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March 8, 2012

Bruins get downed by the Cats

LOS ANGELES (AP) Solomon Hill scored 25 points and Arizona defeated UCLA despite going 8 minutes without a field goal in the second half of a 66-58 quarterfinal victory in the Pac-12 tournament on Thursday.

The fourth-seeded Wildcats (22-10) were 24 of 27 from the free-throw line in the second half, and they needed most of those when their shooting went cold and the Bruins briefly took the lead. Jesse Perry added 16 points and Kyle Fogg scored 13. For the game, the team went 31 of 36 from the line, with Perry making 12 of 13 and Hill 12 of 14. Hill and Perry had 12 rebounds each.

Arizona, seeking its first tournament title since 2002, advanced to Friday's semifinals against ninth-seeded Oregon State, which upset top-seeded Washington 86-84 earlier at Staples Center.

The fifth-seeded Bruins (19-14) were led by guards Lazeric Jones with 17 points and Jerime Anderson with 14.

UCLA played the final 11:03 without big man Joshua Smith, who fouled out after totaling seven points and three rebounds. Travis Wear, who had 10 points and six rebounds, fouled out for the first time this season with 2:52 remaining.

The loss snapped UCLA's three-game winning streak and all but guaranteed the Bruins will miss the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years.

Fogg's 3-pointer to open the second half stretched Arizona's lead to nine points, and the Wildcats led by seven when the Bruins made their big push with 10 minutes left. Anderson led a 15-8 run with seven points, while Tyler Lamb's steal and layup gave UCLA its first lead, 46-45, since the game's opening minutes.

The teams traded baskets during a furious up-and-down sprint, capped by Anderson's 3-pointer that tied it at 51 with 6:16 to play.

Arizona briefly lost its shooting touch again, but the Wildcats' defense came up with big stops, with Fogg blocking Jones and Travis Wear picking up his fourth foul. The Wildcats kept going to the line and sinking free throws, driving the final dagger into UCLA's season of dysfunction that included top player Reeves Nelson getting kicked off the team and an unflattering portrayal of the vaunted program in a Sports Illustrated story last week.

The Bruins were the ones held to a lone field goal over the final 6:16.

The Wildcats improved to 2-3 against UCLA in conference tournament games, while their 20 victories and four titles are tops in the tourney's history.

Arizona led virtually the entire first half, with its largest lead of 10 points coming from a 14-5 run that included 3-pointers by Fogg and Hill. Jones took an elbow to the face and briefly went to the bench with a bloody nose. He returned to hit a 3-pointer during a 12-8 spurt that left UCLA trailing 29-23 at halftime.

Both teams combined for 20 turnovers in the sloppy half, when they were even on the boards and in steals. The Bruins were held to 34 percent field-goal shooting, with Arizona's defense forcing them into taking off-balance shots with only a few seconds left on the shot clock. The Wildcats finished with 19 turnovers and the Bruins had 13.



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