Call it an off night, yet still good enough to get the job done.
With a half dozen Phoenix Suns front office personnel in attendance, including managing partner Robert Sarver and general manager Ryan McDonough, Lonzo Ball, one of college basketball’s best players, scored a season-low four points but had a season-best 11 rebounds and five assists to lead No. 5 UCLA past Arizona State, 87-75, in front of a sellout crowd of 10,176 at Wells Fargo Arena on Thursday.
It was the Bruins’ sixth straight win.
With Ball’s shot not falling — he missed four of his six attempts — T.J. Leaf led UCLA (25-3, 12-3) in scoring with 25 points. Aaron Holiday (17), Bryce Alford (15) and Ike Anigbogu (12) also reached double figures.
At one point late in the first half, Ball exited the game and retreated into the locker room.
Leaf made 11-of-16 field goals, while Holiday and Alford combined for seven 3-pointers.
It was inside the paint, however, where UCLA enjoyed its biggest advantage, outscoring ASU, 50-22.
Unable to match the Bruins’ size, the Sun Devils (13-16, 6-10) were outrebounded by 19, 49-30, while UCLA’s 17 offensive boards led to 31 second-chance points.
Torian Graham had 17 of his game-high 28 points in the first half for the Sun Devils. Kodi Justice added 19 and Shannon Evans 11, while Obinna Oleka recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
ASU, which trailed by as many as 18 points, dropped to 0-7 against teams in the AP Top 25 this season.
Scoring six points, including a 3-pointer, in the game’s first seven minutes, Graham helped the Sun Devils jump out to an early 14-10 lead at the 13:27 mark. It was their largest lead of the first half, aided by UCLA missing 8-of-10 field goal attempts.
Over the last six minutes of the first half, Graham scored 11 of the Sun Devils’ 15 points. He made a trio of 3-pointers plus a dunk. His 17 first-half points marked a game-high as he made 5-of-8 field goal attempts, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Coming out of the locker room, the Sun Devils exploded for seven straight points with Graham scoring five, including a 3-pointer, and Evans two. ASU outscored UCLA 13-5 to open the second half, pulling to within 50-49 on an Evans dunk at the 15:22 mark.
Down two midway through the first half, UCLA went on a 13-3 run, punctuated by Ball’s 35-foot alley-oop pass to Anigbogu, to go ahead 29-21 at the 6:18 mark. The stretch included the Bruins’ first made 3-pointer, a shot by Alford, snapping six straight misses from beyond the arc.
At one point in the first half, UCLA made eight consecutive field goals. Leaf hit No. 8 with a lay-up assisted by Holiday to put the Bruins ahead 38-27 at the 3:49 mark. Leaf scored a team-best 16 points through the first 20 minutes, making 8-of-10 field goals, with three rebounds and one assist.
While the Sun Devils missed nine of 10 field goal attempts, UCLA went on a 15-3 run to put the game out of reach midway through the second half. Isaac Hamilton’s lay-up at the 5:24 mark made it 78-60, the Bruins’ largest lead of the game. Hamilton also had two assists during this stretch.
STAT OF THE GAME
50: UCLA was a plus-18 in points in the paint, outscoring the Sun Devils 50-22, including 32-10 in the first half.
HE SAID IT
“I trust those guys,” head coach Bobby Hurley said, referring to his starters playing 199 of the 200 total minutes. “It’s a big game. Top-5 team, so it was more of a feel thing to stick with those guys most of the way.”
-At the 13:06 mark of the second half is when Hurley first went to his bench, inserting Ramon Vila.
-Of UCLA’s first 29 points, 24 came in the paint; plus they had a 12-0 second-chance points lead.
-The sellout was ASU’s first since 10,876 watched the Sun Devils upset Arizona on Feb. 7, 2015.
-For a third time this year, ASU wore its 1960s throwback Adidas uniforms honoring Joe Caldwell.
-Voice of the Arizona Cardinals Dave Pasch and Hall of Famer Bill Walton had the call on ESPN2.
In three days, yet another 20-win team will visit Wells Fargo Arena.
The USC Trojans (21-6, 8-6) invade the Valley for a game on Sunday, Feb. 26. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
The Sun Devils lost the first meeting back in January, 82-79. Graham scored 18 of his team-high 24 points in the second half but missed a game-tying 3-pointer with six seconds left. Oleka added a double-double (17 points and 14 rebounds) in what was ASU’s fourth straight defeat.
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