LAS VEGAS — Freshman Jordan Adams carried UCLA into the Pacific-12 Conference tournament championship game.
Now the Bruins will have to carry on without him.
Adams scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half before breaking his right foot on the game’s final play, helping No. 21 UCLA beat No. 18 Arizona for the third time this season, a 66-64 victory Friday night that sends the Bruins to the title game against Oregon.
Adams, UCLA’s second-leading scorer at 15.2 points per game, limped off the floor after Arizona’s final shot attempt. X-rays showed a broken fifth metatarsal, putting a damper on UCLA’s win and the rest of its postseason.
“The very last play of the game when they were shooting, somehow he came down and tweaked his foot,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said.
The Bruins (25-8) fought back from an 11-point second-half deficit after pulling off a similar rally against Arizona State in the quarterfinals. Adams triggered it, scoring 17 points in the final 9:57, including 15 straight during one stretch.
Kyle Anderson put UCLA in front on a putback with 22 seconds to play and Arizona’s Solomon Hill missed a midrange jumper, sending the Bruins into tonight’s title game.
“The leaders on our team stressed to the five guys that are out there that we have to stay calm, being down 11 or 9 or whatever it was,” said Anderson, who had 10 points. “I think that’s what we did a really good job of and we were able to fight back for a second time and end up with the win.”
Arizona (25-7) was effective in slowing down Shabazz Muhammad and Larry Drew II, but had no answer for Adams once he got going in the second half.
Muhammad finished with 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting after a quiet first half; Drew went scoreless.
Adams made up for it with his 6-of-13 shooting from the field and 11-of-13 accuracy from the line for the Pac-12 regular-season champs in an entertaining game at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Brandon Ashley had 15 points, Mark Lyons added 13 and Kaleb Tarczewski had 13 rebounds for the Wildcats, who are likley assured of a spot in the NCAA tournament but could drop a few seeds after a late-season slide and the loss to UCLA.
“I don’t know what seed we’re going to get,” Arizona coach Sean Miller sad. “We played well from start to finish and we lost. It’s hard when you lose to a team three times.”
UCLA beat Arizona twice during the regular season, 84-73 in Tucson and 74-69 at home for its first season sweep since 2007-08.
UCLA got off to a slow start in its opening game of the Pac-12 tournament, rallying from a 15-point deficit to beat Arizona State 80-75 in the quarterfinals.
Arizona built a 14-point lead in its opener, but couldn’t shake Colorado until late for a 79-69 win.
After the quarterfinal win, the Wildcats said they were looking forward to getting a chance for revenge against the Bruins. They played with an extra intensity, too, particularly on defense, cutting off lanes and knocking players to the floor.
Hounded by Nick Johnson, Drew had trouble getting into the lane, where he does his most damage, and missed all three of his shots — with one assist — in a scoreless first half.
UCLA missed all five of its 3-point attempts in the first half and shot 11 of 32 with just two assists.
In the second half, the Wildcats couldn’t stop Adams and became frustrated with the officiating — Miller received his first technical foul of the season — and let the game slip away.
Oregon 64, Utah 45: In the semifinal nightcap, Damyean Dotson and E.J. Singler scored 14 points each for Oregon, which raced away from Utah early.
Oregon (25-8) had its regular-season conference title chances spoiled by Utah (15-18) last weekend, but gave the Utes no chance of a repeat upset. The third-seeded Ducks built a 14-point lead in the first half and kept the cushion near double figures the rest of the way.
Oregon also stifled Jarred DuBois and Jordan Loveridge, Utah’s top two scorers, all night. DuBois missed all eight of his shots and went scoreless, while Loveridge had eight points on 1-of-10 shooting.
Utah shot 29 percent, including 5-of-17 shooting from 3-point range.