[Updated: 2/25/12, 11:30pm]
Here’s the Scoop — Bruins take Arizona all the way down to the wire, but Anderson misses the cone on the potentially game-freezing shot at the buzzer in 65-63 road licking
I scream, you scream, we all scream… at Jerime the Dream. Jerime Anderson had one of the better games of his 4-year Bruin stint on Saturday, tying his career-high of 20 Points (despite TWO total AIRBALLS), but he couldn’t get the Points that really mattered, as his clanker as time expired gave Arizona a 65-63 victory. Anderson led the Bruins with 10 Points at Halftime, as he and Travis Wear were the only two Bruins doing anything Offensively. With Josh Smith hampered by foul trouble, and with Tyler Lamb and Lazeric Jones almost non-existent on the Offensive end, the honus fell on Anderson and T. Wear to pick up the slack. Anderson had success driving to the hoop against the activity-but-no-achievement Wildcat Defense, while Wear was efficient with second-chance Points and an inside game that exploited the ‘Cats lack of size. The two of them kept the Bruins in it, as UCLA trailed by only 1 at the break.
But coming into this game, UCLA was 1-10 in games that they trailed at Halftime, and the trend continued on Saturday, although the collapse did not happen immediately after Intermission. The Bruins outplayed U of A for much of the second half, actually taking a 6-Point lead halfway through it. Both teams played very sloppy ball throughout, but UCLA’s Defense forced Arizona into a huge drought, as the Cats were shooting about 30% for the bulk of the second half. But the Wildcats pulled it together with help from Kyle Fogg and the raucous crowd, and as the Refs kept sending Arizona to the Line, from where they made something like 15 straight free throws during one stretch.
The Wildcats got the lead late in the game, and it looked like they would pull away, but the Bruins didn’t quit. UCLA got in striking range, but, in the final minute, a fumble out of bounds by Lamb — whose rejuvenated Offense had injected life into UCLA late in the game — made it tougher. Arizona missed several Free Throws in the final seconds to give the Bruins hope, and Smith and Anderson sank all four of theirs to send it down to the final possession. But as the clock clicked down with the Bruins down by 2, Anderson took the game into his own hands. With no time outs left to set up a play, the Bruins didn’t run one at all. Instead, Jerime tried to do it himself, and his midrange jumper wasn’t close, and the game was over.
The Bruins blew a chance to get closer to a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tounament, and it now looks like they will have to win 4 straight games in four consecutive days, in order to participate in March Madness. So… an NIT appearance is looking more and more likely.