LOS ANGELES —
Withering defense by both teams made it tough for the Sycamores or Bruins to get any traction. Gant had the honor of making the first bucket in the new Pauley Pavilion – a 3-pointer at 17:11 – but there was little else for either team.
It was 11-all at the 10-minute mark when ISU broke through and took a 14-11 lead with 9:19 left in the half on a R.J. Mahurin three-point play. UCLA answered right back with an and-1 of its own by Norman Powell to tie it five seconds later.
The Powell three-point play kick-started a 9-0 UCLA run. ISU’s troubles at the line became most acute at this juncture of the game. Arop and Devonte Brown both had empty trips to the line, which prevented ISU from gaining momentum.
Despite that, ISU hung in there. Mahurin had a chance to pull ISU within one at the 4:11 mark, but missed a free throw. The Sycamores would shoot 4 of 10 at the line in the first half.
UCLA (1-0) finished the strong thanks to a questionable no-call when Jake Odum appeared to be tripped just after the three-minute mark. Tyler Lamb was able to steal the ball on the no-call and went to the line.
He made one and missed the second, but UCLA rebounded and fed Jordan Adams for a floater. After an Arop 3-point miss, Lamb hit an open 3-pointer in the corner to put the Bruins up 33-23. UCLA would lead by nine at the break.
Odum brushed off the notion that the no-call might have been the play that turned the game.
“I couldn’t really tell what happened. I should have been handling the ball better. It’s the way it goes. When something like that happens, we need to turn around and get a bucket the next time down the floor, not worry about the turnover,” Odum said.