Full discloser: seldom do I blame an officiating crew for a loss. The Wildcats did a lot to beat themselves on Thursday night and UCLA executed well at times. Sometimes, though, enough is enough, and this same type of pathetic Pac-12 officiating has gone on for far too long.
Three plays essentially recapped the entire night for the officiating crew.
Play One: Jesse Perry drives through the lane. Replays would show three UCLA defenders made contact with him, including one who hit the back of his head as he attempted his shot. No foul was called and the Bruins recovered the ball.
Play Two: Immediately after Perry was trampled in the lane and no foul was called, the Bruins hurried the ball down the court. Nick Johnson stood still outside of the semi-circle underneath the basket and had a shoulder thrown right into his chest by an oncoming Bruin, sending Johnson flying to the floor. A blocking foul was called on Johnson.
To make the situation even worse, Anthony Stover, who was the one to make the deliberate contact, tossed the ball in Johnson's direction, which is a technical foul, according to the NCAA Division I rule book. Nothing was called. The referees did not even go to the monitor to review the situation.
Play Three: As Arizona cut the lead to two in the final minutes of the game, David Wear gathered the ball on the block. The 6'10 big man was doubled in the post by Solomon Hill and Kyle Fogg. Wear, in an attempt to get out of the double team, swung his elbow and made direct contact with Fogg's face, knocking him to the ground. Wear proceeded to make a half-effort at a layup before beginning to jog down the court. It was an obvious foul to everyone, including the player who committed the foul. Instead, no offensive foul was called and Hill was called for reaching in.
The officiating was completely and absolutely pathetic on Thursday night at the Honda Center. Again, seldom do I put a loss on an officiating crew, but when they give a team absolutely no chance to win a game, it's time to say something. And these were just three of the many questionable decisions made by the officials. Arizona did themselves no favors turning the ball over 15 times and shooting 3-for-16 from behind the arc, but they were robbed of a chance to win by three men with stripes on their shirt.
Bad calls happen. They always have and they always will. But this has gone on for years in the conference and the very worst was on display in Los Angeles.
As for the game itself, UCLA used an early 10-0 run in the first half to propel themselves to a lead they would not give back. Travis Wear led the way with 20 points, while his brother, David Wear, added 14 of his own. Lazeric Jones had a poor shooting night, but ended with 13 points on 16 shot attempts.
The Bruins won 65-58 and improved their record to 8-7 (1-2) while the Wildcats fell to 10-5 (1-1).
Solomon Hill, who ended with 15 points and 11 rebounds, had a big second half as he attempted to will the Wildcats to victory. Jesse Perry scored 13 and Josiah Turner added nine points and four assists as he made his first start in more than a month. Nick Johnson played the worst game of his young career, finishing with two points after numerous poor decisions on the court.
Arizona will face the USC Trojans on Sunday afternoon.
Arizona Desert Swarm gives their take on the game:
Recap: Better shot selection means a 65-58 win for UCLA Bruins against Arizona Wildcats -
Match-up problems posed by the Bruins was the action, and poor shot selection for Arizona was the reaction.