College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, December 28, 2012
When the UCLA Bruins lost at Georgetown, it was understandable. But, after home losses to Cal Poly and San Diego State, there were those declaring the Bruins' season a bust, and college hoops at Pauley Pavilion a dead issue.
However, five straight wins later, like Mark Twain, reports of the Bruins' death may have been greatly exaggerated.
On Friday night, UCLA hosted the #7 Missouri Tigers and their superlative point guard, Phil Pressey, who lit up the arena with 12 assists in the first half en route to a career-high 19 for the game. Despite Pressey's efforts, though, the Tigers couldn't pull away from the Bruins, the scored knotted at 47 at the break.
The second half was more of the same. More crisp passes from Pressey, more spurts from David and Travis Wear, more scoring by both Pressey and the Bruins' standout freshman, Shabazz Muhammad. Trailing by eight with under five minutes to play, UCLA rallied to tie the game at 88-all and send it into overtime.
In the extra period, it was the Bruins who dictated pace and made plays. Muhammad scored a key three-pointer with 1:01 to play which gave UCLA the lead for good, finally prevailing, 97-94, improving their record to a respectable 10-3.
Muhammad led all scorers with 27 points, tying his career high. Pressey led Missouri with his own career high, 19 points.