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.