Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - The 13th-ranked UCLA Bruins open regional action of the Legends Classic, as they welcome instate rival UC Irvine to the Pauley Pavilion.
Ben Howland and the Bruins were dealt a last-second blow prior to their season-opener against Indiana State, as highly touted recruit Shabbaz Muhammad was ruled ineligible less than 90 minutes before the season started against the Sycamores. It didn't seem to affect UCLA in the game, as the Bruins made light work of Indiana State in an 86-59 rout, the first athletic contest in the New Pauley Pavilion since 2011.
Russell Turner's Anteaters also opened their 2012-13 season with a victory, posting a 78-64 win at home against the Nevada Wolf Pack. UC Irvine returns all five starters from last year and the hope is that a now seasoned group can significantly improve on last season's 12-20 record.
UCLA holds a 7-2 advantage in the all-time series. The Bruins won a lopsided affair last season at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, 89-60.
The Anteaters took advantage of a cold-shooting Nevada club in the second half (.250) and cruised to a 14-point win at home. Senior guard Daman Starring had a huge performance in the opener, scoring a career-high 25 points, thanks to 7-of-15 shooting from the floor and a perfect 10-of-10 from the free-throw line. The team got a strong performance by senior forward Michael Wilder, who notched his sixth career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. True freshman guard Alex Young made a great first impression with 12 points, in 21 minutes off the bench.
The Bruins were tabbed second in the preseason Pac-12 polls, but that was with the arrival of Muhammad on campus. The Bruins proved that they are still a dangerous squad even without their heralded recruit, as they shot .482 from the field against Indiana State in the opener, including a blistering .533 in the second half to run away with the game. Jordan Adams came off the bench to lead all scorers with 21 points. The freshman guard scored the most points in a UCLA season-opener since 2007 (Kevin Love - 22 pts). Travis Wear poured in 17 points in support, while both David Wear (13 points and 10 rebounds) and freshman Kyle Anderson (10 points, 10 rebounds) recorded double-doubles. UCLA owned the glass, outrebounding the Sycamores, 52-33, while forcing 15 turnovers.