This time, he didn’t get the chance.
Larry Drew II ignored Muhammad clapping for the ball at the top of the key and launched a jumper of his own at the buzzer, lifting UCLA to a 59-57 victory over Washington on Thursday night, ending a two-game skid.
“The defense pretty much dictated it,” Drew II said. “My eyes were on the rim and I just had an opening and had confidence in my shot.”
The fall-away jumper by Drew II over Washington defender Shawn Kemp Jr. was his third game-winning basket of the season.
“I wanted the ball, but Larry is such an aggressive player,” Muhammad said. “When the ball went up I knew it was going to be good. Everyone was attacking him. I knew he was either going to have something broken or come up with some scratches.”
Drew II, the Bruins’ lone senior, emerged from his teammates’ celebration unscathed and glad that coach Ben Howland didn’t call one of his numerous timeouts as the seconds ticked down.
“I don’t think he wanted to slow us down,” Drew II said. “He just let me go. Coach Howland had an idea in situations like that what I can do.”
Howland said he probably would have called a high pick-and-roll for Drew II if he had used a timeout.
“He did a great job waiting until the final second to shoot the ball, worst case scenario we’re going to overtime,” he said. “That play was all on his own.”
Shabazz Muhammad had 22 points and eight rebounds for the Bruins (14-9, 6-4 Pac-12). Drew II and Travis Wear added nine points each as the Bruins overcame their worst shooting game of the season to win. Drew II had six assists and is best known for feeding his teammates.
“I’m a pass-first point guard, old school if you want to call it that,” he said. “We have so many horses and so many guys I can get the ball to and fill up the basket, I feel like my playmaking ability for others is equally or better than to put the ball in the basket myself.”
Drew II made another big play with 1:26 to play when he stole the ball and found Muhammad alone at the other end. Muhammad took the pass and a step toward the basket before finishing with a one-handed dunk, part of his own 5-0 run for the Bruins.
“We weren’t shooting the ball well at all,” Muhammad said. “Him stealing the ball and for him to step up and hit that big shot, he’s our senior leader.”
Aziz N’Diaye had 11 points and a career-high 18 rebounds to record his 10th double-double of the season for Washington (13-10, 5-5), which has lost six of its last seven games. C.J. Wilcox scored 15 points and Abdul Gaddy added 13.
“We needed this game big-time, but it slipped away from us,” Gaddy said. “We knew at the end of the shot clock we wanted to make Drew take a tough shot and we were going to bring it to make sure Shabazz didn’t get it. We felt confident that if we could get to overtime we could win the game.”
With the Bruins clinging to a 56-55 lead, Muhammad made one of two free throws. Wilcox’s lay-up tied the game at 57 with 10 seconds left.
“Whether it was Larry Drew or someone else, we shouldn’t have been in that position,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said.
The Bruins shot 33 percent and were out-rebounded 46-36 but stayed close due to 19 Washington turnovers. They were coming off a 75-71 home loss to USC a week ago.
“The USC loss was such a bad loss, but we know we can play with anybody in the country,” Muhammad said. “If they’re going to doubt us and say we can’t play with anybody, we know we can.”
The teams traded baskets for much of the second half. Washington led 43-41 when the Bruins reeled off eight straight points to take their largest lead of the game, 49-43. Gaddy answered with the Huskies’ first 3-pointer of the game after they had missed their first 12 attempts. He made another one a few minutes later to close the Huskies to 52-51.
Norman Powell’s 3-pointer at the buzzer helped UCLA pull into a 28-all tie at halftime. The Bruins twice led by five points, then fell behind by three when the Huskies took their first lead since making the game’s opening basket. Drew II then fed Powell for the buzzer-beating shot.
Both teams shot under 40 percent in the half, when the Huskies had 13 turnovers and missed all five of their 3-point attempts.
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