A once-huge lead down to a few points, Shabazz Muhammad popped in a 3-pointer on the wing, then turned a steal into a pair of free throws that gave UCLA a nice cushion.
The big stage and bright lights, that’s right where the Bruins’ talented freshman guard feels right at home.
Keying a huge early run and hitting big shots down the stretch, Muhammad scored 23 points and lifted UCLA to a signature road win, 84-73 over No. 6 Arizona on Thursday night at Tucson, Ariz.
“When the lights are on and the cameras are on, he really comes to life,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said.
Coming off a disappointing loss to Oregon, UCLA (16-4, 6-1 Pac-12) raced to a 16-point lead in the game’s first seven minutes.
Even when Arizona (16-2, 4-2) chipped away, bringing the the McKale Center crowd to life, the Bruins kept their composure in one of the toughest places to play in college basketball.
Larry Drew II played a steady game at the point, dishing out nine assists. David Wear helped make up for the loss of his twin brother to a head injury in the second half, scoring 15 points with eight rebounds.
Kyle Anderson shook off the effects of the flu that caused him to miss a day of practice this week, grabbing 12 rebounds to go with eight points. Jordan Adams, another player who missed practice due to illness, had 15 points.
After a miserable start at both ends against UCLA, the Wildcats never fully recovered, pulling no closer than four points after digging a huge opening hole.
Nick Johnson scored 23 points, Mark Lyons added 16 and Solomon Hill had 13 and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats.
California 62, Utah 57 Allen Crabbe scored 23 points, including four 3-pointers, and the Golden Bears defeated the Runnin’ Utes at Salt Lake City.
Cal led by as many as 15 points midway through the second half, but the Utes pulled within 58-55 on Jason Washburn’s 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining.
David Kravish missed at the other end for the Golden Bears (11-7, 3-3 Pac-12) but poked the rebound out to Crabbe, who was fouled and sank two free throws with 17 seconds left.
Freshman Brandon Taylor missed a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left for the Utes (9-10, 1-6), and Justin Cobb grabbed the rebound and sank a pair of free throws to seal the win for Cal.
Arizona State 98, USC 93 (OT) Jahii Carson had 21 points and eight assists as the Sun Devils held off the Trojans in overtime 98-93 at Tempe, Ariz.
Jonathan Gilling scored five points in the extra period for the Sun Devils (15-4, 4-2 Pac-12), who saw a six-point lead in the final minute of regulation disappear.
In overtime, with Southern California (8-12, 3-4) down by three, the Trojans’ Jio Fontan missed a 3 from the top of the key with 5 seconds left.
Colorado 75, Stanford 54 Andre Roberson scored 12 points and tied his career high with 20 rebounds, leading the Buffaloes to a 75-54 rout of the Cardinal in Boulder, Colo. It was Colorado’s (13-6, 3-4 Pac-12) first win over Stanford (11-8, 2-4) in 22 years.
Askia Booker scored 13 points, eight straight late in the second half after the Cardinal trimmed an 18-point deficit to eight.
Roberson nearly had his eighth double-double of the season by halftime as the Buffs took a 44-29 lead into the locker room.