Saturday, January 12, 2013
Rapid Reaction: UCLA 78, Colorado 75
By Peter Yoon
UCLA extended its winning streak to nine games by completing a sweep of a mountain road trip with a 78-75 victory Saturday at Colorado. Here's a quick breakdown:
How it happened: Colorado's Askia Booker missed a 3-point shot at the final buzzer, and UCLA, which led by 13 points with eight minutes to play and still had a six-point lead with under a minute to go, held on.
The Bruins (14-3, 4-0 Pac-12) took a 70-63 lead on a jump shot by Travis Wear with 1:25 to play, and that's when the Buffaloes (11-5, 1-3) began to foul. UCLA made 8 of 11 free throws down the stretch, but Spencer Dinwiddie and Booker combined for 12 points in the final 1:08 to keep Colorado in the game.
Neither team led by more than four points in the first half, which featured 13 lead changes and four ties. Dinwiddie made a 15-foot jumper at the first-half buzzer, but the Bruins took a 35-34 lead into halftime.
The Bruins looked as if they would run away in the second half, building a 58-45 lead by holding Colorado without a field goal for a stretch of 6 minutes, 27 seconds.
Colorado's Josh Scott scored eight points during a 15-5 run by the Buffaloes that cut the lead to five points, but UCLA kept Colorado at bay.
Wear scored a career-high 23 points, and Jordan Adams had 18 for the Bruins. Shabazz Muhammad added 14 points and four rebounds, and Kyle Anderson had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Dinwiddie had 23 points for Colorado, and Booker and Scott had 18 each.
Player of the game: Wear was big in the clutch again for UCLA. He scored nine consecutive UCLA points during a stretch of three and a half minutes as Colorado tried to make its run. He got hotter as the game went on, as he had only two points before slamming an alley-oop with 3:38 left in the first half. He scored six of UCLA's first nine points in the second half to get the Bruins rolling and had 15 of his 23 after halftime. He made 11 of 17 shots in the game.
Stat of the game: The Bruins shot 51.7 percent from the field, marking the fifth time in the past seven games that they have shot over 50 percent. That performance came despite Muhammad, UCLA's leading scorer for the season, shooting only 6-of-16 (37.5 percent) from the field. Muhammad was 9-of-29 (31 percent) on the two-game road trip, but UCLA showed its scoring depth by winning both games.
What it means: UCLA is a legitimate contender for the Pac-12 title. The jury was still out because the Bruins hadn't played a true road game before this week, but the road sweep -- including in a very difficult environment at Colorado -- should restore some credibility for the Bruins and get them a spot back in the national Top 25.
What's next: UCLA returns home for a Pac-12 game against Oregon State on Thursday at 6 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPNU.