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...
LAS VEGAS — 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 of the Pac-12 tournament 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. “
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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 (Washington lost in the opening round last year to Oregon State).
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 three-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 on Friday night.
“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.
“It’s really disappointing,” Bachynski said. “(The NCAA tournament) was our goal all season. That’s what we worked toward. Nothing else really to say.”
UCLA won its 31st conference championship by beating Washington in the season finale to finish 13-5 in the Pac-12. The Bruins had some bumpy stretches along the way, losing three of four in January and to struggling Washington State three days before the clincher against the Huskies.
“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. Whether it was Drew, the Wear brothers, anytime we had a breakdown, there was no forgiveness on their part. They were making shots.”
Arizona 79, Colorado 69
Nick Johnson scored 18 points and hit a contested shot with 34 seconds left, helping the No. 18 Wildcats defeat the Buffaloes and reach the semifinals.
Arizona (25-6) led by 14 in the second half, but had trouble shaking desperate Colorado (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 three-point attempt into Colorado’s bench.
Lyons had 14 points and Solomon Hill 13 for Arizona, which faces No. 21 UCLA next.
Colorado won last year’s conference tournament with four wins in four days and opened this year’s tournament with a six-point victory over Oregon State.
Now the Buffaloes will have to wait for the selection committee to make its decision to see if they’ll get into the NCAA tournament after the close loss to Arizona.
Spencer Dinwiddie led fifth-seeded Colorado with 18 points and Andre Roberson added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Utah 79, California 69 (OT)
Jarred DuBois scored 21 points and hit a tying three-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 in the quarterfinals.
Utah (15-17) trailed 59-56 in regulation after Allen Crabbe hit two free throws, but Utah worked the ball around to DuBois, who hit a contested three-pointer with four seconds left to tie the score. Utah dominated overtime and will move on to face Oregon, an OT winner over Washington.
Cal (20-11) needed to play well in the Pac-12 tournament to ensure an NCAA invite but now will have to wait three anxious days to find out if it will get an at-large bid.
Justin Cobbs had 26 points and Crabbe finished with 21 for the Bears.
Jason Washburn had 18 points for Utah.
Utah needs to win the Pac-12 tournament to get into the NCAA tournament and took the first step by holding off USC 69-66 in its tourney opener. It was a good step for the Utes, a young team that struggled to close out tight games, even against smaller opponents like Sacramento State and CS Northridge.