No. 7 Arizona hopes to fix cold shooting in rematch with No. 3 UCLA
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While No. 7 Arizona is trying to restore its high-scoring offense, No. 3 UCLA will attempt to continue its dominance defensively when the teams meet for the second time in nine days Thursday at Tucson, Ariz.
The Wildcats (17-2, 7-1 Pac-12) lead the Pac-12 scoring at 86.0 points per game but they have averaged 63 points in their last two games, including a 75-59 loss at UCLA last week.
Arizona has made 31.3 percent of its field goal attempts in its last two games, including a 67-56 win over visiting Arizona State on Saturday, after hitting 49.9 percent before that.
After shooting 30.7 percent in the loss at UCLA -- its lowest rate in nearly two years -- Arizona made only 32.2 percent (including a 3-of-23 performance from 3-point range) in the win over the Sun Devils.
It was the first time Arizona has shot below 33 percent in consecutive games since November 2004.
"It just seems like we've kind of lost our flow offensively a little bit and maybe we aren't making some shots that we hit early," Arizona first-year coach Tommy Lloyd said. "Then maybe you have some guys questioning themselves a little bit, which is natural.
"So we've got to do a great job as a staff at building them back up, and they've got to do a great job as individuals of just making sure that they're keeping their confidence at a high level."
UCLA (16-2, 8-1) held Arizona, California and Stanford to below 60 points in the three games scheduled in five days at Pauley Pavilion last week.
The Bruins' full-court press in Saturday's 66-43 win over Stanford forced the Cardinal into 14 turnovers by halftime. They finished with 22.
"When guys are defending because they want to, when guys are trying to tip passes because they want to, when guys are going after loose balls not because I'm making them, you can tell when a team's just trying to win at all costs," UCLA coach Mick Cronin said.
The status of UCLA standouts Johnny Juzang (COVID-19 protocol), reserve Jaylen Clark (concussion protocol) and Jaime Jaquez Jr. (ankle) is questionable heading into the game with Arizona.
Juzang, UCLA's leading scorer at 18.1 points per game, and Clark (6.0 points, 4.1 rebounds a game) did not play against California and Stanford. Jaquez sat out most of the Stanford game.
Arizona's Bennedict Mathurin and Kerr Kriisa will look to bounce back after struggling from the field in last week's loss against UCLA.
Mathurin was 5 of 22 from the field and finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. He is the Pac-12's third-leading scorer at 17.2 points per game and is shooting 45.7 percent from the field.
Kriisa missed all 12 of his attempts from the field against UCLA, including an 0-of-9 performance from 3-point range.
In Arizona's win over Arizona State, Kriisa made 2 of 8 from the field -- all from beyond the arc. Mathurin was 5 of 16, including missing all eight of his 3-point attempts, and finished with 14 points against the Sun Devils.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 1, 2022