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UCLA rally falls short at Arizona as Wildcats end Bruins’ 14-game winning streak

UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. dribbles under pressure from Arizona guard Cedric Henderson Jr. on Saturday in Tucson. (Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

Shots don’t fall, fine. Mick Cronin can live with that.

Just keep grinding away on the other end of the court. Get your hand on the ball. Snag a steal. Start a fast break that ends in easy points to compensate for the sagging offense.

UCLA did none of that until it was too late Saturday during its biggest showdown of the season.

Even a late flurry of steals as part of four consecutive Arizona turnovers could not save the fifth-ranked Bruins during a 58-52 loss to the 11th-ranked Wildcats at an increasingly boisterous McKale Center.

Cronin didn’t like anything he saw from a team that lost for the first time in two months, halting a 14-game winning streak that was the longest in the nation among major conference teams.

“At UCLA, we try to play with heart and intestinal fortitude, and I don’t think we played that way,” Cronin said after the Bruins fell to 17-3 overall and 8-1 in 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 only UCLA’s second loss in four seasons under Cronin when holding an opponent under 60 points, the other coming during a 54-52 setback against USC in March 2020 that required Jonah Mathews’ buzzer-beating three-pointer.

Cronin’s displeasure with his defense was reflected in Arizona (17-3, 6-3) getting layups on 13 of its 19 made shots and the Bruins having only six deflections at halftime.

Arizona center Oumar Ballo drives between UCLA forward Kenneth Nwuba, left, and guard Jaylen Clark during the second half. (Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

UCLA center Adem Bona dives for the ball behind Arizona forward Azuolas Tubelis during the second half. (Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

“We tried to pick it up in the second…


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Author : LA Times

Publish date : 2023-01-21 21:26:29

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2023-01-23

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