UCLA used a 13-2 run spanning 4:29 late in the second half to put separation between itself and visiting Washington State for a 96-82 win Friday in the Pac-12 Conference opener for both teams.
The Bruins (10-3, 1-0 Pac-12) — returning home to Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles and playing for the first time since upsetting Kentucky last Saturday — led the Cougars from wire-to-wire.
Guard Aaron Holiday scored 23 of his career-high 33 points in the first half to set the tone.
But Washington State (8-5, 0-1) reduced UCLA’s lead to 64-62 with 9:38 remaining in regulation, thanks in part to 11 combined 3-pointers by guards Malachi Flynn, Carter Skaggs and forward Robert Franks. Franks finished with 20 points, Skaggs had 17 and Flynn with nine.
UCLA responded to Washington State’s run with an immediate, 13-2 run, and an outburst of 32 points over the game’s final nine minutes.
Four Bruins scored in double figures, with guard Jaylen Hands adding 19 points to Holiday’s personal best.
Guard Kris Wilkes scored 14 points, and center Thomas Welsh scored 12 points while reaching the 1,000-point mark for his career. Welsh also grabbed 14 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season.
Holiday joined Welsh with a double-double, pulling down 11 rebounds — another career-high for the guard.
UCLA’s 43-30 dominance on the glass made a difference on a night when the Bruins and Washington State performed similarly on offense. UCLA shot 42.9 percent from 3-point range (12 of 28), and Washington State went 14 of 35 for 40 percent.
The Bruins made just one field goal more than the Cougars, 29-28, but UCLA made 14 more free throws.