UCLA completed a season sweep over Arizona State with a 66-57 Pac-12 victory Thursday in Tempe, Ariz. Here's a quick look at the game:
OVERVIEW: UCLA started slow but took the lead midway through the first half and never trailed again, but it wasn't easy to hold off the pesky Sun Devils.
Every time it appeared as if the Bruins had seized some momentum and were about to blow open a big lead, the Sun Devils rallied and kept within striking distance. The Bruins took a six-point lead late in the first half, but it dwindled to 25-24 by halftime.
UCLA had a 46-37 lead with 11:31 to play, but Arizona state rallied back to make it 47-43 a minute and a half later. Even down the stretch, when UCLA finally put the game away by opening a 66-49 lead with 2:25 to play, Arizona State made a run and really could have made things interesting if a couple of 3-point shots had fallen.
Still, the Bruins did what they needed to in winning on the road against one of the Pac-12's lower-tier teams. Lazeric Jones had 20 points to lead UCLA (16-12, 9-6 Pac-12) and David Wear added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Bruins.
Jonathan Gilling led Arizona State (8-20, 4-12) with 17 points and Trent Lockett added 13 points despite making only 3-of-11 shots.
TURNING POINT: After struggling to make a game-clinching run for most of the game, the Bruins finally took control with a 17-4 run that turned a 49-45 lead with 8:42 left to play into a 66-49 lead with 2:25 left.
The Bruins held Arizona State to 1-of-7 shooting during that stretch while connecting on eight of nine shots of their own. Jones and Wear each scored five points during the run, including a 3-pointer by Jones that gave UCLA 56-46 lead for the first double-digit lead of the game with 7:10 to play.
UCLA STAR OF THE GAME: Jones had 13 of his 20 points in the second half and was 5-for-6 from the field in the second half after going 3-for-9 in the first half.
He continually hit big shots and made big plays when Arizona State crept to within striking distance. His 3-point play with 15:29 left gave the Bruins a 38-33 lead. His 3-pointer with 11:31 to play gave UCLA a 46-37 lead and his 3-pointer with 7:10 to play made it 56-46.
STAT OF THE GAME: After Arizona State stormed out to an early 14-9 lead, the Bruins held the Sun Devils scoreless for nearly eight minutes and took control of the game with an 11-0 run.
Arizona State was 0-for-11 from the field during that stretch after starting the game by making six of its first seven shots. The Bruins also forced six of Arizona State's 18 turnovers during that stretch. UCLA scored 19 points off of those turnovers.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Bruins took care of business by defeating the Sun Devils and got some needed momentum heading into Saturday's crucial game at Arizona. The Bruins and Arizona are among the four teams battling for third and fourth place in the Pac-12 standings and a loss Thursday would have been devastating for UCLA's chances at earning a coveted first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament.
It was the third road victory of the season for the Bruins, who lost five of their first six road games to start the season.