Oct. 27, 2011
Seattle Pacific downed Arizona, 69-68, in an exhibition game Thursday in McKale Center.
It was Arizona's first loss in an exhibition game since an 81-80 loss to Athletes in Action on Nov. 19, 1984.
Seattle Pacific led comfortably throughout the night, with its lead hovering around 12 points until the Wildcats mounted a comeback, including a 10-0 run beginning at the 6:58 mark in the second half.
The run resulted in a one-point lead for Arizona. The teams traded baskets until SPU reeled off six points in a row to take a four-point lead with 1:26 remaining.
The Wildcats missed two free throws in the final minute, but a bucket by Nick Johnson with nine seconds left, and a UA steal off the subsequent in-bounds play put Arizona in a position to win the game with a final shot by Johnson, but the shot missed and SPU pulled off the upset.
"I have to give Seattle Pacific a lot of credit," said head coach Sean Miller. "When they wanted a basket, they went inside. When they wanted a three, they took the shot."
Offensively, Arizona was relatively efficient, shooting 48% from the field with only 12 turnovers. However, its defensive deficiencies were exposed by the Division II club, and the Falcons dominated on the glass, posting a 29-20 edge in that category, including a 10-6 advantage in offensive boards.
Eight Wildcats scored in the game, led by Nick Johnson with 18.
Nick Johnson scored 15 in the second half, connecting on 3-of-4 three pointers. The one miss was the potential game winner as time expired.
Solomon Hill was Arizona's leading rebounder with six. The junior added 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
The Cats allowed SPU to shoot 53% from the field, 33% from three-point range and the Falcons were 12-of-13 from the stripe, including six consecutive down the stretch.
Junior Jobi Wall led the Falcons with 24 points, half of which came from beyond the arc.
"I am really proud of the way our team stepped up and played hard," said Seattle Pacific head coach Ryan Looney. "Our approach regardless of who we are playing is to get better and I think we are walking out a better team than we came in."
Fifty-eight percent shooting in the first half helped Seattle Pacific lead comfortably throughout a sloppy first half, and take a 37-29 lead into the break.
The teams combined for 17 turnovers and 21 personal fouls in the half. Arizona hit only nine field goals, while shooting just 39% from the field.