Tuesday night provided us with a signature Pac-12 matchup, as Arizona went on the road and lost comfortably to UCLA. We had quite a few other matchups, including a Big Ten matchup between two of the top teams in the league, and a huge upset in the SEC. Let’s dive in with the daily roundup.
UCLA runs away from Arizona in Pac-12 signature matchup
This was one of the biggest matchups in the Pac-12 this season, as the league’s best team thus far Arizona went on the road to take on the Pac-12 preseason favorite UCLA. Arizona had a one-game lead over UCLA in the league standings, so this was a game that would have a major impact on who would win the league title. While the matchup was late for most, it was prime time for the West Coasters and the UCLA fans showed up in a sold-out Pauley Pavilion.
The game started out quick, Arizona led 16-14 after the first TV timeout in what was some really high-paced, high-shotmaking start, but the Bruins would start to play their game. The Bruins would hold Arizona to 0 points over the next six minutes and take a somewhat comfortable lead in the game. The Bruins extended the lead up to 15 at 40-25, but Arizona scored the final two baskets to make it a 40-29 lead at the half. The second half started similarly to how the first half went, the Bruins made a couple of baskets to start the half and they were able to extend the lead to 16. While Bennedict Mathurin made shots to keep it interesting, the lead never got within eight as UCLA held on for the 75-59 win against Arizona.
Johnny Juzang was the one who really got things going early on and he alongside Jules Bernard led the Bruins with 15, Cody Riley and Jaime Jaquez also scored in double digits as well. Mathurin had a game-high 16 points but did so on inefficient shooting. The Wildcats shot a season-low 30% shooting from the floor and 25% shooting from deep, which simply put isn’t good enough to win at UCLA. The two teams are now tied at 6-1 in league play, with UCLA owning the tiebreaker thanks to this head-to-head win. The two will meet up next Thursday in Tuscon, which will likely break the tie in the league standings.
Illinois holds off Michigan State without Cockburn
Coming into this game, Illinois announced that Kofi Cockburn (concussion) would miss this game, Andre Curbelo would also miss the game (Covid-19 protocols). The Illini started strong thanks to Trent Frazier, who was running the show at the point, as well as knocking down shots and defending. The lead ballooned up to 15, as the Illini lead 42-27 at the 15-minute mark off a Luke Goode three. The Illini lead was still at 13 after Alfonso Plummer’s three with 9:49 left, but then came a major Illinois scoring drought. They scored four points over the next four minutes and scored 0 points in the last five minutes of the game. The Illini still was able to hold onto a 56-54 lead going into the final play thanks to poor shooting from Michigan State, yet Malik Hall got fouled with a chance to tie the game. Hall missed the first, made the second and the game was over as the Illini held on for a 56-55 win. This is a win that could go a long way towards winning a league title, to not have their best player and still beat one of the top teams in the Big Ten is huge for Illinois.
Georgia stuns Alabama
Georgia has been the worst team in the SEC all season, and while Alabama probably wasn’t a true SEC title threat, they were one of the top teams in the league. Of course, that meant that Georgia would beat Alabama in one of the more stunning results of the season, as they won 82-76. Aaron Cook had a nice 15 point performance, while four Bulldogs scored in double digits. This Georgia team simply is not good, so Alabama losing is just brutal and will likely be a seed line loss for the Tide. When you compare that to Auburn avoiding a loss to Missouri among others, Alabama being the one team to take a stunning loss on Tuesday hurts.
Colorado gets road win at Oregon
While not a Georgia-sized upset, Colorado getting a road win at Oregon was a really big win for the Colorado Buffaloes. Having missed upset opportunities against USC and UCLA, the Buffaloes got a huge road win at Oregon. The Ducks lead by double-digits but Colorado came back in the second half and took the lead going down the stretch. Jabari Walker had a big 24 point, 11 rebound performance which was key in the Buffaloes pulling out the victory. Oregon still should be a Tournament team, but this loss moves them closer to the bubble which is less than ideal.
Oscar Tshiebwe’s 21 point, 22 rebound performance leads Kentucky past Mississippi State
Kentucky was playing without TyTy Washington and that was going to be an issue, but the Wildcats were still clear favorites to win the game. The Wildcats held a somewhat big lead throughout the early parts of the game, as they led 53-38 with 12 minutes to go, but the Bulldogs responded. Iverson Molinar started heating up, Shakeel Moore hit a couple of shots and they tied the game late and forced overtime. Overtime was the Kellan Grady game, he hit the first shot in overtime, then two big threes to open up an insurmountable six-point lead. The most impressive part of this game was Oscar Tshiebwe who had a 21 point, 22 performance as he continues to be in the mix for National Player of the year.