TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Kyle Fogg grabbed his framed jersey, held it over his head and walked to his place near midcourt. A full house of red-clad fans roaring inside McKale Center, he broke into a huge grin as he stood next to the rest of Arizona's seniors. Just as he had done so many times in his senior season, Fogg had carried his team to a victory with defense and clutch shooting. Doing it in his final home game, with so much still on the line, that made it even sweeter.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Kyle Fogg grabbed his framed jersey, held it over his head and walked to his place near midcourt. A full house of red-clad fans roaring inside McKale Center, he broke into a huge grin as he stood next to the rest of Arizona's seniors.
Just as he had done so many times in his senior season, Fogg had carried his team to a victory with defense and clutch shooting. Doing it in his final home game, with so much still on the line, that made it even sweeter.
Fogg hit a big 3-pointer while scoring 16 of his 20 points in the second half and hounded UCLA's Lazeric Jones into a horrible shooting day, helping Arizona hold on to beat UCLA 65-63 on Saturday.
"I wanted to go out of here with a win — I'm never going to play here again," Fogg said.
Hoping to stay in line for at least an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, Arizona (21-9, 12-5 Pac-12) struggled against UCLA's lengthy front line, had trouble getting shots to go in until late and had to slug it out in a sometimes ugly game against the middle-of-the-pack Bruins.
The Wildcats' upperclassmen made sure it didn't end in disappointment.
Perry had 12 points in the second half and had eight rebounds. Junior Solomon Hill had 13 points and teamed with Perry to keep numerous possessions alive with relentlessness on the offensive glass, particularly in the second half.
Fogg played his usual in-your-jersey defense, holding Jones to two points on 1-of-12 shooting, hit a 3-pointer with 53 seconds left to put Arizona up six and grabbed nine rebounds. OK, so he missed two big free throws in the closing seconds, but the Wildcats pulled it out, sending the seniors off with a memory they'll never forget.
"This team, more than any other team I've been a part of, has been a function of seniors really just leading and playing exceptional at the end," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "I think it makes us all feel good to see these guys kind of finish off what they started a long time ago."
UCLA (16-13, 9-7) led midway through the second half and managed to stay close until the end despite Jones' shooting woes and center Joshua Smith's foul trouble.
Jerime Anderson picked up the load with Jones unable to get anything to fall, scoring 20 points. Travis Wear did his best to fill the hefty shoes of Smith, getting 13 points and seven rebounds. Tyler Lamb added 11 points, including a banked-in 3-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer that seemed to give the Bruins momentum in the second half.
They just couldn't finish it off, even after Arizona missed 4 of 6 free throws in the final 23 seconds. Anderson had the last shot at the buzzer, but his jumper sailed long.
"The outcome of tonight's game was really tough," Wear said. "We were able to maintain the lead throughout almost the entire game and we weren't even playing at our best. The loss really hurts."
Two of the conference's traditional powers came into the game needing wins.
Arizona was left with a slim margin for error after an up-and-down season.
A loss to Washington last weekend left the Wildcats two games out of first in the Pac-12, their chances of repeating as conference champions barely dangling.
Arizona followed that up with a resounding win over USC on Thursday, keeping the door open for at least an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament if it doesn't win the Pac-12 tournament. Of course, the Trojans are last in the Pac-12, so it was more of a don't-screw-it-up game for the Wildcats.
UCLA was looking for something positive at the end of a disappointing season, its only hope at the NCAAs being to win the conference tournament.
The preseason co-favorites to win the Pac-12, the Bruins got off to a miserable start and never really recovered, pretty much out of the conference race since mid-January.
UCLA won its first game of this desert road trip, knocking off Arizona State 66-57 behind Jones' 20 points.
Past matchups between these Pac-12 powers were normally blink-and-you'll-miss games, filled with alley-oops and fast-break dunks.
This one played out more like an instructional video on half-court basketball, the teams walking it up and scoring intermittently, not in bunches.
The Bruins struggled with their shooting touch at times, launching at least five airballs, while Jones was 0-for-4 in the half. Smith played just four minutes after tweaking his back in practice on Friday and picking up three fouls trying to guard the quicker Perry.
The Wildcats had a couple of lengthy stretches without a field goal and had some careless turnovers in the early going, including a double-dribble by Angelo Chol that caused Miller to punch the scorer's table behind him.
Arizona led 27-26 after the first half and the bogged-down style didn't change in the second, with each team opening with an airball in a bruising game.
"Just a war," Miller said.
UCLA started to hit a few shots, building a six-point lead midway through, but Arizona wouldn't go away despite another long stretch without a field goal, staying within reach behind the relentlessness of Hill and Perry, who battled for offensive rebounds to keep possessions alive.
Fogg took it from there, dropping in a 3-pointer and repeatedly got inside to draw fouls, then hit his 3-pointer with just under a minute left.
Lamb followed with a jumper and UCLA pulled within 63-61 on two free throws by Smith with 12 seconds left. Fogg made just 2 of 4 free throws after that to give the Bruins a final shot, but they couldn't convert, leading to another tough-to-take loss.
"We've been searching the whole year for consistency," Anderson said. "It's tough to try to win on the road."
Especially with players like Fogg, Perry and Hill on the other side.