Jordan Adams, Kaleb Tarczewski foul helped UCLA top Arizona for the third time


The third time was not the charm for Arizona. After dropping the first two meets with UCLA, a Kyle Anderson offensive rebound and putback with 24 seconds remaining gave the Bruins a 66-64 win, their third victory in as many tries against the Wildcats while advancing to Pac-12 Tournament championship game.

However, Anderson’s bucket wasn’t the most important play of the game. Jordan Adams, who scored a game-high 24 points picked Mark Lyons with UCLA leading 62-61 with 1:19 remaining. Adams looked to get a transition bucket but Arizona 7-footer Kaleb Tarczewski wrapped up the fellow freshman, keeping Adams from scoring, but taking his fifth foul in the process.

Adams would connect on both free throws, giving the Bruins a 64-61 advantage. Arizona’s other freshman big, Grant Jerrett also made a key play down the stretch, tying the game with a 3-pointer. Adams tried to respond, but missed, Kyle Anderson — another freshman — was able to bully his way past his defender and collect the rebound for the offensive rebound and game-winning score.

Solomon Hill’s three was off the mark as UCLA hung on.

Arizona won the rebound war, grabbing 35 to UCLA’s 28. However, Tarczewski had over a third of the team’s rebounding with 13 boards (four of nine offensive). Take away his production on the glass and the Bruins had a six-point edge in the rebounding department. Without Tarczewski on the floor, it left a whole in the middle, one Anderson took advantage of.

The third act of this Arizona-UCLA series featured many big-time plays from freshmen on both sides, however, a foul from the 7-foot freshman  looks to be the most critical of them all.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.