UCLA holds off Arizona State in OT
LOS ANGELES (AP)
Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson and Shabazz Muhammad arrived at UCLA as three of the nation's most highly touted freshmen. Deep into a season full of fits and starts, the trio produced their best collective outing in a victory that gave the Bruins a share of the Pac-12 lead.
Adams scored 22 points, Anderson had a career-high 21 points and 15 rebounds, and Muhammad added 21 points in a 79-74 overtime win against Arizona State on Wednesday night.
''The media got it right,'' Bruins coach Ben Howland said. ''They are the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.''
Muhammad added, ''He's absolutely right. We're just here to do our job.''
Adams scored six points in overtime, hitting a crucial layup when the Bruins were clinging to a one-point lead. Evan Gordon and Jonathan Gilling both missed 3-pointers, and Adams grabbed the defensive rebound on the second miss, got fouled and made both free throws with 26 seconds left.
''These three kids are not playing like freshmen in November,'' Howland said. ''They're improving a lot in all different respects.''
''Being so deep in the season, we were more ready for this,'' Anderson said. ''Down the stretch, I told the team to stay calm through the storm and we were going to pull it out.''
Jahii Carson scored 22 points, Gilling tied his career high with six 3-pointers and finished with 18 points, and Carrick Felix had 16 points and a career-high 18 rebounds for the Sun Devils (20-9, 9-7).
''This is a game that we should have won and we could have won, especially if you want to go to the (NCAA) tournament on a bid,'' Gilling said.
The Bruins controlled overtime, outscoring ASU 9-4. They have won three straight and five of six.
''It could have gone either way, but we came up short,'' ASU coach Herb Sendek said. ''Down the home stretch Jahii was terrific. He did a great job with our ball screens.''
UCLA led 67-62 before Arizona State ran off six straight points, taking a 68-67 lead on Carson's free throw that completed a three-point play after he was fouled by Adams.
Adams answered with a 3-pointer that put the Bruins back in front, 70-68, with 1:24 to play. But Drew turned the ball over and Gilling found Carson on the break for the tying layup with 39 seconds to go.
After a timeout, David Wear missed the go-ahead jumper for UCLA with 6 seconds left. Carson snagged the defensive rebound, dribbled furiously down the court and put up a jumper that hit the rim as regulation expired.
''We knew we were going to get their best,'' Anderson said. ''They're playing for postseason basketball. Our effort was there, rather than the game before, when we lost.''
The Sun Devils beat UCLA by 18 points last month in the desert and led much of Wednesday's game, but they couldn't complete their first sweep of UCLA since 2008-09. They have lost two in a row and four of five.
''We really came out with a chip on our shoulder,'' said Muhammad, who tweaked his left ankle in the first half but said he will be ready for Saturday's game against Arizona.
Jordan Bachynski, who had career highs in points (22) and rebounds (15) in the win over UCLA, finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.
''We defended him really well,'' Anderson said. ''We knew what we wanted to take away. We were more well prepared for him this time.''
Muhammad scored the game's first five points before Gilling began firing from long range. He made four 3-pointers, two off his career high, in about 3 1/2 minutes as part of a 23-9 run that gave Arizona State a 23-14 lead, its largest of the first half. The Bruins rallied on Muhammad's 8-0 run, including two 3-pointers, and 3-pointers by Adams and Anderson to take their first lead since the start of the game, 39-37.
But that lasted mere seconds as Carson scored the Sun Devils' final four points to put them back in front 41-39 at the break.
''My shot was really on,'' said Muhammad, who resumed wearing his contact lenses while recovering from a case of pink eye in his right eye.
UCLA starting forward Travis Wear missed his second straight game with a right foot injury. It's likely he'll return Saturday.
Los Angeles Lakers star Pau Gasol and Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves attended the game together.