No. 21 UCLA gains Pac-12 semifinals
Las Vegas, NV – Larry Drew II scored 20 points, with four rebounds and four assists, as No. 21 UCLA rallied past Arizona State, 80-75, in quarterfinal action in the inaugural Pac-12 Tournament.
Shabazz Muhammad totaled 16 points and nine boards for the Bruins (24-8), the top overall seed who will take on Arizona in a Friday semifinal.
"I thought Shabazz did a fantastic job taking the game over, especially scoring inside," said UCLA coach Ben Howland. "I mean, we need to score inside, and he's our best player at going to the basket."
Jordan Bachynski's game-best 22 points wasn't enough for the Sun Devils (21-12), who had topped Stanford in a Wednesday matchup. Jahii Carson added 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds in the setback.
"Really proud of our guys' effort. I thought they really battled. Had a couple opportunities on the offensive end that we didn't cash in, and as it turns out, didn't have that room for error," said Arizona State coach Herb Sendek.
Bachynski's bucket just prior to the midway point of the second half staked ASU to a seemingly-insurmountable 62-50 advantage, but UCLA chipped away steadily to wrestle away the victory.
David Wear and Muhammad connected on consecutive possessions to reduce the deficit to eight and start the comeback, and later in the run Muhammad's tip- in pulled the Bruins within two and Drew's three-pointer gave them a 67-66 edge with just under five minutes to play.
Both sides took turns with the lead until two free throws by Evan Gordon made it 74-72 for the Sun Devils inside of two minutes remaining. Gordon then missed the last of two from the line with 1:19 on the clock and it was 75-74.
Wear then connected on consecutive jumpers to put UCLA back on top by a 78-75 margin, and sealed the game with two makes from the charity stripe in the final seconds.
Arizona State used a short 10-5 burst through the mid-point of the first half to take a 25-17 edge on a triple from Jonathan Gilling.
Gordon's make from beyond the arc finished off an 8-2 run and gave the Sun Devils a 37-26 lead, which would be 41-33 at intermission.
UCLA has won 62 of the 81 all-time meetings with ASU ... Wear finished with 15 points and six rebounds ...Gilling had 17 points with seven boards and three assists ... Bachynski totaled a game-high three blocks.