WESTWOOD—After Norman Powell came crashing to the floor of Pauley Pavilion, number six seemed all but a certainty.
Loss number six, that is.
Having mounted a 19-4 comeback that brought the seemingly demoralized UCLA basketball team within puncher’s range of the Stanford Cardinal, losing Powell to a hip contusion was a back-breaking blow.
But Powell’s dejected exit from his home court didn’t mark the last fans saw of number four.
After UCLA mounted a spirited defensive stand, the game went to overtime, a see-saw five minute period in which the Bruins took the lead on a Bryce Alford three-point shot, only to see Alford foul Chasson Randle.
Leading by a point, Randle proceeded to sink his first free throw, only to see the second one clunk off the back of the rim.
Then came the second overtime, and the return of Powell.
With Powell limping around the court, the Bruins played an inspired final period, highlighted by an emphatic dunk by center Tony Parker and a sweeter than sweet floater by guard Issac Hamilton, who enjoyed a little redemption after being beaten by Randle all night.
Nursing a three-point lead with seconds to play, Powell’s gritty effort was capped by a defensive rebound and a trip to the charity stripe.
Anyone wondering how Powell’s rash of injuries would effect his shooting were quickly silenced, as Powell sank both attempts to secure the 86-81 double overtime victory.
With that, the Bruins secured their first victory in PAC-12 play and their 10th consecutive victory over the Cardinal.
Will the stands flood with blue and gold once more? Fans will have to wait until Sunday’s home tilt with rival California to know for sure whether or not this winter’s nightmare is truly over.