Friday night’s game against No. 7 Missouri is the reason why Shabazz Muhammad decided to play for UCLA. He committed to the Bruins in order to play in big games and in the biggest of his young career he stepped up and propelled UCLA to an upset.
Muhammad hit two three pointers and had all but two of UCLA’s nine points in overtime as the Bruins knocked off the Tigers 97-94. Every time it seemed like Missouri was starting to pull away the Bruins made a run to stay in the game. On top of that, whenever UCLA needed a big bucket Muhammad would step up, whether it was in regulation or in overtime.
The freshman, if you can call him that after that performance, finished the game with a career high 27 points on 10-19 shooting, including 3-4 from beyond the arc. If you look at the rest of his stat line from the game it may look like he didn’t contribute much but his presence was felt in a big way.
Muhammad was the second best recruit in the 2012 class and he was also a part of UCLA’s top rated recruiting class this season. After sitting out at the beginning of the year due to eligibility issues Muhammad got off to a slow start even when he became eligible. However, he has come on strong of late averaging 24.3 points in the three previous games leading up to the Missouri matchup.
He continued that strong play Friday night and he was one of the main reasons that UCLA came away with the upset. The Bruins have had their struggles to begin this season but if they continue to get the type of performances, from their freshman, that they got tonight they have nothing to worry about as the season progresses.
Watch out Pac 12, UCLA is starting to gain their swagger back.
David LaRose is one of the featured College Basketball writers for Rant Sports covering the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado. He’s also a member of the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association of America. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page