona did not do either of those things well.

It was even a struggle at the free-throw line where the Wildcats were 17 for 25.

Perhaps the only bright spot is Arizona committed just nine turnovers Saturday, and only had 16 on the L.A. road trip altogether. But bad shots can be just as damning as turnovers, and the Wildcats sure had a lot of those this weekend.

Also, it doesn’t help when your leading scorer (Brandon Randolph) is held to nine points on 16 shots and your starting point guard (Justin Coleman) goes scoreless in 30 minutes.

The defense

As bad as the Wildcats were on offense, they were equally poor on defense, allowing UCLA to shoot 59 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3. The Bruins’ offensive efficiency was 122.2, per KenPom, the highest mark against UA this season.

Keep in mind this was a UCLA team shooting 45 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3 entering the night. In other words, the Wildcats made UCLA’s so-so offense look like the juggernaut it was when Lonzo Ball was running the show.

Kris Wilkes had 34 points on just 16 shots, one of the best performances against the Wildcats in a long time. Without Jeter, there was no resistance in the paint. Arizona only blocked one shot while UCLA tallied 42 points in the paint.

7-foot-1 Moses Brown corralled six offensive rebounds.

Arizona’s Pac-12 title hopes

Sweep at home, split on the road. That is usually the formula for contending for a conference championship, and Arizona has deviated from it in two straight weeks now.

As such, the Wildcats are now three games behind first-place Washington in the loss column and one back from USC and Utah.

Arizona’s next two games are versus Arizona State and Washington, and how it fares in them will probably make or break its conference championship aspirations, as well as its NCAA Tournament hopes.

Especially since Washington’s schedule gets soft after its trip to Arizona, when its final three road games are against Washington State and the lowly Bay Area schools.