The UCLA Bruins pulled off a gusty, overtime win 97-94 against the No. 7 ranked Missouri Tigers at Pauley Pavilion. UCLA and Missouri started out the game strong with both teams scoring at a high percentage. The Bruins continued their good shooting, rebounding and overall play building their lead to double digits. Shabazz provided some consistent scoring during the Bruins early first half run.

The Wear twins David and especially Travis, who scored a career high of 22 points for the game, seemed unstoppable for the Tigers big men. Their rebounding, hustle plays and high percentage shooting caught Missouri off guard and created some foul problems for the Tigers big men, 6’8’ Laurence Bowers and 6’9’ Alex Oriakhi.

Missouri fought on the back of Phil Pressey’s scoring and his 12 assist, which was Missouri’s entire first half assist total. Along with Keion Bells outburst in the first half, the Tigers intensified their defense, began playing more physical and took control of the boards on the offensive end and the game overall.

The Tigers offensive rebounds and consistent put backs helped close the gap on the Bruins tying the game at the half on a last second bucket by Alex Oriakhi to close the half at 47-47. The basket by Oriahi at the end of the half was one of the few baskets he would score. The Tigers’ big man was handcuffed by foul trouble resulting from his inability to keep the Wear twins in check.

The Bruins came out after the half time with the hot hand. The Bruins hit their first six shots and at one point they were shooting 75% from the field but were only up a few points because Missouri also got hot, shooting a blistering 73% to stay close to the Bruins around the five minute mark.

The Missouri Tigers would make one more major run in the middle of the second half and it looked like the Tigers had the game in tow, building their own double digit lead, but the Bruins would fight back.

Shabazz Muhammad hit a few short baseline jumpers and then drove home a one hand statue of liberty slam dunk off the fast-break that really hyped up the Bruin fans. For the first time this season the UCLA fans was a six man for the Bruins. Bill Walton, the ESPN analyst for the game tonight, was in full regalia, as he documented history and quoted John Wooden as he saw Missouri literally give the game to the Bruins with turnovers and easy shots missed.

To UCLA’s credit the Bruins took advantage of Missouri’s turnovers and missed shots turning a deficit into a positive. The Bruins went on an 11-2 run in the last five minutes of the game tying the score on a Jordan Adams drive to the basket with a left handed layup in regulation.

The overtime started slow for both teams scoring wise until Larry Drew II would drive and dish his tenth and eleventh assist to Shabazz Muhammad for two clutch 3 point baskets down the home stretch of the game. Jabari Brown would answer with a three but it was not enough. The highly touted freshmen Shabazz Muhammad had a game high 27 points.

Larry Drew’s last assist and twelfth for the game found Travis Wear posted up in the lane where he would score on a little hook shot over the outstretched hands of a Missouri Tigers defender. Phil Pressey pulled up for a game tying three but missed long. The Tigers got the offensive rebound but their last second heave went unanswered and the Bruins won.        

The Bruins took several punches by Missouri but the Bruins never let the hits knock them out. The Bruins have come a long way. UCLA’s play against the Missouri Tigers put them miles away from their loss at the hands of Cal State San Luis Obispo. Now that we have seen where they have come from now we wait to see where they are going … ask Bill Walton, “Where has all this been, if they play like this” …