Playing without star freshman Shabazz Muhammad, who was ruled ineligible for an indeterminate amount of time by the NCAA last week, No. 13 UCLA escaped in overtime against UC Irvine, 80-79.
Two Jordan Adams free throws tied the game in regulation with seven seconds remaining for UCLA, but Irvine had a chance to win it when Will Davis was fouled and sent to the line with three seconds to go. He would miss both shots, sending it to overtime.
In overtime, a layup from senior guard Larry Drew II put UCLA up one with 17 seconds to go. Coming down the other direction, Michael Wilder drove to the basket for Irvine, but lost the ball. Irvine coach Russell Turner argued for a foul, but would not get it.
“That was a very fortunate win for us,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said after the game. “We got some lucky breaks with [Will] Davis missing some free throws. We have to tip our hats to UCI. They played exactly as I expected.”
The freshman Adams led the way for the Bruins with 26 points on 5-of-12 shooting and Drew II added 10 points and eight assists.
“It was a tough night for us, and we had a hard time hitting our field goals,” Adams said. “I just tried to get to the line and knock down some free throws and keep us in the game. I was just looking for openings and my team was making the right passes.”
So what went wrong for the Bruins? They only turned the ball over nine times, but shot 38 percent from the floor and were -11 on the boards. They don’t have much time to immediately correct it, as they return to the floor Thursday against James Madison.
To watch highlights of the end of regulation, click here.
For highlights of the end of overtime, click here.