On Thursday, the Wildcats did what no other team had done before when they knocked Colorado out of the PAC-12 tournament. Friday night, they will be tasked with beating UCLA for the first time this season.
The Bruins had to battle back in order to win their opener in the PAC-12 tournament. Arizona State gave UCLA all it could handle, but fell short in the bid for the upset 75-80.
As a team, UCLA shot 43-percent from the field and 41-percent from behind the arc. Getting shots to fall was vital for the Bruins, as they trailed by eight at halftime. Late in the game, however, ASU tired and allowed UCLA to take over.
The Bruins were led by twenty points from Larry Drew II. The senior hit eight of ten shots with some big plays down the stretch. He also added to his UCLA single season record for assists with four against the Sun Devils.
It wasn't Jordan Adams' day on Thursday, but he is a player that should be kept an eye on against Arizona. The freshman guard missed ten of his twelve shots, but finished with ten total points due in large part to six free throws. He has been one of the more reliable players for UCLA this year and will look to bounce back on Friday.
The final guard for the Bruins will be Kyle Anderson. The first year player only had five points in the game against Arizona State, but could present matchup problems for Arizona. His height poses a problem for the Wildcats, who have had Kevin Parrom guard him in the past.
One of the key players for UCLA is freshman forward Shabazz Muhammad. After having a quiet first half, he took over the game in the second period. Muhammad dominated at that point on his way to sixteen points and nine rebounds. The freshman is a player that Arizona will have to slow down in order to be successful.
The final member of the Bruins' starting lineup will be Travis Wear. The big man was a force on the court, matching up with ASU's bigs. Travis finished with 15 points, but had six important rebounds. It will be up to Kaleb Tarczewski to slow him down, a task that he has successfully completed before.
Travis' brother, David Wear, will come off the bench for UCLA. He played just seventeen minutes on Thursday, but will likely see more action as the tournament progresses. David was incredibly effective against the Sun Devils, getting to the line eight times, making seven of them. He tallied eleven points total, making him the fifth Bruin in double figures.
One of the toughest things to do in college basketball is beat a team three times in a season. Colorado felt as if it had beaten Arizona twice and couldn't get the win in the PAC-12 tournament.
The Bruins swept the season series from the Wildcats, but will have its hands full with them on Friday. Arizona played with a purpose against Colorado. That purpose is to to win the PAC-12 tournament and the road goes through top-seeded UCLA.