Predictably on a game in this rivalry there is more national media attention with some questionable takes but really the Kyle Anderson quote above sums up the news stories on the game. Steve Alford's version was:
"I thought we tried. I told the team that. At Missouri, we did a good job in the first half, and in the second half they made a run at us and we could never catch them. We didn't have the same kind of intensity then. And then we played Duke in Madison Square Garden, and the last six minutes of the game we didn't have near the fight we had tonight when we were down 13. I liked our fight tonight. I've seen strides in different areas from this basketball team. Our young guys played well, and we had quality minutes from the bench."
Despite UCLA's "strides" this is a loss.
Arizona closed it out, though. And despite "strides," as Alford called them, UCLA was left winless in its big matchups this year.
"Being down to a very good team 10 or 12 with not so much time left, I thought we did a very good job of fighting," UCLA's Kyle Anderson said.
"In previous losses, we had games we would shut down (when we were) down 12 with four (minutes) left. We just have to put it together in the end."
. . .Asked about the frustration of losing a winnable game, Anderson conceded.
"Yeah, especially going up one down the stretch," Anderson said. "We did all we could. I'm not one for moral victories, but we did fight hard."
An Arizona paper gave the Wildcat point of view:
For about the first 35 minutes of the game, the Wildcats played as well as they have this season defensively. But Miller wasn't wild about the fact that UCLA grabbed 10 offensive rebounds in the first half, and 16 for the game.
Overall, UA outrebounded UCLA only 37-26, well under the plus-12.0 averaging rebounding margin the Wildcats entered the game with.
"I thought we defended UCLA really good," Miller said. "The one thing I give them credit for is they really hurt us on the offensive glass. That was a surprise to us and something we've done very well. It isn't necessarily a strength of theirs but tonight it was.
More on the moral victory side and we now have the stat that tells if the offense-first Bruins are going to win (FG%):
However, the Bruins did score more than any other team has against Arizona this season. Michigan had 70 last month, but on 50 percent shooting. UCLA's 40-percent performance from the field tied for its second-worst mark of the season.
It shot worse against Missouri (37.7 percent) and the same against Duke. In 12 wins this season, UCLA has not finished below 46 percent, and only twice shot below 49.2 percent.
One thing different from the other bad shooting games were the fans. The UCLA crowd definitely gave the players a lift. Alford did give a nice shout out to the fans:
"This is the best atmosphere we've been in to date. We really appreciate the fans. I thought the students were terrific and our overall fan base was terrific. There was volume and intensity that was good to see. The fans know this is an entertaining team. They play hard, and they play smart. We didn't get beat by an average team because we threw the ball all over the place. We had nine turnovers. We got a lot of energy from the crowd, and that was very good.
We at BN do not believe in "moral victories" but do appreciate how hard the kids played. IMO the best news of the night was Tony Parker's play on offense in the first half. Tony's improvement is visible. For that Tony gets the last (funny) word.
Tony Parker came through with the quote of the night. Asked if he was starstruck by the dozens of NBA luminaries in attendance - Phil Jackson, Doc Rivers, Mitch Kupchak, etc. - he said no. However ...
"Now, if Halle Berry were in the stands, I might be starstruck."