The UCLA Bruins were behind for most of the game but they took advantage of all 40 minutes, and then some, to erase a 14 point deficit and defeat the Michigan State Spartans in overtime.

The turning point of the game was the end of the first half. An altercation between Tom Izzo and Gabe Brown for a blown defensive play certainly got everybody’s attention. As the two went to the locker room, there was some yelling and Izzo grabbed Brown’s jersey to get his attention.

It was reported that the team settled things in the locker room but at that time, the Spartans were up 11. It’s difficult to prove that what happened resulted in Michigan State losing but a lot of people are surely going to think that in the days to come.

Anyway, as the second half started, UCLA was clawing back and eventually took the lead with 5:47 left in regulation. To get to OT, the Bruins had two plays that went in their favor. The first was a result of Jaime Jaquez Jr. going all one-man show by getting his own rebound off a missed free throw and then making the layup while getting the foul. The amount of contact for the foul was a bit generous but regardless, UCLA got the old-fashioned three and tied things up with 28.7 seconds left.

The second play was an attempted Michigan State shot with a few seconds to go. What originally looked like Michigan State’s ball turned out to be UCLA’s and they held possession through the final whistle in regulation.

In overtime, UCLA ran the show. Outscoring Michigan State 9-3, the Bruins got things started with two quick jumpers from Johnny Juzang. The key to overtime is to get out to an early lead. Five minutes sounds like a lot of time but it really isn’t and a quick lead can really put a team on tilt. That’s just what happened with UCLA as after they scored their two early buckets, a dunk and three free throws in the final minute sealed the deal.

With the win, UCLA will face BYU in the East Region. As for Michigan State, they will look at the game as a missed opportunity as they will have felt they let things slip away.

 

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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