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Late game plays make the difference for UCLA basketball

Senior point guard Larry Drew II tied his season-high with 14 points against Stanford.

By Chris Nguyen

Feb. 20, 2013 1:08 a.m.

When UCLA needed a clutch basket against Washington, freshman forward Shabazz Muhammad came off a screen stomping and demanding the ball, but redshirt senior point guard Larry Drew II ultimately kept the ball to hit the game-winning basket.

As the team mobbed Drew for his heroics, Muhammad was seen sulking off the court to the locker room – a move that received considerable criticism from the media.

But against Stanford, UCLA once again needed a bucket with time winding down. This time, Muhammad got the dish and delivered a four-point play to drive a nail in the coffin against the Stanford Cardinal.

Muhammad hasn’t shied away from big moments throughout the season and didn’t want to this time either.

“I knew I was going to come off the pick and shoot the shot because we really needed a big-time shot there,” Muhammad said.

But Muhammad wasn’t the only Bruin looking for big shots lately.

Former Bruin Bill Walton has been critical while commentating on UCLA games on television, often questioning coach Ben Howland’s decisions.

He did just that once again as UCLA took on Stanford.

When Howland called a timeout after a made basket, Walton turned to his fellow commentator and said, “The Bruins called a timeout? Well, I’ll let you explain that.”

Drew II’s Threes

Unable to keep defenses honest with his shot earlier in the season, teams have sagged off Drew to provide more help against Muhammad.

But in the last four games, Drew has shot 15-27, including 5-9 against Stanford for 14 points – tying his season-high.

“Second half of conference play teams have been playing off me,” Drew said.

“If I can make an open jumper, it makes it easier for those guys too. I had two threes in the first half, and I think Stanford recognized that and tried to pressure up a little bit. It opened up everything for the freshmen.”

Email Nguyen at [email protected].

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