McKale North is no longer a certainty.
Arizona dropped its first game in Las Vegas in more than four years, falling 96-95 to No. 14 Florida Atlantic at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Caleb Love’s long 3-point attempt just before the buzzer bounced out, giving the fourth-ranked Wildcats (9-2) their second loss in three games heading into the holiday break. The final season of Pac-12 play looms afterward.
Love had 26 points, including five in the final 40 seconds of the first overtime to keep the game going, but he was 8 of 25 from the field and 4 of 12 from 3. Arizona shot a season-low 38.8 percent, including 7 of 25 from 3, squandering 23 offensive rebounds with nine of those from Oumar Ballo.
Ballo had 13 points and 21 rebounds, the most boards by a UA player since Jordan Hill had 22 in 2008, but he was just 4 of 11 from the field and only attempted two shots in the second half.
Pelle Larsson had 15 points, four rebounds and five assists before fouling out in the second OT, while Kylan Boswell had 12 points and five steals but was 4 of 16 from the field.
Florida Atlantic (10-2) got 35 from senior guard Johnell Davis, who was 15 of 27 and had 10 points in the extra periods. The Owls shot 50 percent, including 57 percent in OT, while Arizona shot 38.5 percent after regulation.
Arizona had a chance to win it regulation but Boswell missed a fallaway jumper. The Wildcats trailed by three in the final minute of the first OT before Love hit his fourth 3-pointer with 38 seconds left and then made a pair of free throws with 5.9 seconds remaining and FAU missed a desperation baseline jumper to send it to double OT.
In the final period, FAU built a 5-point lead with 2:05 left but Arizona scored five straight to tie it 95. FAU’s Giancarlo Rosado made 1 of 2 free throws with 57 seconds remaining after getting fouled with a second on the shot clock, and Arizona had two shots at the rim on the ensuing possession but both Love’s reverse and Ballo’s tip didn’t fall.
Up 37-31 at the break, Arizona’s lead was gone a little more than two minutes into the second half. FAU made its first six shots and went on an 11-0 run to go up 47-41 with 16:33 left as the UA kept missing and started turning it over, with three giveaways in the first four minutes of the second half after only five all of the first half.
The Wildcats were down 55-47 before getting back-to-back 3-point plays, the latter a triple by Keshad Johnson to end a streak of 11 consecutive missed 3s for the UA. But FAU’s Davis ran off seven in a row to keep the Owls ahead.
Ballo sat for a 6 1/2-minute span in the second half and FAU was 7 of 12 from the field during that stretch with three layups. Once he returned it allowed Arizona’s guards to be more aggressive on the defensive perimeter, and that keyed a run to retake the lead.
Larsson’s floater, following a Love 3, put the UA up 65-64 with 5:39 remaining. It was part of a 10-0 run to build a 3-point advantage with just over four minutes left. but FAU scored seven in a row to go back up 71-67.
Love’s third triple put Arizona ahead 73-71 with 1:13 left, and Arizona got a steal on the ensuing possession. But Boswell drove the lane and got off a rough shot, setting up transition for FAU that ended with a putback dunk by Vlad Goldin to tie it with 7.2 seconds to go.
An early 14-0 run gave Arizona a 17-3 lead just over six minutes in, but FAU didn’t panic. Despite going more than six minutes without a field goal, the Owls slowly cut away at the deficit and got within 27-25 with 5:11 left in the half. Arizona helped FAU’s cause by settling for quite a few mid- and long range jumpers, shooting only 42.9 percent on 2s and 20 percent on 3s.
A 6-0 run, capped by a steal by Boswell and feed to Love for a dunk, allowed Arizona to remain up by two possessions the rest of the half.
Tommy Lloyd had been 9-0 in Las Vegas with Arizona, which last lost in Sin City in the 2019 Pac-12 Tournament. The Wildcats are off until Friday when it opens the final season of Pac-12 play at Cal.