No. 21 UCLA (25-8) defeated No. 18 Arizona (25-7), 66-64 on Friday night. In the same game, on the same floor, UCLA lost on Friday night.
When the Bruins take the floor for Saturday’s Pac-12 tournament championship game against Oregon, they will do so without freshman guard Jordan Adams, who was lost for the season after breaking the fifth metatarsal in his right foot on the game’s final play. He is out for the season.
Adams missed a three pointer but Kyle Anderson was there for the putback with 22 seconds remaining and that proved to be the eventual game winner, however on the ensuing possession, the Bruins fortunes changed.
On the final play of the game, Adams contested a shot from Arizona’s Solomon Hill and landed wrong on his right foot. He was seen limping off of the court as the Bruins jumped in jubilation celebrating their win.
Those cheers reportedly turned into tears in the Bruins locker room postgame upon hearing of Adams’ season-ending injury. He suffered the same injury in high school.
Adams is the team’s second leading scorer, averaging 15 points per game and on Friday, the Bruins don’t win without him.
When Arizona took an 11-point lead in the second half, it seemed like the Wildcats had had enough and they were not going to be denied after dropping the two previous meetings this season.
Somehow, the Bruins dug deep and mustered up enough to mount a comeback and it was Adams leading the charge.
After helping the Bruins knife into the lead, Adams helped keep them afloat by scoring 13 straight UCLA points in just over four and a half minutes on his way to a game-high 24 points.
“I thought Jordan Adams was fantastic during that run when he came back and was in the zone,” UCLA head coach Ben Howland said. “I look at Jordan Adams again. That kid was not on the all-freshman team, so I want to reiterate that again.”
Adams made a statement for himself on Friday night and he did it in a variety of ways.
Adams came up with a steal underneath the Bruins basket and turned that into two points with a layup. In transition he took a the feed from Larry Drew II on a pitch ahead and used the glass to knock down a midrange jumper to get the Bruins within two, 53-51.
After Arizona’s Nick Johnson knocked down a three pointer to push the Wildcats lead up to five, Adams responded with a three of his own on the ensuing possession –the only three pointer of the game for the Bruins.
Arizona’s Mark Lyons was called for a double-dribble. Wildcats head coach Sean Miller disputed the call and was hit with a technical foul. Adams calmly walked up to the line and sank two free throws.
He also came back and hit a tough, off-balanced reverse hook shot to tie the game 58-58.
With UCLA nursing a one-point lead, Adams came up with a steal and was fouled on his way to the basket. He made two free throws to put UCLA up 64-61 with 1:13 left. Those would be his last points of the game and the season.
Adams getting hot and scoring 18 second half points was nothing new for his coaches or teammates. Howland’s been raving about him since the team’s trip to China last summer.
“It happens all the time,” Howland said.
Unfortunately for the Bruins that time has run out on this season.