March 11th, 2017
UCLA lost much of the momentum it built the last few weeks with Friday’s 86-75 loss to Arizona in Las Vegas. The loss eliminated the Bruins from the Pac-12 tournament, and sent Wildcats to the finals of tournament on Saturday against Oregon.
Lauri Markkanen scored 29 points, Allonzo Trier added 20 to lead Arizona. The Bruins shot just 40% from the field and 16% from 3.
Isaac Hamilton led UCLA with 20 points and TJ Leaf had 15 before fouling out.
The first half was a back and forth game, but the Wildcats had a late burst to take a 41-35 lead.
In the 2nd half, Arizona would extend the lead to 63-48, and had much of the crowd behind them. The Bruins tried to make several runs, but couldn’t recover.
Lonzo Ball had an off night for the Bruins. He had just 8 points on 2-7 shooting. He also injured his thumb in the 1st half, which appeared to bother him for the rest of the game. Ball thought he would be fine though, especially after X-rays were negative. “Nah, I’ll be all right,” he said.
It was also a tough night for both Steve and Bryce Alford. Bryce had just 5 points on 2-12 shooting.
As for Steve, Arizona coach Sean Miller got some revenge on him from the last time the two team met. Miller called an unnecessary timeout with one second left, and the game decided. Miller was getting back at Alford for doing the same thing to him in Arizona last month.
“I guess they’re upset I called a timeout at their place,” Alford said, referring to the end of UCLA’s 77-72 victory in Tucson two weeks ago when he wanted to set his defense with the Bruins ahead by five points. “I didn’t mean disrespect at all.”
Miller felt otherwise. “When UCLA played us at McKale, I thought they did a great job, they called a timeout with one second left just to make sure they had poise, and I felt like I wanted to make sure our guys had poise at one second left in this game.”
UCLA will find out Sunday what seed and region they end up in for the NCAA tournament next week. However, their hopes of being a #1 seed in the West Region are gone after the loss.
Bryce Alford was disappointed but remained focused on what’s ahead. “Our goal all year is to get to Phoenix and to compete for a national title,” he said. “So we’ve got a lot of work left to do and we have some time to figure out what we need to work on from this tournament.