Nothing has come easily this season for the Arizona Wildcats, so they sent their five seniors out in their regular-season home finale on a fitting note today.
The Wildcats hung on for a 65-63 win over UCLA at McKale Center with a late 10-2 run, despite shooting just 37.5 percent from the field, committing 15 turnovers and being outrebounded by five.
What’s more, Arizona nearly gave away a six-point lead they had with 53 seconds left after Kyle Fogg hit a three-pointer.
Fogg missed 2 of 4 free throws in the final 12 seconds and Solomon Hill missed both of his with 23 seconds left, giving UCLA a chance to win or tie the game but the Bruins could not capitalize.
The win moved Arizona to 21-9 overall and 12-5, with a week off before its final regular-season game on March 4 at ASU.
UCLA dropped to 16-13 and 9-7.
In their final home regular-season game, Fogg and center Jesse Perry led the Wildcats. Fogg had 20 points and nine rebounds, while Perry had 16 points and eight rebounds.
UA closed out the Bruins by going on a 10-2 run late in the second half, taking a 60-55 lead with two minutes to go.
The Wildcats had a three-point lead entering the final minute before Fogg hit his three-pointer with 53 seconds to go to put the Wildcats ahead 63-57. Tyler Lamb then scored for UCLA to make it 63-59 and UCLA called timeout.
Lamb lost the ball out of bounds with 30 seconds left, and UCLA began fouling. But After Hill missed both free throws he took with 23 and, after Josh Smith made two for UCLA with 12 seconds left, the Wildcats led just 63-61 with 12 seconds left.
UCLA's Jerime Anderson made two free throws with 10 seconds left to cut UA's lead to just 64-65, but Fogg hit 1 of 2 free throws with 7.8 seconds left and the Anderson missed a final jumper at the buzzer.
Arizona took a 54-53 lead into the final four minutes after Fogg hit 6 of 7 free throws over a two minute span late in the second half.
Fogg picked up a foul from Anderson while driving the baseline past Smith and had a chance to tie the game with the free throw. He missed, leaving the game at 53-52, but picked up another foul from Tyler Lamb and shot two free throws that gave UA a 54-53 lead.
UCLA led 47-44 with 7:28 left.
Arizona had calleda timeout trailing 45-39 with 10:04 left in the game. UA is shooting 3 for 11 from the field in the half.
Over the first eight minutes of the second half, the Wildcats shot just 2 for 7 from the field and had five turnovers.
But they never had to worry much about UCLA center Josh Smith, who picked up his fourth foul with 12:34 left.
Arizona coach Sean Miller was whistled for a technical foul with 13:35 left and the Bruins scored three points afterward – one on a technical free throw by Travis Wear and two on a basket from Jerime Anderson.
Nick Johnson started the second half in place of Brendon Lavender.
In the first half, Arizona managed to take a 27-26 halftime lead despite shooting just 32 percent from the field, the Arizona Wildcats managed to take a 27-26 halftime lead over UCLA today at McKale Center.
The Wildcats entered the final minute ahead by two, but David Wear made 1 of 2 free throws to cut the UA lead to 27-26 and Anthony Stover blocked a shot from UA’s Solomon Hill with 28 seconds left and a final UCLA possession did not produce a score.
Hill led the Wildcats with nine points in the half while Jerime Anderson had 10 points for UCLA and Travis Wear had nine points and six rebounds.
UA senior guards Kyle Fogg and Brendon Lavender, playing their final regular-season home game of their careers, struggled from the field. Fogg hit just 1 of 7 shots and Lavender was 1 for 4.
Lavender hit his first three-pointer of the game with 4:20 left to give UA a 21-20 lead but UCLA’s Jerime Anderson gave the Bruins a 22-21 lead entering the final media timeout of the half (3:08).
Earlier, Angelo Chol missed a bank shot and Travis Wear scored on the other end to tie the game at 18 with 5:07 left.
UCLA’ 300-pounder Josh Smith was a limited factor in the first half, picking up his third foul with 6:31 left in first half.
Smith came in the game with 17:17 left and UA responded by inserting seldom-used center Alex Jacobson.
Jacobson quickly fouled Smith, but Smith picked up a defensive foul on Josiah Turner on the next play and had his second after less than four minutes on the floor.
Still, the Bruins took early leads of 8-4 and 10-9, outrebounding the Wildcats 9-4 over the first eight minutes of the game.
Lavender received his second straight start in what is the final regular-season home game for Lavender and UA’s other four seniors, with Nick Johnson coming off the bench.
On Thursday, Lavender started in place of Josiah Turner.