With the win at Hec Ed and the Oregon loss at Utah, UCLA won the PAC 12 regular season championship outright and the #1 seed in the " >PAC 12 Tournament. UCLA's win gave them a fairly favorable tournament bracket. If the tournament goes to form, they could play their first two games against Stanford and Arizona, two teams they beat twice to get to the final. An accomplishment that was overlooked in winning the PAC 12 was Larry Drew II who set the single season UCLA assist record.
Nearing the end of his lone season at UCLA, senior point guard Larry Drew II carved a place at the top of the program’s record books. The North Carolina transfer set a new single-season assist record with his fourth on Saturday against, feeding the ball upcourt to forward David Wear for an open dunk at 13:10 in the second half. He broke Pooh Richardson’s old mark of 236, set in 1989. Drew entered the game ranked third in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.38) and assists per game (7.8).
Drew II was the leader of the players and Jay Bilas even called him the PAC 12 MVP. He was the point guard for the PAC 12's best team. Although I am not sure I agree, I do think Drew II earned the right to celebrate and enjoy this.
"After everything I've been through," Drew II said, struggling to get out the words, "it means a lot. I can't even put it into words. ... I'm numb right now. I can't feel nothing. I'm just happy."
The LA Times has an interesting article on the PAC 12 Championship entitled: "Underachieving Bruins are PAC 12 Champions."
Pac-12 officials borrowed the 2011-12 conference championship trophy from Washington's trophy case for a prop. A championship banner was unfurled. And Guard Larry Drew II, fighting through tears, was still coming to grips with the moment. "I'm numb right now," said Drew, whose layup with 33 seconds to play put the game out of reach. "Guys were following the Utah game. I was sitting there dazed. I heard everyone else start yelling and somebody poured a Sprite all over me." . . . UCLA (23-8 overall, 13-5 in Pac-12) had not won at Washington since 2004. The Bruins were fresh from an embarrassing loss to last-place Washington State on Wednesday. . . ."I told the guys, 'You get up for big games, they are big from now on,' " Drew said.
Drew has it right. As the Senior captian he has a great point. The players deserve a lot of credit today for what they accomplished. Another player who is frequently overlooked is Travis Wear. Travis carried UCLA in the first half of the UW game:
Forward Travis Wear’s right foot looks healed and he leads the game with 10 points.
Lastly, is one player who does get his share of credit, Shabazz Muhammad. There is an interesing article on raising Shabazz here. I hope Drew II is right about the players stepping up for big games, because Shabazz always does.
But with the bright lights on, freshman Shabazz Muhammad – whose preseason hype had also brought plenty of reservations – took over, scoring seven of UCLA's next nine points and giving the Bruins the lead back. He'd finish with 21 points – 14 in the second half – and six rebounds. It was one of his best offensive performances of the season. After the game, he held the team's Pac-12 trophy close to his face, trying to preserve the moment. "Shabazz is the player of the year in the conference," Howland said. "This win, I think probably, hopefully hammers that home."
Today is about the players. Congratulations Bruins. You won the PAC 12 Championship. It may not have always been pretty but the players earned all Bruins fan support. Go Bruins!