Adams injury casts pall over UCLA win
LAS VEGAS — UCLA's Jordan Adams made several jaw-dropping plays that helped his team pull off a 66-64 win over Arizona on Friday in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament, but it was his last moments on the court that sent shockwaves through the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Carrying a two-point lead, Adams – a freshman who led the Bruins with 24 points – chased Arizona's Solomon Hill to the three-point line, forcing him into a pull-up jumper that could have sent the game to overtime.
Hill's jumper was off the mark, but Adams landed awkwardly on his right foot, breaking his fifth metatarsal. The injury will sideline him for the remainder of UCLA's postseason run, according to school officials. "It's a huge loss and I feel terrible for him because of everything he has accomplished this season," redshirt junior forward David Wear said. After playing what was perhaps their most complete game of the season, the mood in the Bruins' locker room was anything but celebratory. Adams is the team's second leading scorer, averaging 15 points per game.
"We're not going to sit here and be happy because one of our family members on this team hurt themselves," sophomore guard Norman Powell said. "This changes everything." When leading scorer Shabazz Muhammad was locked down by Hill, Adams took over. He was the key cog in a 18-7 UCLA run that saw the Bruins tie the game with 4:37 remaining after they trailed by 11 midway through the second half. At one point in the rally, he scored 11 straight points.
Adams also used his physicality to get to the free throw line where he went 11-for-13, the most free throw attempts from any player in the contest and more than the Wildcats had as a team. "Sometimes when you take something away, you give something up like Jordan Adams," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "The game plan was one that other teams have used. Unfortunately, it took us till the third game to use it." Adams broke the same foot as a high school player at Virginia's Oak Hill Academy. Coach Ben Howland held his postgame news conference while Adams was undergoing X-rays and did not comment on the injury but did retroactively campaign for his fellow Pac-12 coaches to rethink their all-conference votes.
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"That kid was not on the all-freshman team, so I just want to reiterate that again," Howland said. Adams leads the conference in steals, is fourth in free throw percentage and is 10th in scoring.