Arizona basketball: Bittersweet night for Bruins guard

UCLA freshman Jordan Adams guards Arizona's Solomon Hill in the second half. In the final moments of the game, Adams broke his foot while trying to cover Hill.


LAS VEGAS - Jordan Adams limped from the X-ray room to his locker.

When he stopped, he didn't cry, sob or punch a wall in frustration.

One of the great games of his life turned crushing in literally the last second of Friday's 66-64 Pac-12 tournament semifinal win against the Arizona Wildcats.

When the UCLA freshman jumped out to contest Solomon Hill's missed jump shot in the waning seconds, he landed on the side of his right foot.

Twenty minutes after the game he'll be credited for swinging - the guard scored 24 points, including 13 in a row in the second half - Adams was told the news.

He broke the fifth metatarsal in his right foot, and is out for the rest of the year, however far UCLA goes.

"Everything happens for a reason," he said. "I'm just living with it."

He spoke quietly, standing in front of the locker on the ground floor of the MGM Grand Garden Arena, his right foot in a brace.

"Stuff happens in life," he said. "You just have to deal with it."

His teammates' eyes went from twinkly to tear-filled as word was passed around the locker room.

Forward Travis Wear didn't believe it at first.

"That's a huge loss for us, obviously," said Wear, who had 11 points and five rebounds. "That's a horrible loss for us. …

"Obviously, after what he did tonight, it's going to be hard to see beyond this and how we're gong to play beyond losing him."

How he played, was marvelous.

Adams shot as many free throws (13) as he did field goals. He made 11 of the freebies. He added two steals and two assists in 29 minutes.

"I think he's one of the best players on that team, if not the best player on that team," UA guard Mark Lyons said. "We have a lot of respect for Jordan Adams.

"He stays in attack mode. He never worries about if he misses the last shot."

The Wildcats put Nick Johnson on UCLA point guard Larry Drew II, and he didn't score. After focusing on co-Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Shabazz Muhammad, who had 11 points, the Wildcats treated Adams as the "third priority," Lyons said.

"He wasn't on the All-Freshman team, all that stuff," Lyons said. "He should have been. He's a great player."

Adams scored 13 straight until Muhammad made two free throws with 3:11 to play to give the Bruins a two-point lead.

"We have guys on this team that are capable of hitting tough shots at any time. Jordan showed that tonight," Wear said. "He was making contested shot after contested shot.

"When you get in a zone like that and the basketball hoop feels like it's 30 feet wide, you just keep feeding him."

Both of Adams' steals came in the final 4:37.

"When you see a teammate dig deep like that and start doing things that he does, and playing as hard as he does and putting you on his back, it makes you wanna work that much harder," Wear said.

UCLA coach Ben Howland said Adams "was fantastic during that run when he came back and was in the zone, and his teammates were finding him." He said some of the subtleties of his game Friday might be lost on the causal fan.

"I mean, you'd have to know our scheme to know how special some of the plays were," he said.

Which is what makes Friday's injury so disheartening.

The Bruins play only seven players with regularity, plus big man Tony Parker, who logged two minutes against the UA.

From a practical standpoint, the injury stings.

"We don't play a lot of guys," Wear said. "I don't even know if we're going to have a sub as a guard anymore."

From an emotional standpoint, though, it's far worse.

Contact reporter Patrick Finley at or 573-4145. On Twitter @PatrickFinley