TUSCON—Fouling the opportunity to notch a signature road win, UCLA now finds itself on the outside looking in on March’s impending madness.
Saturday’s 57-47 loss to seventh-ranked Arizona, dominance often followed ineptitude. Eventually, the former won out.
Arizona was far from a friendly place for UCLA in February, as the Bruins lost consecutive games to both Arizona State and Arizona in heartbreaking fashion.
The first game, a two-point loss to the Sun Devils, was a contest the Bruins should have won, but found a way to lose. The most recent disappointment came in a matchup nobody expected UCLA to win.
The boys in blue put forth an effort that was at times inspiring, holding the Wildcats scoreless in the first six minutes and going on a 17-0 run that had them looking like the nation’s seventh-ranked squad.
UCLA suffered its own five-minute scoring draught of their own, followed by a slew of fouls that left the Bruins without big-men Tony Parker, Thomas Welsh, and Kevon Looney.
Short-handed, the Bruins eventually couldn’t overcome an Arizona team that had initially appeared intent upon losing the game.
“Obviously, we’re not into moral victories,” said UCLA Coach Steve Alford. “But I really liked how our guys fought tonight.”
With the loss, UCLA has ensured a sub-20-win season. However, the Bruins (16-12) have a puncher’s chance of sweeping their remaining conference schedule.
With upcoming games against Washington, Washington State, and USC, UCLA will look to transform the silver-lining of Saturday’s loss into a strong finish and a deep Pac-12 tournament run.
In March, crazier things have happened.