Arizona tops UCLA in Pac-12 title game for 2nd straight year

LAS VEGAS — Courtney Ramey had missed all four of her previous 3-point attempts on Saturday night when the ball landed in her hands at the most critical moment.

Ramey shook off a defender then calmly drilled one off the top of the sideline with 16.7 seconds left to put Arizona ahead. The eighth-placed Wildcats hung on from there, beating No. 2 UCLA 61-59 in the Pac-12 Championship game.

“I kept telling myself the next shot was going to come in,” Ramey said. “My job was to do a play.

The Wildcats (28-6) strengthened their case for a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. UCLA (29-5) still hopes to clinch the No. 1 seed in the West and return to Las Vegas in two weeks for the regional.

It was the second straight year that Arizona defeated UCLA in the Pac-12 title game.

Arizona sophomore coach Tommy Lloyd can’t lose in Las Vegas. He’s 9-0 in this city, 8-0 at T-Mobile Arena and 6-0 in the Pac-12 tournament.

“It was a knockdown, a drag, and I had a feeling it was going to be like that,” Lloyd said. “So much respect for the UCLA program. Obviously they’re dealing with a lot of injuries right now, but they’re resilient, and I knew it was going to be like that.”

Ramey’s 3-pointer put the Wildcats ahead 60-58. The clutch shot came after teammate Azuolas Tubelis missed a 3 which was rebounded by Pelle Larsson, who handed the ball to Ramey.

UCLA guard Tyger Campbell was fouled with 6.8 seconds left, and he made the first free throw but missed the second. Tubelis hit one of two free throws with 5.8 seconds left, and UCLA’s Dylan Andrews missed a 3 at the buzzer to secure the victory for Arizona.

“Shooting wide open to win the game,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said. “Tyger fights for a missed free throw, but that has nothing to do with some of our bad fouls and defensive breakdowns. Those are controllable. I’m going to take Tyger to the line and put my career on the line with Tyger doubling it .”

Tubelis, the tournament’s most notable player, had 19 points and 14 rebounds for second-seeded Arizona. Oumar Ballo scored 13 points and Larsson 11.

Amari Bailey led top-seeded UCLA with 19 points. Campbell scored 16 points and Jaime Jaquez Jr. had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The Bruins knew coming in they wouldn’t have guard Jaylen Clark (lower leg) or Adem Bona (shoulder), and their problems only grew when two of Bona’s backups at the position got in trouble.

Mac Etienne and Kenneth Nwuba each committed four fouls in the second half, forcing Cronin to play at least one. Etienne fouled with 9:35 to go and Nwuba with 4:27 to go, meaning the Bruins had to play with a smaller roster the rest of the game.

Arizona wasn’t completely healthy either. Point guard Kerr Kriisa had played with a stubborn shoulder during the tournament.

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