LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tyger Campbell scored 17 points, Jules Bernard added 16 points and UCLA pulled away late in a close first half to rout Seattle 78-52 on Thursday in the Bruins’ delayed home opener.
It was the first game in six days for the Bruins (2-1), who had Monday’s scheduled Pauley Pavilion opener against Long Beach State postponed for COVID-19-related reasons.
Campbell made a career-high eight free throws, hitting all of his attempts. He didn't practice a day earlier because of left knee swelling in the same area where he had ACL surgery two years ago.
“It's nothing serious,” said Campbell, whose performance was hailed as “gutty” by coach Mick Cronin.
Riley Grigsby scored 12 points despite four fouls and Aaron Nettles added 11 points for the Redhawks (3-2). Playing UCLA for the first time since 1977, Seattle has yet to beat the Bruins in five tries.
But the Redhawks made it close in the first half, trading two-point leads for most of the way.
The Bruins began pulling away with a 14-0 run to close the half and take a 43-29 lead at the break. Campbell scored five points and Jaime Jaquez Jr. added four in the spurt that included three 3-pointers. UCLA shot 61% from the floor.
The Redhawks didn’t make a field goal over the final 5:12.
“They got a little bit tired as we stepped up the pressure,” Cronin said. “Our athleticism and size probably had a lot to do with it and we wore them down.”
Seattle hit its first three 3-point attempts of the game, but didn't make another one, finishing 3 of 23 from long-range.
“It’s hard when you miss that many shots and that even carried over to the free throw line,” Redhawks coach Jim Hayford said. “When you shoot the ball that much and the ball doesn’t go in the basket, it’s really hard to keep doing the other things you need to do to stay in the game.”
UCLA picked up where it left off to start the second half. The Bruins opened with an 11-2 spurt, including six by Chris Smith, that extended their lead to 54-31. Their bench was on its feet clapping and chanting.
“They were trying to do their job on the bench, but it’s hard,” Jalen Hill said, describing the atmosphere without fans as “a ghost town.”
The Bruin reserves really got loud when Hill dunked off Bernard's missed 3-pointer.
Hill later scored five in a row, pushing UCLA’s lead to 68-41. He finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds in his season debut. He missed UCLA’s first two games in San Diego because of right knee tendinitis.
“I had a lot of setbacks physically with my knee so it felt amazing to be out there competing again,” Hill said.
Campbell was enthused about having Hill back.
“He’s crazy on the glass and I can throw it up to him so it really opened up some more stuff for us,” Campbell said.
The Redhawks began the season 3-0 for the first time since 2009-09 but have now lost two in a row. They have just four lettermen back this season, having lost nearly 80% of their scoring. The 11 newcomers include two grad transfers and four junior college transfers.
The Bruins' season-opening loss to San Diego State and needing triple-overtime to edge Pepperdine combined to drop them out of the Top 25 this week. Picked by the media to win the Pac-12 title, they don't have much time to get it together. Their game against Long Beach State earlier this week was postponed and their first league game comes up Sunday when California visits.
There was a moment of silence for Rafer Johnson, the 1960 Olympic decathlon champion who died Wednesday at 86. He starred on the track and field team, was student body president and started for one season under basketball coach John Wooden during his UCLA career.
UCLA made some tweaks inside Pauley Pavilion for the first men’s game of the season. Large blue-and-white advertising banners now cover all the seats in the lower bowl except for a section where the cardboard cutouts have been relocated behind one of the baskets. A banner promoting six sponsors runs the length of the court behind the team benches. Each bench is comprised of three rows of socially distanced chairs separated by a section of game staff seated at tables.
TOO MANY MISCUES
The Bruins had 15 turnovers; they averaged 13.2 in their first two games. Chris Smith had a team-high four. Campbell had just two playing 27 minutes.
“We’re not going to be a quality team turning the ball over,” Cronin said.
Seattle: Visits Long Beach State on Sunday in the next-to-last game of its season-opening seven-game road trip.
UCLA: Hosts California on Sunday in the first of three Pac-12 games to be played in December.
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