Fluke of fate
The airball landed in Tyler Trapani's arms, and he flipped it into the basket before an Arizona Wildcats player could swat it away with 12 seconds to play.
Trapani didn't think of the implications until later - that he, the great-grandson of legendary UCLA coach John Wooden, would be the last player to score at Pauley Pavilion before its face-lift.
So touched by the fluke of fate, UCLA coach Ben Howland cried when addressing his team in the locker room afterward.
Trapani, a junior walk-on who played one minute last season and one this season before Saturday, said he too became emotional after the game. "That made me think of my great-grandpa, and he's up above, and he wants to be in a better place with Nell, my 'mah-mah.'
"It was great to be able to score the last basket in Pauley," he said.
The opponent was meaningful, too; Trapani visited Arizona and was invited by coach Lute Olson to be a manager before choosing UCLA.
Trapani, who wants to be a teacher, will miss the building's current configuration. He started going to UCLA games at age 5.
"I knew where the bathrooms were. I knew where the snack bar was," he said. "I knew there was a farmers market outside to go buy food before the game."
Late TV start
Fox Sports Arizona didn't carry the first four minutes and 53 seconds of the game, leaving some Tucsonans frustrated.
Instead, the station aired the Amphitheater High School boys basketball championship trophy ceremony - a cool moment, to be sure - but not the Pac-10 game of the year.
"The AIA game ran long, with all the fouls at the end," FSAZ spokesman Brett Hansen said. "We are obligated to finish covering an event like this for those who are watching it."
"I think we rose to the challenge."
UCLA forward Reeves Nelson, who scored 27 points and grabbed 16 rebounds
A $136 million construction project on the 46-year-old building will leave the Bruins homeless next season; they'll likely play most games at the Honda Center in Anaheim, and could make appearances at the Los Angeles Sports Arena and Staples Center.
The overhaul will install an all-new seating bowl with better sight lines. Also new: a new scoreboard, the basketball floor, the locker rooms, and the film room, plus more bathrooms and concession stands, and club seating.
"This particular building has stood the test of time," said former UCLA assistant Denny Crum, a Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer as the boss at Louisville. "But guess what? Now it's time to move on.
"I don't have to tell you that this is the last home game in this building as we know it. It will still be Pauley Pavilion, but it will be a new Pauley Pavilion."
To honor the arena, the Bruins wore throwback jerseys from the 1963-64 national championship team, UCLA's first men's basketball title.
Fans participated in a "blue-out" - ineffective, as the Bruins have more shades of blue than the planet Pandora - and were allowed to take photos on the court after the game. They lingered more than two hours with a "Thanks for the memories" sign overhead.
1971 title team honored
UCLA honored the 40th anniversary of its 1971 title Saturday.
At halftime, most members of the team took to the floor, including National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Famer Sidney Wicks, whose No. 35 is retired by UCLA, and UCLA Hall of Famer Curtis Rowe.
Without Wooden, the UCLA turned to two of his assistants from that team, Gary Cunningham and Crum.
"This is one of my favorite teams, if not my favorite, (that) I was around during my tenure at UCLA," Cunningham said.
The 1971 squad went 29-1. The Bruins introduced Wooden's son Jim and daughter Nan to a roaring crowd.
"This was coach Wooden's team," Cunningham said.
The big number
John Wooden's record at Pauley Pavilion. UCLA's other coaches have compiled a 488-97 record.