If you’re a USC fan, this has to be very upsetting: UCLA isn’t playing great basketball, but the Bruins keep winning and winning and winning.
UCLA looked normal for the first 30 to 32 minutes of Thursday night’s game against Arizona State in Tempe. Several days earlier, UCLA looked normal for the first 30 minutes of its game against Colorado on January 14. A week earlier, on Jan. 5, UCLA looked normal for 39 minutes against USC. A week before that, UCLA looked normal for 35 minutes against Washington State in a game that trailed most of the way.
Game after game, UCLA has run into trouble in the last five to 10 minutes of regulation. However, whenever the Bruins get into trouble, they bail themselves out. It’s something that’s happened a lot in the Mick Cronin era. UCLA is at its best in the biggest moments of a game. That ability to make very few, if any, mistakes in late-game situations came up again Thursday night in Tempe.
UCLA trailed by six points with 11 minutes remaining and by five with 9:20 remaining. Then the Bruins, as they know how to do, hit the ground running when it mattered most. They held Arizona State to seven points in the final nine minutes, outscoring the Sun Devils for a 74-62 victory that was much more difficult than the final 12-point margin suggested. UCLA led by just three points with 2:35 remaining, but was flawless at the critical moment, remaining undefeated in Pac-12 play. Arizona State lost its second conference game and failed to create a tie for first place in the conference standings.
UCLA heads to Tucson for a big matchup with Arizona on Saturday afternoon. The state of Arizona prepares to host USC on Saturday night in Tempe.
Pac-12 women’s basketball rankings: USC is in the NCAA tournament mix, and every game is big
The story originally appeared on Trojans Wire