April 24, 2024

UCLA’s rich basketball history was on display at halftime, alums going back to 95-year-old George Stanich gathering on the court in blue sweaters with a gold UCLA patch on the chest.

For much of Saturday night, it appeared that what came before and after would need to be immediately erased from the memory bank.

The Bruins trailed Arizona State at halftime before falling into another epic offensive funk in which they missed 13 straight shots and went more than six minutes without a point.

It was not exactly the stuff of Ed O’Bannon, Mike Warren, Kiki Vandeweghe and Jamaal Wilkes, among the roughly 100 former players who witnessed the sorry display.

Just when it seemed as if the Bruins might limp to the finish line of the regular season, they reawakened the power of those four letters.

Using a massive run fueled by three-pointers and aggressive defense, UCLA rallied for a 59-47 victory over Arizona State at Pauley Pavilion.

Cleansing the palate of a five-game losing streak, including three straight setbacks at home, the Bruins secured the No. 5 seed in the Pac-12 tournament.

UCLA (15-16 overall, 10-10 Pac-12) will open the conference tournament at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday against No. 12 seed Oregon State at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

UCLA forward Berke Buyuktuncel celebrates after making a three-pointer against Arizona State.

UCLA forward Berke Buyuktuncel celebrates after making a three-pointer in the first half against Arizona State on Saturday.

(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Anyone who likes to bet might have serious doubts about betting against the Bruins given the way they closed out the Sun Devils.

Looking lost and ready for the season to end, the Bruins rolled off a 19-1 run that included five three-pointers, wiping out a nine-point deficit with 9½ minutes left.

Adem Bona contributed a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds, Lazar Stefanovic made five of six three-pointers on the way to 16 points and Dylan Andrews added 12 points.

Adam Miller scored 13 points for the Sun Devils (14-17, 8-12), who were without graduate transfer guard Jose Perez, their second-leading scorer, taking his averages of 13.5 points and 3.8 rebounds off the board. An athletic department spokesman said Perez had left the team to pursue professional opportunities.

The first half was a series of huge runs. The biggest belonged to UCLA, which scored 18 straight points thanks to a flurry of steals midway through the half to take a 10-point advantage.

But Arizona State, which opened the game by taking a 13-5 lead and eventually added a 9-0 push, held a 31-27 halftime cushion after making half of its shots in the opening 20 minutes.

The last, and most significant run, belonged to the Bruins in the final Pac-12 game played on its home court.

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