Brown has half for ages before the game got lousy

Tommy Lloyd has done almost everything perfectly since taking over the University of Arizona basketball program.

Except for one small matter.

He couldn’t keep Terrell Brown Jr. in Tucson.

Still, Lloyd will do just fine without him.

The two crossed paths going in and out during UA’s coaching change.

On Saturday afternoon in front of a near-full crowd, the Wildcats first-year head coach and former Arizona guard faced off, getting acquainted at Alaska Airlines Arena.

Brown showed him why he led the Pac-12 in scoring, collecting 24 points in the first half before finishing with 29, an individual half rarely seen in the former UW gymnasium.

Lloyd, of course, responded with more than enough extremely talented players for his fourth-placed team to succeed, certainly enough to offset Brown’s inspired performance by 20 minutes and leave town with a 92-68 victory.

The match was interesting for a half. Yet Arizona once again reminded everyone why these games were 40 minutes long.

Dalen Terry dunks on the Huskies

Brown, a Wildcat only last season before transferring to the UW, scored all but 12 of his team’s points before intermission. He made his head bowed and drove to the basket magic. He threw one-handed punches. For a while, everything went back.

“His performance was just amazing,” UW coach Mike Hopkins said.

Ten minutes into that first half, the Huskies (13-10 overall, 8-5 Pac-12) even advanced with a 14-point lead at 25-11. Brown was 16.

However, it was too much to ask of this persistent Seattle pointer to maintain his offensive heroism indefinitely, especially without much help from his new teammates against his old ones.

UW went without a field goal from Brown or anyone else for the next 10 minutes, settling for just seven free throws, and Arizona (22-2, 12-1) came back with a vengeance.

“We had no resistance,” Hopkins said.

With 5:05 remaining before the break, the Wildcats rallied and tied the game at 28 on Azuolas Tubelis’ call for a miss from a teammate.

Arizona continued as well.

The Huskies may have Brown in the roster, but they can only dream of one day having someone like a Tubelis, a 6-foot-11, 245-pound Lithuanian who made his way to the interior.

Terrell Brown Jr. greets his former Arizona teammates after the game.

Terrell Brown Jr. salutes his former Arizona teammates.

The Huskies had no response for Tubelis, who finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds. He scored 10 of the Wildcats’ 12 points in a single first half as the game changed hands for good.

At halftime, the visitors led 45-36.

They put this one away shortly after play resumed.

Eight minutes into the second half, the Lloyd’s Wildcats were comfortably ahead by 20 points.

Brown’s scoring tap was effectively slowed to a trickle as the Huskies fell further and further behind. He made 9 of 20 field goal attempts and 11 of 14 free throws.

“In the second half, my shots just weren’t falling,” said the keeper. “I looked good.”

All that was left was Arizona to run out of time and Brown to try to increase his point total. A large number of Wildcats fans expressed their approval.

“We led what I call the best team in the country by 14,” Hopkins said. “It shows our potential.”

It wasn’t enough to keep the large Husky crowd in the seats. With just nine minutes left to play, people are starting to storm out of the arena as this once-competitive match has turned into an ugly rout.

Brown sat with 1:43 remaining. He couldn’t do everything. He deserved better than a 24-point loss.

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