Arizona Wildcats Suffer First Loss Of Season


Like the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. The Arizona Wildcats 39-game non-conference winning streak was snapped as they fell to the Rebels of UNLV by a score of 71-67. The Wildcats are 1-8 when playing UNLV on the road.

Arizona got absolutely worked in all facets. It started in the paint for UNLV, where Rashad Vaughn and Christian Wood led the way and dominated. Vaughn finished with 21, meanwhile Wood upped him with 24. Arizona was also outrebounded 46 to 33; 14 offensive boards for UNLV to only seven for Arizona. Forced turnovers and shots by UNLV really put the pressure on Arizona, who could not pull away from the five point lead carried throughout the game.

All Arizona starters finished in double digit scoring, with TJ McConnell leading with 14, Stanley Johnson recording a double-double 13 and 13, and Brandon Ashley closing in on a near double-double with 13 and 9. But Sean Miller didn’t go to his bench throughout the game. Dusan Ristic played a total of four minutes, meanwhile Parker Jackson-Cartwright was on the floor for a total of two minutes. With Rondae Hollis-Jefferson fouling out down the final stretch of the game, it was the starting five who finished out the second half.

There’s always the blame game after a loss. Referees, Stanley Johnson’s missed lay up, missed free throws, there’a always something. But this is a game where UNLV just beat Arizona. Aside from one head shaking foul on Rondae-Hollis Jefferson, Arizona’s fouls were fair. Many people wanted goaltending called on Brandon Ashley’s final shot. Many angles do seem like the defender pokes the ball out of the rim from the bottom, but there are plenty of other angles that show no sign of contact. Regardless, what’s done is done. And then are those who want to blame Stanley Johnson for missing the layup that would have taken the lead with just under 30 seconds to go. But remember, Stanley Johnson is the reason we were 12-0 to that point.

The loss hurts in the L column, but it’s not a conference loss, which is all that matters at the end of the regular season. Now one bigger issue the recruitment of Stephen Zimmerman, the #3 center and and 10th best overall player in the country. The Las Vegas product was in attendance and had to be impressed with UNLV’s big win. As of late, many expect him to stay close to him and chose UNLV.

The frustration of the loss only tells us one thing, our expectations from this team are high. However, it’s just December and this team has a lot of room to grow with three freshman contributing big minutes. By this time last year, the eventual National Champion UConn Huskies already had two losses, we will be fine. As of now, all we can do is look forward. Look forward to taking out all of our frustrations on our next opponent: Arizona State.