Jordan Adams walked to the end of the bench, called over a trainer and pointed to his legs.LAS VEGAS --- Midway through the second half of his team's 82-63 Pac-12 quarterfinal victory over Oregon, UCLA guard
Déjà vu? Another season-altering injury at the Pac-12 tournament?
"Nope, just a cramp," Adams said with a chuckle.
UCLA is glad Adams survived intact because he was one of the keys to one of the Bruins' most impressive victories. The 6-foot-5 sophomore scored a team-high 15 points, grabbed five rebounds and nabbed three steals as the second-seeded Bruins broke open a tight game after halftime and advanced to a semifinal matchup against either Stanford or Arizona State.
Just being on the MGM Garden Arena floor against Oregon was a relief for Adams after what he endured this time last season. One night after scoring 24 points in a Pac-12 semifinal victory over Arizona but breaking his foot on the final play of the game, Adams helplessly sat on the bench with a cast on his foot as Oregon toppled UCLA 78-69 in the title game.
"As soon as I stepped onto the court and I saw Oregon run on, I was like, 'Oh, I'm glad I'm playing this time,'" Adams said. "They beat us here last year when I broke my foot, and I was dying to play in that game. That was a memory I never forgot. I really wanted to get this W tonight."
If the success of Adams was a surprise last season since he was less heralded than fellow freshmen Shabazz Muhammad, Kyle Anderson and Tony Parker, the high-scoring wing is a known commodity now. Every opposing coach asks his best wing defender to check Adams, yet the UCLA standout has increased his scoring average to 17.5 points per game, his field goal percentage to a solid 47.6 and his 3-pointing shooting to 37.1 percent.
"I think he's getting to the hole and finishing better this year," Anderson said. "Last year, I think teams feared him as a spot-up shooter, but he's doing a good job of putting it on the floor and scoring. Defenses are designed more to stop him now, but he's not letting that bother him."
How much Adams scores has been one of the few accurate barometers for how this sometimes schizophrenic UCLA team will play. When Adams scores 11 or more points, UCLA is 23-2. When Adams scores 10 or fewer, the Bruins are 1-5.
Adams scored a fairly effortless 15 points on 12 shots Thursday, getting to the rim, finishing in transition and also sinking a 3-pointer. Afterward he walked off the court healthy and smiling, a huge improvement over his previous game on this floor last season.
"I can't tell you how hurt I was to not only watch a teammate get hurt but someone who I came in with and someone who I was very close with," Anderson said. "For him to give us what he gave us tonight, it was great. I was happy for him and proud of our team."
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