UCLA 66, Arizona 64: Notes and quotes

UCLA pulled out a big 66-64 victory against Arizona to advance to the Pac-12 title game, but the cost was a season-ending broken foot for Jordan Adams (story here). The freshman guard erupted for 18 second-half points, including 13 straight, as the Bruins beat the Wildcats for the third time this season.

Tomorrow’s 8 p.m. tipoff (ESPN) pits UCLA against Oregon — a tough matchup for the Bruins even with Adams.

More notes after the jump.

— Jordan Adams’ broken foot likely spells the end of UCLA’s hopes for the a deep run in the NCAA tournament. The Bruins have overcome obstacles this season, but the loss of its second-leading scorer is a gut-punch that they haven’t felt yet. Kyle Anderson and Larry Drew II both reacted with visible shock when they found out about the injury during the press conference, and Drew broke into tears soon after.

The loss will certainly hurt UCLA’s seeding for the NCAA tournament. More immediately, the Bruins will have trouble knocking off Oregon without Adams’ 15.3 points and 2.2 steals per game. Ducks coach Dana Altman didn’t make much of the news, but his team had caught the guard on a cold night in January. Adams missed all six of his field goal attempts in UCLA’s 76-67 loss in January.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Altman said when told of Adams’ injury. “They’re balanced. I don’t think you can say, ‘We’re going to stop this one guy.’ The Wear teams can both score. Shabazz can really score. Drew, from the first time we played him, he’s improved his scoring and he’s much more aggressive at the point position.

“I don’t think we can really change the way we play.”

Norman Powell, who lost his starting job to Adams early in the season, will be the first man up. Powell is the team’s most athletic player, but is inconsistent on offense and averages 5.8 points and 27.8 percent from beyond the arc.

— UCLA’s offense struggled through the first half, stifled by Arizona’s plan to lock down Larry Drew II. Sean Miller expressed concern about both Drew’s scoring and playmaking — nine assists in both previous meetings — and decided to use all-conference defensive honorable mention Nick Johnson to stop him.

It worked. Drew couldn’t score the entire game, but of more concern was his single assist in the first half. The Bruins finished with eight, their second-lowest total of the season and only the fourth time they failed to log double-digit assists.

The flipside was that Adams went up against 6-foot-1 guard Mark Lyons, a matchup he took advantage of in the second half.

— Adams provided the final heroics for UCLA, but Shabazz Muhammad set that up with five straight unanswered points midway through the second half. He only had two points in the first half, but finished the game with 11.

— Travis and David Wear both had quiet but valuable performances. The twins combined for 17 points and nine rebounds. Travis grabbed a key rebound with a little over three minutes, keeping alive a possession that led to Shabazz Muhammad hitting free throws for a 60-58 lead. After Arizona equalized, Travis drew a foul against center Kaleb Tarczewski for two free throws of his own.

Tarczewski keyed Arizona’s 37-31 advantage on the boards with 13 rebounds and six points, and fouled out not long after.

— Arizona coach Sean Miller was irate at the officials after the game. UCLA had a 21-9 advantage at the free throw line, but it was a technical foul he incurred at 4:37 when arguing Mark Lyons’ turnover. The technical sent sent Jordan Adams to the line for two free throws that tied the game at 56.

Miller brought up the foul about a dozen times in the post-game press conference. Here’s a snippet of his rant:

The reason I got a technical foul is because I said, he touched the ball. He touched the ball. Like in other words, Mark Lyons dribbled — and by the way, when you show the replay here on ESPN in a few seconds — he touched the ball. He touched the ball. he touched the ball. He touched the ball. That’s a hard one now when you work August, September, October, November, December, January, February, and here we are. My man (Solomon Hill) is over here, he’s never coming back here again. His coach gets a technical foul. Didn’t cuss. Didn’t challenge him. … If I cuss and I’m out of control and I’ve been warned, shame on me.

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  • Hank

    Hopefully the team uses this as an opportunity to pull together and work out any kinks without Adams. Great time to get Powell and Parker more minutes. GO BRUINS!

    As for the technical… agree, hard one to take, however I’ve seen these calls go both ways. Part of the game and NOT the reason AZ lost. Miller’s rant above however is a funny read and even funnier to watch (saw it on the post game report).

  • I feel so bad for Jordan. Time for Powell to shine. At the beginning of the season, I thought Powell was going to go nuts this year. It’s time to step up!

  • Mark

    If Ucla wins then the seed shouldn’t be affected.

    • maze949

      When are you going to sell samollie your season tickets?

      • Mark

        Hello? The home season is over. No way I’m renewing if Howland is still coach. And by the way. He doesn’t need my tix. There are plenty available. Fans will,continue to stay away with the weak schedule Howland insists on. And not to mention his nerve-wracking style of play. Or the fact that people don’t want to play for him and look for the fastest way out of Westwood.

        • maze949

          No, I’m intrigued about your “alleged” tickets. And what is a “nerve-wracking” style of play? Your nerves? Players’ nerves?

          • Mark

            Name one person, besides Howland, who understands or endorses his timeout usage.

          • Bruwins

            Name an idiot other than Mark who cannot see that BH coaches the current team into a regular season Pac-12 conference title and got them into the final Pac-12 tournament. Are any of the players who transferred actually helped their teams to an NCAA championship? How about final four? Are they in current NBA roster?

          • Mark

            I sure would have liked to have seen Moser, Stanback, and Gordon play together at a high level for Ucla. BTW, Honeycutt should be a senior, not languishing on the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the d-league.

          • grateful_bruin

            And let that be a lesson to anyone who wants to jump to the NBA without any credibility– stay in school. Gordon was a head-case. Stanback and Moser didnt want to sit on the sideline because they couldnt crack the rotation. BTW, that is exactly what the Wear twins and even Larry Drew 2 did when they left UNC– and now they are flourishing. Just because kids transfer (and dont let the SI article fool you) doesnt mean that the program is in shambles and people hate the coach. For all of the bitching and moaning that I have heard from the pathetic RuiNation crowd–suck on the Pac-12 championship and #1 recruiting class for the second time in 10 years, and the number one recruit for the 3rd time in 10 years. Go Bruins! Kick the Beaver!

        • Bruwins

          What people are you talking about that don’t want to play for him? Did it not UCLA recruiting ranked #2 last year? Kentucky cannot even make it to the dance with the same caliber of recruits from their 2012. RPI at 24 is hardly weak scheduling. You must have thought Georgetown, Georgia, Texas, and Missouri are patsy… It’s great that you won’t renew your season tickets. I sure don’t want your kind at Rose Bowl either.

          • Mark

            Are you not aware of the countless transfers over the past few years?

          • Mark

            Only Mizzou was a home game. The non-conference opponents scheduled at Pauley are a joke. Thats why the arena is always so empty.

  • 92104bruinfan

    Here here for Powell to step up and mitigate the loss of JA. He may not have JA’s scoring prowess but he can use his athleticism to help the team in a ton of ways. D2, the Wears, and KA will have to look to get more buckets as I imagine many teams will now put even more of a D focus on Shabazz who needs to stay within himself and not try to do too much.

    As for seeding, hope we can get placed in the West Regional in either the San Jose or SLC sites BUT avoid getting in the Auburn Hills pod where Michigan might get slotted to enjoy a quasi-home court advantage.

    Go Bruins!

  • Mark

    If Powell was that Good he would have already demonstrated it.

    • maze949

      If Mark was that Smart he would have already demonstrated it.

      • Bruwins

        I suppose the rule of thumb for Internet blogs or forums is that you’ll have to have a troll. Mark is currently auditioning for Insidesocal resident troll.

    • FreeShabazz

      Suck it Mark!!!

  • Mark

    For the record I still think Ucla is better off with a new coach–the sooner the better. Winning the conference, and possibly the P-12 tournament, is a nice accomplishment. But Ucla has higher aspirations. The road to the Final Four in the West Regional goes through San Jose and Los Angeles. Ucla lost any chance of that scenario by losing to Cal Poly, USC, and Washington State. With Adams gone, it sure seems that Tyler Lamb would be a nice player to have in reserve. When Ucla couldn’t buy a rebound at times this season, Josh Smith sure would have been nice to use. Howland’s inability to develop those players, help them understand their role, and ultimately keep them is indicative of what’s been holding this program back since 2008.

    And what happens next year if Anderson and Parker go? The writing’s on the wall for another frustrating season as 1995 gets further and further in the rear view mirror.

  • Fred Uno

    1. “Jordan Adams’ broken foot likely spells the end of UCLA’s hopes for the a deep run in the NCAA tournament.” – Perhaps it would have been better to state “the end of UCLA’s chances for a deep run?” That would express YOUR opinion. While the team feels badly about the circumstance I believe they still hope to make a deep run.

    2. While very possible, and perhaps even likely, how can you express with CERTAINTY that Adam’s loss will negatively impact UCLA’s tournament seeding? If you are certain then perhaps you can elaborate as to how you’ve reach said certainty.

    I know it’s a blog but as a writer for a metropolitan newspaper aren’t you compelled to and, more importantly, shouldn’t you WANT to adhere to some level of journalistic standards? The occasions I’ve visited here I’ve been surprised, and admittedly irritated, by statements of opinion in the guise of fact. I’m confident with a bit more thought you can vastly improve how you distinguish fact from opinion with your choice of words…. unless you are on deadline with the blog or you feel it simply isn’t that important. But then where do you draw the line as you advance as a journalist?

  • 2 charges on Saboom and aT on BH. Horrible, a disgrace on our program.