Arizona Basketball

Arizona wins Pac-12 title with blowout win over UCLA; UW helps by knocking off WSU

And just like that Arizona is the Pac-12 Conference regular season champion.

Everything – including shots – fell into place for the No. 5 Wildcats in Pauley Pavilion and other parts in the west. First, Arizona easily handled host UCLA, 88-65, in Westwood.

Then in Pullman, Washington, the University of Washington, a team down and out this season, found a way to beat rival Washington State, opening the door for Arizona’s Pac12 regular season title.

Apparently, coach Tommy Lloyd got drenched by the players in the locker room in celebration. Arizona is 24-6 overall and 15-4 in Pac-12 play.

“I wasn’t expecting that or wanting that,” Lloyd said in his postgame comments on his radio show. “I’m thankful to coach Hopkins at Washington for helping us out a little bit.”

Apparently, or as Lloyd explained it, the players knew they had won the title by game’s end, given they knew the score of the UW-WSU game, but Lloyd did not.

“I was just so focused to finish the game well,” Lloyd said. “It means a lot. We were able to come here and win it in LA,”
It’s Arizona’s 18th regular season Pac-12 title and second in three years under Tommy Lloyd.

What a way to say goodbye to the Pac-12 – with another regular-season title.

And, Arizona did it in style, or at least with ease in the rout that was never really in doubt.

Once again, it took a team effort – a very good one, again – to make it all happen for Arizona.

Reserves KJ Lewis and Jaden Bradley had major impacts with the former scoring a career-high 18 points and Bradley getting 13. They were part of five Wildcats who scored in double figures as Caleb Love had 17, Pelle Larsson had 12 and Kyle Boswell added 10.

Oumar Ballo had nine points and three rebounds, failing to reach a double-double for the first time in 10 games.

That may have been the only downer for Arizona – if you can call it that – as UA led for most of the game (save for a few seconds) in beating the Bruins for the first time in five tries dating back to 2017.

In reality, the rivalry between the two after all these years went out with a whimper as UCLA was no match for Arizona this season, being swept in the regular season. Thursday night’s blowout was never in question as Arizona found its footing about 10 minutes into the game and never looked back. The game was tied at 11 … then it was over.

“It was a rock-solid effort,” Lloyd said. “That’s what these guys have been doing. We talk about building all the time and keep our freshness, our journey is still building. It’s been fun.”

Arizona has won 11 of 12 games and is still hoping for a possible No. 1 seed in the west, but Tennessee has closed in or has taken over, depending on whose bracket you believe. Still, there is one regular season game to be played (Saturday against USC) and a Pac-12 tournament left.

Arizona cannot afford to falter the rest of the way. It plays USC on Saturday then plays in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament at noon on Thursday.

“SC has got it’s full roster and we expect it to be a battle,” Lloyd said. “It’s going to test our maturity to come out and play well.”

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