The duel in the desert was to be a matchup for sole possession of second place in the conference. Unfortunately Reeves Nelson was the only one who showed any interest in it. The rest of the team was a collective no show on both ends of the floor. The only thing that keeps me from including Nelson in that defensive failure category for his and Anthony Stover's showing against Derrick Williams is that there honestly isn't much anyone is going to do against Williams when he's on. He's projected to be a lottery pick for a reason. Nevertheless the sloppy play (11 first half turnovers, 18 overall) and shoddy defense throughout the game is simply a sickening display for a team with so much to play for, and Arizona predictably pounded the Bruins 85-74 (box score).
Nelson's 17 first half points on perfect 7-7 shooting were enough to mask our deficiencies early. Arizona became a jumpshooting team of their own choosing for a ten minute stretch in the first half that drastically lowered their overall shooting percentage after starting out pounding the ball inside. The Bruin D was never particularly good though, and that showed when Williams and Co. triggered a 26-13 burst at the start of the second period on a barrage of 3 pointers and layups to put the Bruins down 18 and leave them essentially playing for pride. The Wildcats went from shooting in the low 30's to the mid 50's and the rout was on.
Already having possibly one of the worst games of his career, Lazeric Jones' elbow drew a technical foul, the frustration for UCLA boiled over, and rather than buckle down and fight through adversity, the Bruins appeared to fold up and quit on national TV. Seeing as how the Bruins couldn't summon up enough effort and pride to put up a fight in the desert, I suppose I'm free to exercise my right to do likewise. This team better sack up and get a win in Tempe after this embarrassing performance. I leave you with a few (too many) examples of our defensive failure: