UCLA’s season ends with a whimper

AUSTIN, Texas — Without Jordan Adams, sixth-seeded UCLA closed out its turbulent season with a flatlined performance against No. 11-seed Minnesota.

The Bruins were the slated underdog all week long. Once the game actually began at the Frank Erwin Center, they did nothing but reaffirm that talk in a 83-63 loss. What started out as an ugly but mutually designed affair — the teams missed their first 12 combined field goal attempts — eventually turned into a Gophers rout.

Despite shooting 26.7 percent in the first half, UCLA stayed within 10 points at the intermission due to a surprisingly strong rebounding effort. The team ended up with a 42-36 edge on the glass, grabbing 19 offensive boards on 43 missed shots.

It wasn’t until Minnesota point guard Andre Hollins caught fire in the second half that the Bruins were completely sunk. The sophomore scored 23 points after halftime, and added nine rebounds to go with five assists.

Some notes from the game. Continue reading

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Minnesota 35, UCLA 25: Halftime update

AUSTIN, Texas — All week long, UCLA insisted it was ready for the big stage.

The No. 6-seeded Bruins embraced the underdog role as it opened the NCAA tournament. They would prove the doubters wrong, they said, just as they had done on their way to a regular-season Pac-12 title.

But just 20 minutes into their matchup against No. 11-seed Minnesota, UCLA barely looked like a team that belonged in the NCAA tournament. The Bruins shot 8-of-30 from the field before halftime as it gave up a 35-25 lead to the Gophers. Continue reading

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Howland using bulletin-board material

When UCLA returned to the court following its stinging loss in the Pac-12 title game last week, it found something waiting for them.

After Las Vegas pegged the Bruins as one of two higher-seeded teams to lose in NCAA tournament’s round of 64, coach Ben Howland decided to post up predictions of Friday’s matchup against No. 11-seed Minnesota. Continue reading

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Short-handed UCLA falls short of Pac-12 tourney title

Without shooting guard Jordan Adams, UCLA couldn’t do enough to beat Oregon for the Pac-12 tournament championship. As Adams sat at the end of the bench with a broken right foot, the Bruins lost 78-69 and failed to put together one strong, late rally.

UCLA cut the Ducks’ to two points with 12 minutes left to go on a 3-pointer by Larry Drew II, but proceeded to give up a 6-0 run over the next 90 seconds. It went the rest of the way down between six and 12 points — save for a 19-second stretch that saw the deficit shrink to four.

Oregon won its first tournament title since 2007. No team has won both the regular-season and tournament championships since the Bruins did so in 2008.

– UCLA’s seed for the NCAA tournament will likely drop due to Adams’ absence. The NCAA selection committee often account for injuries in their decision, and the Bruins being without their second-leading scorer could weigh heavily. In 2000, top-ranked Cincinnati missed out on a No. 1 seed when Kenyon Martin broke his leg. In 2009, St. Mary’s missed the tournament despite 26 wins because point guard Patty Mills hadn’t shaken off rust after breaking his hand. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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Bruins earn semifinals spot in comeback win

UCLA Arizona State with a scrappy comeback Thursday afternoon, earning an 80-75 rubber-match victory after being down 15 points in the second half.

Some extra notes from the Bruins’ first game in Las Vegas, one that earned them a semifinals matchup against Arizona tomorrow at 6 p.m. (Pac-12 Network). Continue reading

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FINAL: UCLA 80, ASU 75

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

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Weekly Q&A — 3/9/13 Answers

Q: How do celebrities (e.g. NBA players) get courtside seats at Pauley Pavilion?

UCLA holds back courtside seats for donors, recruits, etc., with the number varying depending on the overall demand of that game. The seats are usually free, but sometimes the school will charge if — for example — an NBA player calls up at the last minute. Broadcasters (CBS, ESPN) typically reserve seats for on-air talent, who then use them however they see fit.

Q: Has there been any mention of Larry Drew II as an NBA prospect? Not that he’s first-round material by any stretch, but he looks the part of a solid young PG coming off the bench on the right NBA team. Also, who else is slated to play the point next year besides Kyle Anderson? Continue reading

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Muhammad leads Bruins in Pac-12 awards

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.

Here’s the full list of conference awards: Continue reading

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Bruins win outright Pac-12 title

UCLA has won the Pac-12 regular season championship for the first time since 2008.

The Bruins clinched a share of the title with a 61-54 win over turnover-prone Washington, their first road victory over the Huskies since 2004. A few minutes later, Utah finished off Oregon with a 10-point win in Salt Lake City, leaving UCLA alone at the top of the conference. Continue reading

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