UCLA tops Washington to claim Pac-12 season crown
Seattle, WA (Sports Network) - Shabazz Muhammad poured in a game-high 21 points to lead 23rd-ranked UCLA to a 61-54 win over Washington on Saturday.
With the win, and No. 19 Oregon's loss to Utah, UCLA (23-8, 13-5 Pac-12) earned its fourth regular-season title -- all outright -- under coach Ben Howland. The Bruins also captured the top seed in the upcoming Pac-12 Tournament.
UCLA won three straight conference crowns from 2006-2008 under Howland.
"We've got to go into that conference tournament and try to win it and that's our goal," Howland said. "We're the No. 1 seed, we won the regular season, now we have to win the conference tournament. And we know how hard it is going to be."
Jordan Adams finished with 17 points and four steals and Travis Wear chipped in 10 points for the Bruins.
Scott Suggs scored 14 points and Shawn Kemp Jr. added 10 for the Huskies (17-14, 9-9), who had a three-game winning streak snapped.
I don't think we lost any confidence today but we know we need to limit our turnovers," Suggs said. "That was a big influence today, so I'm sure we'll focus on that for the next couple of days."
Abdul Gabby's layup with just under six minutes left gave Washington a 52-48 edge, but the Bruins scored nine unanswered points to take a 57-52 lead with 1:14 remaining.
Kemp Jr stopped the bleeding with a slam with 1:07 left. The Huskies the shut down UCLA on the ensuing possession, but Larry Drew II worked his way to the hoop for a layup as the shot clock expired.
Andrews turned in over with 21 seconds left and Jordan Adams sunk a pair of free throws accounted for the final margin.
Washington jumped out to an early 11-4 lead following Wilcox's trey just over three minutes in. UCLA battled back and trimmed its deficit to 18-16 following a Muhammad 3-pointer near the midway point of the half. The teams traded makes until Jordan Adams buried a jumper at the 7:03 mark to tie the game at 22-22.
Muhammad's layup with just under 4 1/2 minutes left gave the Bruins their first lead of the game, but it was shortlived as Wilcox and Scott Suggs canned back-to-back triples to give the Huskies a 31-26 lead with 3:21 remaining.
UCLA scored the final four points to the half to go into the break trailing 31-30.
The Bruins opened the second half on a 10-2 surge to go up 40-33. Andrew Andrews 3-pointer pulled Washington within 40-39, but UCLA was able to push its spread back to 45-41 with just over 10 minutes left.
Abdul Gaddy buried a jumper to ignite an 11-3 run to put the Huskies on top, 52-48.
UCLA scored 29 points off 19 Washington turnovers ... Drew II finished with seven points and six assists ... Drew II became UCLA's single-season assists leader, passing Pooh Richardson ... Washington shot just 35.7 percent from the field in the second half.
03/09 21:29:01 ET