Bruins wake up and rally
UCLA broke out new uniforms that looked like pajamas and played like they were barely awake well into the second half.
Freshman Shabazz Muhammad snapped the Bruins out of it, saving them from an inglorious exit from the Pac-12 tournament.
Muhammad scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half, Travis Wear hit a jumper with 11 seconds left and No. 21 UCLA rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat Arizona State 80-75 in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
“These guys never quit. They never gave up,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said. “They never stopped believing in themselves and each other and really found a way to battle back.”
Wearing uniforms with sleeves and matching camouflage-patterned shorts, the Bruins (24-8) got off to a groggy start and appeared to be in danger of becoming the second straight top seed to lose its first game in the Pac-12 tournament.
Muhammad gave UCLA the spark it needed with a highlight-reel dunk over Arizona State center Jordan Bachynski and scored 10 points during a 17-4 second-half run that got the Bruins back in it.
UCLA kept its composure down the stretch, going up 78-75 on Wear’s jumper and stayed in front when Arizona State’s Jonathan Gilling missed a corner 3-pointer in the closing seconds.
Larry Drew II had 20 points and Wear finished with 15 to send the Bruins into the semifinals against No. 18 Arizona tonight.
“In the first half I thought we played hard, but in the second half we really turned it up,” said Muhammad, who had six of UCLA’s 15 offensive rebounds and nine overall. “And it really had good karma for us.”
Jahii Carson had 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds to lead ninth-seeded Arizona State (21-12).
Bachynski had 22 points and Gilling 17 for the Sun Devils, who have to wait until Sunday to see if they’ll get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
“Anytime they had an open look down the home stretch, they made it,” Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. “They didn’t let us off the hook. Anytime we had a breakdown, there was no forgiveness on their part. They were making shots.”
Utah 79, California 69 (OT): Jarred DuBois scored 21 points and hit a tying 3-pointer in the closing seconds of regulation, Jordan Loveridge scored eight of his 20 points in overtime, and the Utes upset the second-seeded Golden Bears (20-11).
Utah (15-17) knocked off top-seeded Washington in last year’s tournament and took down No. 2 this year by hitting some big shots down the stretch.
The 10th-seeded Utes trailed 59-56 in regulation after Allen Crabbe hit two free throws, but Utah worked the ball around to DuBois, who hit a contested 3-pointer with 4 seconds left to tie the game.
“A lot of times, if you watch basketball at all levels, the team that plays the hardest usually wins,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “So I think that’s what we’re doing right now. We’re playing with some confidence.”
(18) Arizona 79, Colorado 69: Nick Johnson scored 18 points and hit a contested shot with 34 seconds left, helping the Wildcats beat the Buffaloes.
Arizona (25-6) led by 14 in the second half, but had trouble shaking the desperate Buffaloes (21-11).
Johnson hit his shot between three defenders to put the Wildcats up four and followed teammate Mark Lyons’ two free throws by swatting Askia Booker’s 3-point attempt into Colorado’s bench.
Lyons had 14 points and Solomon Hill 13 for Arizona.