ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Joshua Smith and twins Travis and David Wear showed off the kind of dominant front line against Arizona State that had UCLA picked to win the Pac-12 title before it got off to a stumbling start.
Smith scored 18 points, Travis Wear added 16 and David Wear had nine rebounds in a 75-58 victory on Saturday night that got the Bruins back to .500 in the Pac-12 after opening with two road losses.
"The mood is good," Smith said. "We know the conference is wide open."
Smith came off the bench after missing Thursday's win over Arizona because of a concussion sustained in practice. He started slowly, picking up two fouls before igniting in an 11-1 run over both halves that put UCLA (9-7, 2-2) ahead for good. He finished one point off his career high.
"Josh was really aggressive and if he can do that, we're a tough team to beat," said Lazeric Jones, who had 10 assists and eight points.
Bruins coach Ben Howland said Smith's weight, which has topped 300 pounds, is the lowest it's been in a year, and his practices have improved over the last week.
"I feel a lot better," said Smith, who had three fouls in 21 minutes. "That's pretty much why I've been playing more minutes. My thing has been foul trouble."
Jonathan Gilling, a freshman from Denmark, scored a career-high 17 points and made five 3-pointers for the Sun Devils (4-10, 1-2), who led for most of the first half, when they shot 55 percent from the floor.
"I am a streaky shooter, so after I hit the first shot, I can hit the second shot," he said, recalling he once hit seven 3-pointers in a game in his home country.
Ruslan Pateev, a 7-foot Russian, scored 10 points for Arizona State before fouling out for the first time in his career with 9:54 remaining, leaving 7-2 Jordan Bachynski to try and challenge Smith and the Wear brothers in the post.
"Joshua Smith is great at getting position," Sun Devils coach Herb Sendek said. "We can draw a defense on the chalkboard for Smith, but the reality is a much different situation. He's just too close to the basket, and we can't even foul him hard enough to make him miss. It's like a fly landing on him. You might as well let us play with a two-by-four."
Against Arizona two nights earlier, the Wear twins controlled the inside with Smith watching from the bench.
"That game looked extremely fun," Smith said. "I wanted to go out and help them."
Upon his return, the trio proved dominant on offense and defense. UCLA had a 31-23 edge on the boards, a 46-18 advantage in the paint and scored 19 points off Arizona State's 15 turnovers. Smith and the Wears combined to pull down 20 rebounds.
"Having a dominant presence down low takes the attention off us," Travis Wear said. "Teams are concentrating on boxing him (Smith) out and they forget about us, making it easy to sneak in and get easy ones (rebounds)."
UCLA pulled away to its first double-digit lead early in the second half, when Travis Wear scored six straight for a 49-39 lead as the Bruins briefly applied full-court pressure after playing mostly man. Smith and David Wear combined for UCLA's next nine points, extending the lead to 58-43.
The Sun Devils went more than five minutes without a field goal while the Bruins scored on every possession.
The Bruins closed the first half with nine straight points, including five in a row by Smith despite two fouls, to lead 33-30. Smith's three-point play gave UCLA its first lead of the game with 2:32 left in the half.
The Sun Devils led by 10 points on consecutive 3-pointers by Gilling, who beat the shot clock from the right side in front of UCLA's bench, then came back down and scored from the left side.
From there, the Bruins outscored Arizona State 19-6 the rest of the half. Jones and Jerime Anderson made back-to-back 3-pointers while the Sun Devils were held to one field goal over the final 10 minutes.
The Bruins went 4-0 in the games they played at Honda Center this season while Pauley Pavilion undergoes a major renovation. They'll return to the Los Angeles Sports Arena for the rest of their games.