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.
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.