Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats Flirted With Dubious McKale Center History Against UC Davis

Arizona was down by one point to a 3-7 team from UC Davis with 1:02 minute left when the ball left Justin Coleman’s hand on the 3-point shot Saturday night.

As the ball went up, it went through some heavy air.

The weight of it carried more than taking the lead against a team Arizona should have beaten by double-digits. It also was a shot against having one of the more embarrassing losses in Arizona history at McKale Center.

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The shot was a swish, which rhymes with “wish.” And that’s what Arizona’s fans were doing plenty of in the waning seconds against the Aggies, who have a pesky guard in T.J. Shorts II who scored 25 points.

Shorts was unable to work his magic for UC Davis in the end with the Aggies unable to make a couple of shots. Shorts’ layup attempt was off the mark over the outstretched arms of Chase Jeter with 53 seconds left and Rogers Pritup threw up an airball from beyond the arc at the buzzer.

Instead of a cheer, the sparse amount of people left in McKale Center should have let out a huge sigh of relief.

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Only three times in the history of McKale Center — which had its first game Feb. 1, 1973 — has Arizona lost to a non-conference team with a losing record at the time of the game.

UC Davis came a Coleman 3-pointer from becoming the fourth opponent and the first since Utah (in the WAC at the time) came to Tucson 0-2 and beat a 20th-ranked Arizona team 68-67 on Dec. 6, 1986.


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That dubious loss to the Utes was the season in which Arizona finished 18-12 when Steve Kerr sat out after suffering a serious knee injury while playing for Lute Olson with Team USA in the 1986 World Championships in Madrid, Spain.

The other times Arizona has lost to a losing non-conference team at McKale Center included a 2-5 Kansas team — yes, the Jayhawks — beating the Wildcats 78-60 on New Year’s Eve 1979 and 1-2 Idaho State topping Arizona 87-82 on Dec. 12, 1975.

Twice, a non-conference team with a .500 record has beaten Arizona at McKale Center — New Mexico at 5-5 beat the third-ranked Wildcats 70-68 on Dec. 21, 1999, and Pan American (coached by Lon Kruger) was 1-1 when it defeated Arizona 65-60 on Dec. 10, 1983.

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