2014 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament

Presented by New York Life
March 12-15 | Watch on Pac-12 Networks

2014 Pac-12 Tournament bracket update: UCLA upsets Arizona

Box Score & Stats | Bracket | Game Notes

LAS VEGAS – On paper, Saturday's Pac-12 Tournament championship game between tournament No. 1 seed Arizona and No. 2 UCLA looked like a relatively even matchup. But no scouting could predict just how close the Bruins' 75-71 win over the Wildcats would play out.
 
The two squads combined for only 15 turnovers in a game that provided great drama from the opening tip. It was decided by a mere few missed Arizona opportunities and clutch plays by UCLA -- the kinds of plays that scouting reports cannot foresee.
 
“Everybody always focuses on the last play or last plays,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “There were 150 in the game that could have tilted it in either person's favor.

“It was a war from start to finish.”

UCLA took an early lead, weathered a strong Arizona middle 20 minutes, and kicked all the way through the finish line – forward Travis Wear running half the length of the court and diving on the court for a loose ball in the last two minutes represented the intensity of the game as a whole.
 
The scoreboard read 68-all with 3:40 left in the game, and it remained there for the next three minutes as two fatigued teams clawed at one another on the defensive end.

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It was UCLA that benefitted the most despite Arizona coming in as the known defensive power. Armed with four timeouts in the final four minutes, UCLA coach Steve Alford asked his team to play one one-minute battle at a time.

“We'll break it up into maybe four one-minute games, but let's go as hard as we can,” he said. “We'll give you Sunday, Monday off, but let's get after it here in these last four minutes.”

The Bruins took three UA turnovers in the final three minutes and after the final Arizona miscue finally made the Wildcats pay. Out of a timeout with 43 seconds left, Jordan Adams hit a difficult three-point shot above the left side of the arc, and Arizona couldn't convert on three consecutive three-point looks to force overtime. UCLA hit its free throws down the stretch to make it a two-possession game.
 
“It's our money play,” Alford said of the drawn-up look for Adams. “It's a 2-for-1 situation. I don't like giving the other team, a team like that, the last shot.”

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Adams finished with 19 points, but teammate Anderson was at the forefront of the Bruins' success. He scored 21, grabbed 15 rebounds, and dolled out five assists.

“I got news for whoever draws them in the NCAA Tournament,” Miller said. “Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams – good luck.

Arizona's free throw troubles bit them and it struggled to score with the game in the balance. The Wildcats' only score in the final five minutes came on a late three-pointer by Nick Johnson, which cut a five-point deficit to two with less than a second remaining.
 
Arizona opened the game with a starting lineup change. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was in and Gabe York was out, and the Wildcats' offense struggled to get looks without many shooters on the court. UCLA led 14-3 early and forced three early turnovers, but Arizona's Elliott Pitts and Gabe York opened things up off the bench, hitting 4-for-6 from deep to allow for more space for Aaron Gordon and Kaleb Tarczewski to operate inside.
 
By halftime, the Bruins' lead was down to 43-40, but their offense was smoking by hitting 58 percent of its shots. That cooled to 43 percent for the game as Arizona held their opponents to just 26 percent shooting in the second half, but it wasn't enough.
 
The Wildcats tied the game at 46 on a dunk by Tarczewski, and the rest of the second half was a back-and-forth affair. The two squads had seven ties and 10 lead changes, most of which came in the final 20 minutes.
 
Nick Johnson led the Wildcats with 22 points and Gordon added 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Both teams await their NCAA tournament fate on Sunday, and both see the Pac-12 Championship as a valuable lesson.
 
“To be able to score 75 on this team, we've actually done it twice this year,” Alford said. “And I think Arizona's the best defensive team we've played all year. But we haven't beaten them. Beating them gives these guys the momentum, the confidence of knowing not only can we play with anybody, we can beat anybody.”
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