Saturday, March 11, 2017

UCLA could not hang with Arizona, Falls in Pac-12 Semifinals 86-75. Awaits Selection Sunday.


UCLA has posted a 29-4 record after having lost in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals.

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Isaac Hamilton scored a team-leading 20 points as No. 3-seed UCLA dropped an 86-75 decision to No. 2-seed Arizona before a record crowd of 19,224 in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament on Friday night.

In the rubber match of a hotly-contested season series between the two Pac-12 programs, Arizona raced to a 41-35 halftime lead and pushed its advantage to 15 points – 63-48 – with 13:22 left in regulation.

Arizona's Lauri Markkanen tallied a game-high 29 points and Allonzo Trier scored 20 to pace the Wildcats (29-4), who will face No. 1-seed Oregon in the conference's tournament title game on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.

Hamilton led the Bruins (29-4) in scoring for the second consecutive game. TJ Leaf had 15 points and eight rebounds before fouling out late in the second half.

UCLA shot 40.7% from the field (24-59) and made just 16% of its three-point field goal attempts (4-25). Both of those percentages were season-lows for the Bruins.

Arizona shot 50% overall and made 10 of 20 shots from three-point range.

In the first half, UCLA jumped ahead to an 11-5 lead led 13-8 before Arizona ran off six unanswered points while keeping the Bruins scoreless for over five minutes. Aaron Holiday broke the field goal drought at the 10:32 mark with a three-pointer that put UCLA ahead, 17-14, but Arizona went on an 8-0 run to take a 27-20 advantage.

UCLA answered with a 7-0 scoring run before Arizona closed the opening half with a pair of three-pointers, pushing the Wildcats' margin to 41-35 by halftime.

Arizona continued its momentum in the second half, jumping ahead by 11 points – 53-42 – with 15:29 to play. The Wildcats held the double-digit advantage for the next four minutes until Lonzo Ball hit a three-pointer while being fouled with 11:20 to play. Ball's ensuing free throw to complete the four-point play closed the gap to nine, 63-54.

The Wildcats followed with an 8-3 run, extending their cushion to 71-57.

UCLA never got closer the rest of the way, as the Bruins saw their 10-game win streak come to an end.

The Bruins will wait for Selection Sunday (March 12) to learn their NCAA Tournament fate. This season, UCLA defeated every team on its schedule and won a school-record-tying 28 regular-season games.

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