UCLA pulls out a huge win over ASU, winning 80-75 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena after coming back from a 15-point halftime deficit. The Bruins can thank senior point guard Larry Drew II, who led the team with 20 points despite being shackled with four fouls for much of the second half. Continue reading →
Jordan Bachynski could be an NBA first-round pick if UCLA were the only team he ever faced. A big reason for Arizona State’s 41-33 lead, the 7-foot-2 center worked the Bruins early with a game-high 14 points, adding four rebounds and a block. He got caught twice goaltending — including one on Larry Drew II that opened scoring for the Bruins — but logged one official block and is two away from breaking the Pac-12 season record. Continue reading →
The Pac-12 tournament opened with Arizona State’s 89-88 overtime win over Stanford, one that sets up the Sun Devils as perhaps the toughest second-round matchup UCLA could have had.
The Bruins tip off against ASU at 12 p.m. Thursday after splitting the season series, and will have to contend with Co-Freshman of the Year Jahii Carson. The 5-foot-10 point guard dropped a career-high 34 points on the Cardinal, just one shy of the program record for freshmen. Senior forward Carrick Felix, an all-conference defender, is also a concern.
Some quotes from the Sun Devils after that win, touching a bit on the rubber match with UCLA. Continue reading →
Two days after UCLA won an outright Pac-12 title, Shabazz Muhammad became the eighth player in program history to win Pac-12 Freshman of the Year — sharing the honor with Arizona point guard Jahii Carson.
The star swingman, who ranked third in the Pac-12 with 18.3 points per game, is the first Bruin to win since Kevin Love in 2008. Muhammad also made the 10-man all-conference first team with senior point guard Larry Drew II, while freshman point forward Kyle Anderson was a second-team selection.
Muhammad and Drew both generated some talk for the conference’s Player of the Year Award, but that went to Cal guard Allen Crabbe. Oregon’s Dana Altman won Coach of the Year, and had his Ducks positioned for a conference title before losing the last two games of the season.
Muhammad and Anderson also made the All-Pac-12 Freshman team, but guard Jordan Adams missed the cut for the five-man list. He averaged 15.2 points per game, eighth best in the conference, and was an honorable mention for receiving at least three votes.
At a glance: UCLA had one of its worst games of the season against Arizona State, a 78-60 laugher in Tempe Tucson that sucked all the goodwill from the Bruins’ upset of Arizona. Many players said they’re still using that game as motivation, similar to the way they did Sunday in avenging their home loss to USC.
ASU has been inconsistent, but needs a win to keep its NCAA tournament hopes alive. Ben Howland said this week he expects the Sun Devils — projected as one of the last teams out of the field of 68 — to play with that sort of desperate attitude. Continue reading →