As his time in a UCLA uniform nears its end, senior guard Norman Powell is playing some of the best basketball of his career. In UCLA’s 72-67 win over Washington State on Sunday, he paved the way with a career-high 28 points.
But he wouldn’t have gotten there if not for the Cougars’ foul-happy ways. Powell took six of his 10 free throws in the final 41 seconds, and needed every one of them to hit his new milestone.
His last pair of attempts came with 20 seconds on the clock. He missed the first, leaving him stuck at his old record of 27 — one he set in a 100-70 win over James Madison on Nov. 13, 2012. He made the second.
A reporter asked him if he’d known what was on the line.
“Choked,” freshman Kevon Looney chirped.
“Yeah, I did,” Powell continued. “(UCLA sports information director Alex) Timiraos is always in my ear about stats and things like that. I knew that 27 was my career high. I was honestly just focused on trying to win the game.
“I choked on the first one, but knocked down the second one. The guys were giving me a lot of mess about that. Leaving points on the board. Probably able to get 30 if I made my free throws.”