McKale Center hosted a free-throw party in the final minutes, but UCLA held on at Arizona for a thrilling 84-73 win — easily the Bruins biggest of the season. The path to the Pac-12 title still requires an Oregon loss, but UCLA rebounded impressively from a humbling home loss to Oregon.
A telling quote from Travis Wear earlier this week: “We’ve done a good job going into games where we put a lot of pressure on ourselves — when we really know it’s going to be a big game. I think the last time we did that was Missouri. Going into that game, we viewed that as a ‘must-win’ and we did well.”
The Bruins led by as much as 14 seven minutes into the second half, but they’ve allowed teams to come back (see: Utah, Colorado). This time, in the face of the loudest crowd they’ve seen yet, they withstood a 10-0 run that cut the lead to 55-51 at 11:12.
Shabazz Muhammad, who scored a game-high 23 points, was responsible for a key five point swing with under six minutes to go, following up a 3-pointer with a steal and two free throws. That stretched the UCLA lead to 68-58. The Bruins then scored 10 of their final 14 points at the charity stripe to seal the game.