Las Vegas, NV – The Pac-12 Tournament certainly brought the best out of the UCLA Bruins. UCLA capped off three impressive games in Las Vegas by edging No. 4 Arizona 75-71 in the championship game this afternoon.
Tournament MVP Kyle Anderson has one of his best games as a Bruin, controlling the pace with 21 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Jordan Adams (19 points) hit the deciding shot, a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left, while Norman Powell contributed 15 points.
Nick Johnson led the Wildcats with 22 points and made several outstanding blocks late in the contest. Center Kaleb Tarczewski scored 12 points. Aaron Gordon was very active with 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists but hurt Arizona with a 2-of-8 effort at the foul line. Arizona was 6-of-16 from the charity stripe which cost them the game.
We thought that Gordon’s poor foul shooting would ultimately hurt Arizona in a tournament game and that happened today.
“We lost a game we could have won,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “Jordan Adams hit a great shot and some of the things we learned in today’s game will better serve us for the biggest prize, why we all do this, and that’s to hopefully advance next week in the NCAA tournament.”
Arizona used their excellent defense to help destroy Utah by 32-points and in a 63-43 rout over Colorado in the semifinals. UCLA came into the title game after two very impressive performances over Oregon (82-63) and Stanford (84-59). The teams met once during the regular season with Arizona topping the Bruins 79-75 at UCLA.
UCLA came out strong, scoring 12 points in a row to take a 14-3 lead. Arizona came back to close the lead to 43-40 at the half. Both teams shot over 50 percent in the half. UCLA shot 18-of-31 while Arizona was 16-of-30. The Wildcats hit 5-of-8 three-pointers.
In the second half both teams stepped up their defense. UCLA was 7-of-27 from the field while the Wildcats were 12-of-31. Arizona took their final lead with five minutes left on a jumper by Gordon to make it 68-66. After Anderson hit two foul shots, Adams followed with his big three-pointer to break the 68-all tie. Arizona then missed six straight shots, four of them three-pointers and missed the front end of two one-and-ones. That sealed their fate as the Bruins won a well deserved championship.
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