The Bruins beat the #10 Arizona Wildcats easily with a great performance from Reeves Nelson, who had 27 points and 16 rebounds. This win put the Bruins tied for first in the Pac-10 standings with only 2 games left to play before the conference tournament.
John Wooden still lives on in Pauley Pavilion.
LOS ANGELES — The great-grandson of the late John Wooden scored UCLA’s final basket in the last men’s game to be played at historic Pauley Pavilion before it closes for renovation.
Tyler Trapani, a junior walk-on who seldom sees any playing time, made a layup from the left side after teammate Jack Haley Jr. airballed a 3-point attempt with 25 seconds left Saturday.
The Bruins defeated No. 10 Arizona 71-49 to tie the Wildcats for first place in the Pac-10.
Trapani made the basket in front of several Wooden family members, including the coaching legend’s son Jim and daughter Nan. Wooden died at 99 in June.
“When I got the ball, it was instinct to put it back up,” he said. “I knew I was close to the basket so I put it back up as fast as I could.”
UCLA coach Ben Howland had tears in his eyes at the way the game ended.
“I was thinking about Coach,” he said of the man who led the Bruins to 10 national championships. “It was so fitting Tyler hit the shot. It fell right in his hands. There’s something going on there, I really believe it.”
Wooden got to see Trapani play the final minute of UCLA’s game at the 2009 Wooden Classic in Anaheim, one of his relative’s few appearances in a game.
“It’s an emotional day,” Trapani said. “Just being out there is something I’ll never forget.”
What are the odds that his great-grandson would be under the basket to make the final basketball at Pauley Pavilion? Amazing!
This was the final game at Pauley Pavilion before they start renovation. Still no word on where the Bruins will play next season.
Picture Credit: Chris Williams/Icon SMI