UCLA wins Pac-12 Tournament in wild game over top-seeded Arizona

LAS VEGAS — UCLA wanted this one.

With less than three minutes left in regulation, shooting guard Jordan Adams tipped the ball away from Arizona’s Nick Johnson. As it bounced toward the opposite corner of the court, Travis Wear dived — somehow retaining possession.

Timeout, Bruins.

It was a hustle play in a title game stuffed full of hustle plays. And at the final buzzer, it was second-seeded UCLA that squeezed out a madcap finish, winning the Pac-12 championship game, 75-71.

Adams hit a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left, and the Bruins flustered the top-seeded Wildcats into three misses from beyond the arc to hold on. Johnson drained a 3-pointer with one second left, but junior Norman Powell iced the game with a pair of free throws.

It was the Bruins’ first tournament title since 2008, and fourth all-time after other wins in 2006 and 1987. The victory set UCLA — reeling at the end of the regular-season — up to be as high as a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and avenged a January loss to the Wildcats at Pauley Pavilion.

Point guard Kyle Anderson scored 21 points to lead the Bruins, adding 15 rebounds and five assists. Adams scored 19 points, while Powell added 15.

Johnson scored a game-high 22 points to pace Arizona.

UCLA started the game on 14-3 run, holding the Wildcats to a single field goal for nearly six minutes. Arizona fought back with a flurry of threes — 5-of-6 to start — but the Bruin offense responded at every turn.

Anderson laid in a picturesque finger roll around Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Aaron Gordon. Adams wiggled his way to the basket. Junior guard Norman Powell scored from just about everywhere, hitting four of his first five shots and earning multiple trips to the line.

The trio combined for 32 of the team’s first 43 points. By the end of the first half, the Bruins had matched both point totals of Arizona’s last two opponents: Utah (39) and Colorado (43).

Arizona inched back at the end of the first half, as several UCLA starters sat on the bench. Center Kaleb Tarczewski tossed in three straight baskets at the rim, chopping the deficit to 33-29. Moments later, Aaron Gordon took a few steps past halfcourt and floated an alley-oop pass to Johnson — setting up a hammer of a finish that brought the Wildcats within two.

The Bruins held a 43-40 edge at the break, but made just one field goal through the first four minutes of the second half. Arizona finally climbed back, seizing a 49-48 lead at 15:42 when Gordon drained a free throw.

Over the final 9:46, neither team led by more than two points until Adams’ 3-pointer.

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  • commentar

    Run Bruins Run!! Pac12 Champs!! It’s Tourney TIme!!

    Arizona, 6-16 FTs. That won’t fly in the NCAA tourney. It’s all about FTs the last 2 mins of a game in March

    • pennyfan041

      Yeah, that’s their biggest weakness. We were able to ride that train tonight. Let Aaron Gordon shoot free throws. He can dominate games, but opponents can always play the hack-a-shaq if they want to stop him.

  • mbruin

    Pac12 Champs! Loved the effort, Loved the game! Great coaching by Alford. With 7 minutes left, all starters on the court to finish. With Adams, Powell, Anderson, and the Wears on the court they are unstoppable! Go bruins!

  • Nwbruin

    Meanwhile, at Bruins Nation, they somehow find a way to continue to trash Alford

    • BruinInSeattle

      BruinsNation is actually an SC troll site. The amount of hate on there is epic…and then, if you criticize them on the comments, they ban you for doing what they do to everyone else. crazy. Can’t even take what they dish out.

      • Nwbruin

        I called out tydides today and I am PROUD to say I am banned from the site.

        • Biglar

          The posters on Bruin Nation are consistently stupid, and just spout their drivel without any analysis to back them up. They spouted the same sort of stupidity with Mora as well. And their Dan Guerrero shtick so tired, especially when you realize ucla won the men’s capital one cup last year. They must think that being unsatisfied makes them cool, when it really just is kind of sad. I think most of them are not successful in real life, and relish the feeling of power they get from criticizing others. And as an alum I hope they are not indicative of the sort of analytical skills ucla is instilling nowadays.

          • drakejr

            Biglar, you are being really unfair. BruinsNation often has correct information, stolen directly from the pay sites without attribution.

        • ProbationU

          T-Diddy is a bigger idiot than Nestor. Called Bryce an NAIA player…I guess All PAC-12 Freshman Team is pretty good for an NAIA player. I get that Bryce is limited and is not real good on the D…poor in fact…but they are SOOO negative they lose all credibility. There is little to no objectivity over there. Fox News Bruins Nation. The Sean Hannity of fan sites.

          • mbruin

            Bruin nation feeds off “negative bias”. They know the more negative the blog, the greater the traffic to the site and the potential for more revenue from ads. I don’t even know if Festor, Crydides, or Bellerophony are even UCLA fans. Just make this your knew home. Thanks Jack!

          • maze949

            +1, spot-on!

          • ksv

            More like the MSNBC Bruins Nation. The Chris Matthews of fan sites.

            Just because most of us dislike the negativity on Bruins Nation, don’t assume everyone has your same political persuasion. I certainly don’t, (that is why I expect flames in 3, 2, 1…)


          • Duvido

            It’s really Bozo Nation or Baby Nation, a bunch of babies brainwashed by their court Jestor’s negativity and who aren’t really sports writers. They just regurgitate what other pro-writers write and then add their bias comments to them.

          • ProbationU

            The difference being that MSNBC doesn’t pretend to be “fair and balanced.”

        • pennyfan041

          How dare you call out Tydides! He is all-knowing. And really nice, too. And very considerate of others’ opinions. And yep, all that other good stuff too. The whole world knows that you get an auto-ban for questioning him. He’s never been wrong about anything in his life.

  • Nwbruin

    Follow @FakeBruinNation on twitter, I just found it haha its great

    • daldigle

      I agree @FakeBruinNation is a must follow

  • MPPBruin

    Truly great game today. Great effort on both ends. Proud of these guys today.

  • Mark

    This was a great win and one that is hopefully Alford’s springboard to top level recruits and some respect from the fans!

    • maze949

      Springboard? As an alleged season-ticket holder (still clinging to that lie?) you don’t know d*ck about the recruits in the queue. Why don’t you trash the players some more (like all your other posts)? F’n idiot!

  • David

    Great Win! Bruin Are Peaking At The Right Time And I expect To See A Good Run In The Tourney!

  • Nathan W

    The idiot population over at BruinsNation is ready to kill themselves since winning the Pac12 tourney makes their childish criticism of this team seem that much more asinine.

  • bruinray97

    That was such a great game yesterday. Very proud of these young men and the coaching staff. Now, if the current projections hold true, UCLA will be the 4 seed in the east bracket, in my home town! GO BRUINS!