UCLA Defeats No. 11 Arizona, 74-69, in Home Finale
March 2, 2013
Muhammad helped UCLA (22-7, 12-4 Pac-12) clinch the victory by making a pair of free throws with nine seconds to play in the second half, and UCLA swept the regular season series against the Wildcats (23-6, 11-6) for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
"Arizona is a great team, the fans here were great, and it was a great win," Muhammad said. "We still have a long season ahead, but I was really happy with the win tonight."
Saturday night's victory before national television audience on ESPN moved UCLA into a first-place tie with Oregon in the Pac-12. Both the Bruins and Ducks are 12-4 in conference action with two games remaining on their regular season schedules.
"Shabazz knocked down big foul shots down the stretch," UCLA head coach Ben Howland said. "His foul trouble limited his minutes. I was really excited that he got the big defensive rebound on that last possession. You can see how special he'll be for a long time to come."
Anderson scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half and finished with seven rebounds and three assists.
Arizona's Grant Jerrett finished with 14 points, while Mark Lyons totaled 13 points in a team-leading 31 minutes.
Honored prior to the game as the team's lone senior student-athlete on "Senior Night," Larry Drew II totaled 14 points and nine assists in his final home game with UCLA. Drew II connected on 2 of 3 three-point baskets and played a game-high 38 minutes.
"I had a lot of family and friends here on Senior Night, so I certainly wanted to have a good game," Drew II said. "But, I was really focused on just winning. It didn't matter how I played if we win."
Drew II added nine assists, pushing his season total to 227, the second-highest single-season mark in school history. Drew II trails the school record by just nine assists - Pooh Richardson dished 236 assists in 31 games during the 1988-89 season.
"UCLA, they have a lot of good things going for them," Arizona head coach Sean Miller said. "If they win the conference, my vote for the conference player of the year is Larry Drew. And I don't really think it's close."
UCLA led at halftime by a 40-36 margin and led by as many as 14 points twice in the second half. The Bruins opened their cushion to 52-38 at the 15:25 mark and 55-41 with 14:26 remaining.
Arizona cut UCLA's advantage to 59-54 after a three-pointer from Nick Johnson and a free throw from Jordin Mayes with 9:05 to play. UCLA led by 11 points - 70-59 - with 4:12 left in regulation before the Wildcats used a 7-0 scoring run to close the gap to 70-66 with 1:35 remaining.
Grant Jerrett nailed consecutive three-point baskets at the 1:35 and 1:10 marks, reducing UCLA's lead to just three points (72-69). After Mark Lyons missed a jump shot with 10 seconds to play, Muhammad grabbed the rebound and was fouled, converting both free throw attempts.
Arizona turned over the ball in the final five seconds and was unable to get a final shot.
"I thought we lost to a really good basketball team in a fantastic environment," Miller said. "It would be difficult for any team to come in here today and win. I am really proud of our guys' effort. I thought we battled back in the second half."
UCLA will close its season on the road this week, playing at Washington State on Wednesday and at Washington on Saturday. The Bruins can secure a share of the Pac-12 regular-season title by winning both games.
UCLA's game at Washington State on Wednesday is slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. The game will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks from Pullman, Wash.
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