Bruins down No. 13 Wildcats
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Aaron Holiday scored 17 points, Gyorgy Golomon added a career-high 16 and UCLA shot its way past No. 13 Arizona, 82-74 on Thursday night.
UCLA (17-7, 8-4 Pac-12) attacked the Wildcats from the opening tip, repeatedly getting to the rim, opening up shots at the perimeter. The Bruins shot 52 percent from the floor and were 11 of 24 from the 3-point arc to win for the third time in their past five games at McKale Center.
Holiday added eight assists, and Thomas Welsh finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Arizona (19-6, 9-3 Pac-12) started slow on offense and labored on defense all night to have its 12-game winning streak in Tucson
Allonzo Trier led Arizona with 17 points, and Deandre Ayton added 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Arizona lost a heartbreaker to Washington on Saturday, when Ayton blocked a shot in the closing seconds and the ended up in the hands up Dominic Green, who nailed a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in the Huskies’ 78-75 victory.
Despite a tumultuous start to the season in China and a slow start in the Pac-12, UCLA still has a shot at winning the conference title and has moved into the NCAA Tournament picture.
The Bruins arrived at McKale Center on a modest three-game winning streak, putting them two games behind the Pac-12-leading Wildcats. A road win over a ranked team would move them away from the NCAA Tournament bubble and inch closer to the Pac-12 lead.
UCLA gave Arizona trouble with its extended zone early, forcing the Wildcats into taking jump shots. They had a hard time getting any to fall, opening the game 1 for 9.
Arizona started getting the ball inside and making shots, going on a 9-0 run to get back into the game.
It went back and forth from there until Jaylen Hands — you guessed it — got the hot hand.
UCLA’s freshman guard hit a trio of 3-pointers in the final 54 seconds, including a long one at the buzzer, to put the Bruins up 44-34.
Arizona made a quick push to open the second half, but UCLA, just as it did in the first, kept beating the Wildcats off the dribble and knocking down 3s to stretch the lead 12.
The Bruins scored six straight points to push the lead to 66-51 midway through the second half
UCLA held off every Arizona charge after that, going up 82-67 on consecutive 3-pointers by Kris Wilkes and Goloman.
UCLA pushed itself further away from the NCAA Tournament bubble with a superb game at both ends.
Arizona had one of its worst defensive performances since losing three straight games in the Bahamas and struggled against UCLA’s zone.
UCLA plays at Arizona State on Saturday.
Arizona faces Southern California on Saturday with the Pac-12 lead potentially on the line.