Written by By Tara Malone, CNN
No. 2 UCLA rallied from a 13-point deficit and held off Bellarmine by an 82-76 score on Sunday.
Bellarmine trailed by one point with just less than two minutes left, but UCLA sophomore Caleb Young made a 3-pointer and drew a foul to give the Bruins a three-point lead.
The Bellarmine guard made two of his three free throws, but at the final buzzer Bellarmine center Marcus Chambers missed a layup that would have brought the score to two.
On the possession after Chambers’ missed layup, freshman Aaron Holiday grabbed an offensive rebound, raced the other way and made a left-handed layup, bringing the Bruins back into the lead.
UCLA guard Aaron Holiday hit a left-handed layup that brought the Bruins back into the lead, 78-76 with 15 seconds remaining. CNN
But Bellarmine, from San Jose, put the ball up court and advanced to UCLA’s end of the court in hopes of stealing a final shot that would have sent the game into overtime.
UCLA (27-3, 16-2 Pac-12) will face No. 12 Oregon in a semifinal of the Pac-12 Tournament on Thursday. The Beavers defeated No. 8 Oregon State 82-67 on Sunday, handing the Beavers their first loss since Feb. 6.
By the end of the Bruins’ comeback victory, it was clear that Michigan State’s 74-66 loss to North Carolina on Saturday, had stolen a little bit of the edge from UCLA’s pocket.
But the No. 2 Bruins still have a shot at the conference championship. UCLA is currently the top seed in the conference tournament but may still change that depending on the seedings of games in the conference tournament.
UCLA head coach Steve Alford said at a postgame press conference that the Bruins’ game against Notre Dame in Wednesday’s quarterfinal was important for his team.
“If we can’t knock them out,” Alford said. “Next thing we know is Bellarmine is up 13, and I think for us that’s a point where we have to start getting a little bit deflated. And really start play the way we want to play.”