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UCLA rallies from 15-point deficit, tops hot-tempered Arizona State 68-66

  • AP
  • Jan 18, 2024

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Lazar Stefanovic scored 18 points, Brandon Williams added 13 and UCLA overcame a 15-point deficit in the second half to beat Arizona State 68-66 on Wednesday night.

UCLA took advantage of a hot-tempered Arizona State team that was called for four technicals – all in the second half.

The Bruins took a 62-60 lead with 2:29 left when Stefanovic made two free throws after Arizona State’s Bryant Selebangue was called for a technical. But the Sun Devils rallied again – with Frankie Collins hitting a tough 3-pointer as the shot clock expired on the ensuing possession for a 63-62 lead.

UCLA’s Sebastian Mack responded with two straight baskets, including one after a steal, to push UCLA up 66-63 with 45 seconds remaining.

It’s been a rough stretch for the Bruins (8-10, 3-4 Pac-12), but two straight wins in conference play could signal a turnaround. Adem Bona added nine points and a career-high seven blocks.

“There’s not going to be any give up,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said. “I’m not allowing that. But you’ve got to get the ball in the basket to get some juices flowing. I’ve been working with these guys on having fortitude, bounce in your step and not worrying about missed shots.”

Arizona State (10-7, 4-2) has dropped two straight. Adam Miller and Collins both scored 16 points.

UCLA made its push midway through the second half, using a 7-point swing on one possession after Stefanovic made four straight free throws and Will McClendon added a 3-pointer. Stefanovic got to shoot two free throws after he was fouled on a missed layup and then got to shoot two more because of a technical foul assessed to Arizona State.

Sun Devils coach Bobby Hurley said he was “not going to talk about how I feel” about the officiating following the four technicals. He did concede that some of the blame was on his players.

“I’m pleased with everything that happened on the basketball court tonight, except for the free-throw line,” Hurley said.

The Bruins kept possession after the technical, and McClendon nailed the 3 to give the Bruins a 50-49 lead.

Arizona State never trailed in the first half, pushing to a 36-23 lead by halftime.

PHILLIPS EJECTED

Arizona State forward Shawn Phillips Jr. was ejected midway through the second half after picking up two quick technical fouls, which led to UCLA’s seven-point possession that changed the complexion of the game.

Stefanovic was fouled by Arizona State’s Adam Miller and both players were shaken up for a few seconds on the floor. Players from both teams gathered around and there was some jawing from both sides.

Phillips got the two technicals while UCLA’s Bona also got a technical, which proved costly after he fouled out with 2:42 left.

BIG PICTURE

UCLA: It’s a galvanizing win for the Bruins, who haven’t had much reason to celebrate over the past six weeks.

Arizona State: The Sun Devils looked like they were going to cruise but lost their cool with four technical fouls, which allowed UCLA back into the game. Arizona State won four straight to start conference play, but looks as if it might be falling back to the pack.

UP NEXT

UCLA: Travels to No. 12 Arizona on Saturday.

Arizona State: Hosts USC on Saturday.

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12Taway team logo UCLA 8-10234568home team logo Arizona State 10-7363066

Desert Financial Arena Tempe, AZ

TOP SCORERS
10L. Stefanovic G18PTS6REB2AST
1F. Collins G16PTS4REB2AST
team logo

UCLA

STARTERSPTSREBASTPFMIN
L. Stefanovic1862134
S. Mack1142222
A. Bona965529
B. Buyuktuncel530322
D. Andrews334136
BENCHPTSREBASTPFMIN
B. Williams1350319
W. McClendon742127
I. Fibleuil20006
J. Vide00001
K. Nwuba00013
E. Manjikian
J. Seidler
D. Williams
A. Mara
L. Cremonesi
Total68311517199
team logo

Arizona State

STARTERSPTSREBASTPFMIN
F. Collins1642334
A. Miller1662235
J. Neal1343333
J. Perez1212131
A. Gaffney310329
BENCHPTSREBASTPFMIN
S. Phillips Jr.420312
B. Selebangue21029
K. Lands020014
B. Green00103
B. Hurley
J. Williams
A. Watson
M. Davis
A. Mayock
Z. Markus
Z. Meeks
B. Long
Total66211017200