Las Vegas, NV (SportsNetwork.com) - For the third straight season, Arizona and UCLA met in the Pac-12 tournament and for the third straight time, it went down to the wire.
Brandon Ashley poured in a career-high 24 points, T.J. McConnell had a double- double and unlike the previous two seasons, No. 5 Arizona prevailed with a 70-64 win over the Bruins to advance to the finals.
"To be honest, it's not anything we're thinking about," Ashley said when asked about previous tournaments. "It's just another game for us. We want to take it one game at a time."
Ashley did most of the heavy lifting early on, but it was McConnell and Stanley Johnson who carried the Wildcats (30-3) to the finish line.
Holding a two-point lead inside of two minutes, Johnson worked his way to the foul line and sank a pair of free throws. Tony Parker answered with a layup at the other end but out of a timeout, McConnell penetrated and kicked to Johnson for a 3-ball from the left wing.
McConnell, who finished with 10 points and 11 assists, iced the win with two free throws with 19 seconds left. Johnson ended up with 15 points and nine rebounds and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson pulled down 12 boards in the win.
Arizona will take on Oregon, which knocked off Utah on Joseph Young's game- winning 3-pointer, in Saturday's final.
Norman Powell had 21 points and Parker netted 15 for UCLA (20-13).
"It's really frustrating," Powell said. "To go out there and leave it all on the floor, all 40 minutes, to come up short."
Arizona jumped out to an 8-0 lead, but a 12-2 Bruins run later in the half led to a balanced opening period. Bryce Alford's 3-pointer, his first basket and UCLA's first trey of the half, just before the buzzer sent the two teams into halftime tied at 27-apiece.
The Bruins bridged halftime with an 11-0 run to briefly gain control of the game. They were in front 47-40 following Powell's layup at 12:07 before the Wildcats put their foot on the gas and showed their fans at MGM Grand why they were the class of the Pac-12.
Ashley's jumper at 7:02 gave the junior his career high and put the finishing touches on a 15-0 run. Six different players scored during the flurry that included a pair of UCLA timeouts.
Arizona has posted back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time in program history ... Arizona hasn't won the Pac-12 tournament title since 2002 ... The Wildcats have won 10 straight games ... The two teams combined for just 15 bench points.