HOUSTON -- A few quick thoughts from UCLA's 65-63 victory over Texas at Reliant Stadium.
Overview: Jordan Adams scored 18 points and Shabazz Muhammad added 16 to lead UCLA to a 65-63, come-from-behind victory over Texas Saturday at Reliant Stadium. The Bruins improved to 6-3 while Texas fell to 5-4.
Texas appeared to have seized the momentum when a jumper by Ridley and a 3-pointer by Julien Lewis ignited an 8-2 run that left the Longhorns up 59-51. UCLA, however, battled back and eventually forced a tie on back-to-back three-point plays by Adams. With 1:15 remaining, it was 61-61.
Texas point guard Jevan Felix turned it over on the Longhorns' ensuing possession, and Muhammad was fouled in the act of shooting on the other end. Muhammad made one of two free throws to put UCLA ahead 62-61.
Texas missed a short jumper moments later and the Bruins again capitalized, this time on a fast-break lay-up that gave Ben Howland's team a 64-61 cushion with 22 ticks remaining.
Jonathan Holmes scored on a tough shot off the glass with 6.3 seconds left to pull the Longhorns within a point, 64-63. Adams then split a pair of free throws to make it 65-63 with 5.7 left. Texas couldn't have botched the final play any worse, as the 6-foot-7 Holmes dribbled up the court and fired an ill-advised 3-pointer at the buzzer that never hit the rim.
Turning point: Along with forcing a tie, Adams' second "and-one" lay-up with 1:15 remaining gave UCLA a huge boost of confidence and energy while putting Texas on its heels. The the Longhorns played tight the rest of the game.
Player of the game: Adams continues to outshine his more highly-touted freshmen teammates, Muhammad and Kyle Anderson. Adams scored 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting. He also pulled down seven rebounds. Adams entered the game averaging a team-high 17.8 points
For Texas, you could go with one of two freshmen: Cameron Ridley or Felix. Ridley, the eighth-ranked prospect in the Class of 2012 by ESPN.com, fished with a season-high 14 points. He did a great job of using his 6-foot-9, 270-pound frame to absorb contact and muscle up for tough baskets down low. Felix, the point guard who has been running the team in Myck Kabongo’s absence, scored 13 points and dished out four assists.
Key stat: Texas shot just 37.1 percent from the field.
Other observations: Staging a game in a huge football arena isn’t a very good idea. Especially in December, and especially in Texas, where fans simply don’t turn their attention to the sport until after bowl season. No matter what the attendance figures say, there weren’t more than 2,000 fans inside Reliant Stadium Saturday. ... Texas' streak of 14 straight NCAA tournament appearances under Rick Barnes appears in serious jeopardy.
Up next: Texas hosts Texas State on Dec. 15. UCLA hosts Prairie View A&M the same day.