Four points. That was the only thing separating the UCLA basketball team from taking down the #1 team in the nation, the Arizona Wildcats. Four points separates two teams who are at the top of the Pac-12. Four points is what defines this UCLA basketball team from realizing that they, not only will be, but are a good, talented team. Four points is what saved Arizona, beating UCLA 79-75.
But really, the only loser here is the Pac-12 because there will not be another scheduled meeting between these two in this conference season.
So as it was, Pauley Pavilion saw the stars come out for the only meeting between these two traditional powerhouses. Former Bruins and Wildcats came out to witness one of the best games UCLA has played this year. Even the Zen Master and the High Commander came out for a look at this game.
The best picture of Phil Jackson and John Lithgow from last night’s UCLA-Arizona game. pic.twitter.com/hKN4eORbc1
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) January 10, 2014
This was like no game UCLA has played, but it is the type of game you can guarantee they will continue to play. One of the keys to this tough game is the fact that UCLA finally stepped up and grabbed some rebounds. Arizona barely won the battle of the boards, 37-36. In the first half alone, the Bruins pulled down 10 offensive boards.
Tony Parker, who has really been getting his game going lately, stepped up again as he finished with 10 points and 8 rebounds (five were offensive). Still coming off the bench, Parker made his presence felt every chance he could. His big body was able to get in the paint, and at the least, disrupt Arizona’s highly-touted inside game.
Along with Parker, Kyle Anderson (16), Jordan Adams (12) and Bryce Alford (12) all scored in double-digits. The offensive threat was there and the Bruins took it to the Wildcats all game long.
Arizona was able to pull ahead in the second half and lead most of the rest of the game, but the Bruins would not go away. Similarly to what the Bruins did against Alabama, they fought until the end. UCLA was able to take a 70-69 lead with just over a minute and a half left in the game and even pulled to within two with 12 seconds left. Arizona’s big guys were able to finish the game and seal their 16-0 start.
The Bruins, who are now 12-3, were not able to get a whole lot to fall in the final minute. For the game, they shot 40% from the field, which did not help their cause.
Too bad they do not get a chance to avenge this loss. Oh well, at least there is the Pac-12 tournament.