UCLA rallied from behind at halftime then nearly squandered a 24-point lead to survive South Dakota, 85-82, Tuesday at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.
The Bruins (8-3) trailed much of the first half, but a Jaylen Hands buzzer-beating 3-pointer just before intermission sparked a run that gave UCLA a lead it only relinquished during a 13-second tie in the second half.
UCLA held South Dakota without a field goal for more than 10 minutes over one stretch, going on a 32-8 run to pull ahead by 24 points with 5:01.
But South Dakota (11-4), aiming to extend its program-best start, held the Bruins without a field goal the rest of the way. The Coyotes stormed back within two points in a final minute featuring numerous, lengthy replay reviews — the final of which lasted more than six minutes.
South Dakota used a full-court press to force three of UCLA’s 13 turnovers in the final 26 seconds. The Coyotes also enjoyed a 45-37 advantage on the glass.
Center Thomas Welsh rebounded from his worst offensive performance of the season, a four-point outing Dec. 16 against Cincinnati, to record his seventh double-double of 2017-18 with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Welsh was one of five Bruins in double figures, with guard Aaron Holiday recording 15 points; Hands and forward G.G. Goloman each scoring 12 points; and wing Chris Smith adding 10 points.
Guard Matt Mooney scored a game-high 23 points. Guard Brandon Armstrong scored 15 points and knocked down all three of his 3-pointers over the final 1:05.