Thursday, March 4, 2010
UCLA-Arizona: Sights and sounds
By Blair Angulo
TUCSON -- If UCLA intended on building momentum heading into next weekend's Pacific 10 Conference tournament, it was in a position to do so.
But the Bruins were unable to hold off a furious Arizona comeback, spoiling a 14-point lead before falling 78-73 in front of a raucous crowd of 14,407 at McKale Center.
Relive the collapse here with our running diary (all times are local).
- 7:40 -- It's hard not to notice Reeves Nelson sitting courtside as his teammates warm up before tip-off. He was slated to return to the lineup tonight after missing UCLA's two games against the Oregon schools last weekend while recovering from left eye surgery. Nelson looks as sad as a player can look -- slouched forward, right hand on his cheek -- while the other Bruins players shoot from the perimeter.
- 8:04 -- Arizona's Jamelle Horne walked over to Nelson, said something and then shook his head as he walked away. Nelson, whose badly bruised right eye is clearly visible from anywhere in the arena, stared back and shrugged, almost as if to say, "I know."
- 8:24 -- Less than seven minutes until tip-off and the place is noticeably emptier than it was when the two teams met here on Valentine's Day last year.
- 8:33 -- Dear pregame introduction sound coordinator, a little more bass, please? Laptops on press row are rattling as Arizona is introduced to in a pregame routine that seems perfectly suited for an NBA game.
- 8:36 -- Freshman Brendan Lane gets the start with Malcolm Lee, Michael Roll, Tyler Honeycutt and Nikola Dragovic. Honeycutt wins the jump ball and we're under way... and there's an immediate offensive foul on Roll. Bad start for the Bruins.
- 8:39 -- Lee has UCLA's first two buckets -- both from short range. Might be a sign of good things to come for coach Ben Howland's squad.
- 8:42 -- The Bruins have four baskets, all coming within four feet of the hoop.
- 8:44 -- Arizona's Derrick Williams follows a nasty, one-handed block on Lane with a monster dunk on the other end to bring the entire arena to its feet. We head to the first media timeout with UCLA up 14-7. Good offensive action early for the Bruins, who aren't settling for long-range jumpers.
- 8:51 -- This is my default kiss cam entry. Arizona fan, perhaps in his mid-50s, kisses what first appears to be his wife. Then proceeds to kiss three more women in nearby seats. That must have been planned, right? Back to the game...
- 8:55 -- Guard Mike Moser, a former Arizona pledge who decommitted after coach Lute Olson resigned, checks into the game.
- 8:57 -- Moser is called for a blocking foul on Williams, which Howland can't believe. Moser heads back to the bench.
- 9:04 -- Just noticed sophomore center J'mison Morgan, who was suspended Wednesday for violating an unspecified team rule, is not sitting with the team.
- 9:09 -- Roll sinks a 3-pointer from the right wing, prompting Arizona coach Sean Miller to call a timeout. Roll pumps his fist and lets out an uncharacteristic yell. Dragovic, not far behind from Roll, lets out a roar too. UCLA leads 28-20.
- 9:27 -- UCLA leads 39-29 at the half after strong defense. Roll and Lee have 11 points each.
- 9:34 -- This is my default wiener dog race update. Yes, the crowd was treated to a wiener dog race at center court during halftime. Arizona fans were into it, especially after the half the Wildcats had.
- 9:52 -- Williams picks up his fourth foul, which is HUGE. He is having his way with Lane on both ends. Wise, Horne and Kyle Fogg must step up for Wildcats.
- 9:58 -- Wise nails a 3-pointer to trim UCLA's lead to nine. "U of A! U of A!" chants begin... Miller has brought Williams back onto the floor with four fouls. Risky move.
- 10:03 -- Howland calls a full timeout after Jerime Anderson airballs a 3-point attempt. Wildcats within eight with a bit over 12 minutes remaining in this one. Student waving "Bruise the Bruins" sign going crazy next to the mascot, Wilbur the Wildcat.
- 10:07 -- A team spokesman ran over to the reporters' table to say Lee was cramping. The sophomore guard has had trouble with hydration this season. Where are the electrolytes? Insert Moser.
- 10:11 -- Fogg has drained three shots from beyond the arc to make this a game. UCLA's lead down to five, Howland calls timeout. Lee holding Gatorade bottle as he waits to check back in.
- 10:18 -- Arizona guard Lamont Jones sinks two free throws to tie it at 58 with more than seven minutes left. Exciting game between two 8-8 teams.
- 10:23 -- The officials have gone to the monitors for the third time. The student section begins chant directed at the referees after UCLA is awarded the basketball. We'll leave it at that.
- 10:30 -- Fogg gives Arizona its first lead of the night with two free throws. Dragovic misses gimme layup. Wise nails open 3-pointer on the other end. Howland calls timeout. The sequence pretty much sums up the Bruins' season.
- 10:37 -- Honeycutt tips in a Lee miss to pull UCLA within two with 57 seconds left. Howland calls his final timeout immediately. Mustafa Abdul-Hamid on the floor after Lane fouls out.
- 10:39 -- Wise finds Jones for an easy bucket inside, but Dragovic respns with a bank shot.
- 10:40 -- Dragovic is called for an intentional foul on Williams. "We're not at a concert," yells a fan sitting behind press row. Williams nails both at the line to give Wildcats a four-point lead with 12.3 remaining. Wise sinks two more free throws for Arizona.
- 10:42 -- Dragovic hits a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to three, but it might be too late. Dragovic was 6-for-18 on the night. Wise sinks two more free throws to seal the game.