UCLA (13-3, 3-0 Pac-12) eked out another close win and Utah lost another nail-biter as the Bruins beat the Utes, 57-53, despite going cold for the second half and laying claim to a double-digit advantage early on.
The Bruins started hot from the floor and earned 34 points in the first half, led by Kyle Anderson, who scored 11 in the first period. The Bruins also held an offensively-challenged Utah team to just 23 as well, and allowed only Jarred DuBois and Cedric Martin to get anything going on offense.
After the half, though, the Bruins came out flat with Anderson failing to score at all in the second period while the Utes played energetically for the rest of the way.
What resulted was a nail-biting game which saw Utah eventually battle back from down 12 in the second half. The Utes held UCLA to an awful performance on offense with the Bruins consistently taking poor shots in half-court sets. That ended in UCLA being held to 23 in the second half.
UCLA’s saving grace was none other than Travis Wear, who had went 1-for-4 on his first five shots before finishing with 3-for-4 shooting and all but two of his points coming under the six minute mark with the Utes down just three.
In the final two minutes, though, Utah rallied yet again and found themselves within two points of UCLA. What resulted were four straight offensive possessions in which Utah could not convert open shots, two of which were open three-pointers from the corner.
UCLA took advantage of Utah’s poor shooting and Larry Drew II converted on a dagger lay-up which put the Bruins up four with nine seconds to go.
The Bruins have now won eight straight games and will travel to Colorado to take on the Buffaloes (10-2, 1-2 Pac-12).