Arizona Basketball

Postgame interviews: Arizona vs. UCLA

Arizona struggled in its last game trying to find a way to stop USC’s offense as the Trojans shot 58 percent from the field and 57 percent from 3-point range, dominating the Wildcats in the second half.

Arizona looked to bounce back Saturday and snap a three-game losing streak to UCLA. That didn’t happen as the Wildcats struggled on defense for the second straight game, giving up 49 percent shooting from the field while allowing guards Tyger Campbell and Juzang Johnny to score a combined 38 points in McKale Center to help capture an 81-76 win over Sean Miller‘s squad and extend the streak to four games. 

The streak is the longest losing streak Arizona has had against UCLA since 2005-09 when the Wildcats lost eight straight to the Bruins.

Arizona guard James Akinjo had his worst game of the season against USC by not scoring a point in 33 minutes on the court, going 0-for-9 from the field. Akinjo completely turned his game around with an efficient 25 points going 8-for-16 from the field and 5-for-5 from the free-throw line. He also had eight assists and just one turnover.

The Wildcats also received another solid game from freshman Azuolas Tubelis, who scored 15 points going 6 of 12 from the field while collecting eight rebounds during his 30 minutes.

Guard Jemarl Baker Jr. had another rough game as he has been dealing with some ankle problems going back to when he tweaked his ankle against Washington State. Against UCLA, he finished with four points and two assists during a limited 23 minutes.

Miller explained that Baker suffered an injury during the game to one of his hands, not giving any details as to if it was the dominant hand. However, he did state that the severity of the injury would be evaluated on Monday. He mentioned the possibility of the hand being broken.

Here are Akinjo and freshman Ben Mathurin talking about the team’s performance and how UCLA was able to get things going on offense:

Arizona excelled in critical areas with cutting down on turnovers (nine), creating offense for other players on the team with 15 assists and getting 20 points from its bench. However, the Wildcats had significant defensive issues and allowed UCLA to consistently get to the line where the Bruins went 27 of 32, giving them the edge in the game.

Here’s Miller talking about his team’s problems against UCLA and giving insight into why those problems are occurring:

FOLLOW TROY HUTCHISON ON TWITTER! writer Troy Hutchison hails from Tucson and is a lifelong Arizona Wildcats follower. He has been involved in sports journalism over the last two years while taking communications courses at Pima Community College.

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