LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Steve Lavin is determined to go out with a bang.
The embattled UCLA coach pulled off one of the biggest wins of his career as the Bruins, dead and buried in the eyes of most observers, stunned top-ranked Arizona, 96-89, in overtime in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 tournament.
"I am so proud of the seniors," Lavin said. "I feel that we are playing our best basketball once again late in the year and have the opportunity to send Ray Young and Jason Kapono across the finish line."
With UCLA struggling through its worst season in 60 years, there has been considerable speculation that Lavin will be fired at the end of the year.
But after seven years of constant criticism, Lavin survived to coach at least one more game with the Bruins (10-18), who posted the biggest upset in college basketball this season.
"We're in a single elimination game format," Lavin said. "If you win, you advance."
"This was a big game for the team and coach Lavin," Young said. "It's tough being a coach and player at UCLA. You get a lot of scrutiny throughout the year. Coach Lavin stuck with us the whole year. He has kept us motivated and helped us win all year."
Arizona (25-3), which had a 10-game winning streak snapped, beat UCLA in the two regular-season meetings by 35 and 36 points, 87-52 at Pauley Pavilion and 106-70 at the McKale Center.
But the Bruins, who needed to win their final two regular-season games just to get into the Pac-10 tournament, were determined to go down fighting in this one, erasing a 12-point deficit in the final 10 minutes of regulation.
"We had nothing to lose," UCLA forward Andre Patterson said. "Nobody gave us a shot. We wanted (the game) so bad. Coach Lavin always preaches about playing a 40-minute game. Today, we played a 45-minute game."
"They ended up with five guys in double figures and really overall I thought they played very well," Arizona coach Lute Olson said. "When they had to hit big shots, they hit big shots."
UCLA tied the game on Young's rainbow 3-pointer with 4.9 seconds remaining in the second half and never trailed in the overtime.
"I think they changed their defensive tone in the second half," Arizona center Channing Frye said. "I think they steadied a little bit more in that zone-type defense."
Kapono scored 26 points for the Bruins, who will face Oregon in Friday's semifinals. T.J. Cummings contributed 18 points and Young added 17 for UCLA.
"I guess the third time (against Arizona) was a charm for us," Cummings said.
Rick Anderson scored a career-high 23 points for the Wildcats, who will still likely receive a top seed in the West Region when the NCAA Tournament pairings are announced on Sunday.
"We just need to get back and get regrouped and be ready to play wherever they send us," said Olson, who pointed out the Wildcats lost two in a row going into the 1997 tournament, when they went on to win the national championship. "We got our hit. Let's see how well we bounce back from that."
After UCLA closed to 80-79 on Young's fallaway jumper with 1:32 left, Arizona's Jason Gardner, who struggled through a miserable 2-for-20 shooting effort, missed a pair of jumpers.
After calling back-to-back timeouts, UCLA took possession with 34.9 seconds left, only to have Kapono miss a foul-line jumper with 12 seconds left.
Salim Stoudamire hit a pair from the line to make it 82-79 with 11 seconds to go. The Bruins got the ball on the right wing to Young, who swished a 23-footer over Frye.
Gardner went the length of the floor on the ensuing possession, but missed a jumper at the buzzer.
"Tonight, the ball just wouldn't go in," Frye said. "We took really good shots, they just wouldn't go in."
UCLA carried the momentum into the overtime and never looked back. The Bruins got the first points of the extra period on Cummings' jumper and stretched their lead to 87-82 on Dijon Thompson's two foul shots with 3:19 left.
"This team kept fighting," Kapono said. "Finally, Ray made the last 3-pointer and we built upon that. Even though we had a tough stretch this season, we are playing are best basketball now."
UCLA held off Arizona by converting 10-of-12 foul shots in the final 3:40 of overtime. Arizona made only 2-of-11 shots in the period.
The Wildcats hit only 7-of-36 3-pointers, with Gardner incredibly missing all 12 of his shots from beyond the arc. Overall, Arizona shot just 37.5 percent (33-of-88).
Knowing that Lavin could have been coaching his final game, UCLA came out fired up, opening a 33-26 lead on Cummings' jumper with 8:06 left in the first half.
But Arizona began to assert itself and, like in the two previous meetings, appeared to have too many weapons. The Wildcats took a 43-41 halftime lead on Anderson's 3-pointer with 35 seconds to play in the half and stretched their lead to 58-46 on Frye's dunk with 10:45.
Frye also scored 23 points for Arizona, which outscored UCLA in the paint, 48-34. But the Wildcats could not put away the contest and lost a chance to defend their tournament title from a year ago.