UCLA 64, Chicago St. 53
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Dijon Thompson scored 17 points and UCLA pulled away in the second half to beat Chicago State 64-53 Saturday in both teams’ season opener.
The Bruins, who ended last season with six straight losses and an 11-17 record, didn’t build a double-digit lead until about 14 minutes were left in the game.
UCLA is 2-0 in openers under second-year coach Ben Howland. A year ago, Ryan Hollins made a free throw in the final seconds to help the Bruins hang on to beat Vermont 68-67.
Tony Weeden led Chicago State with 17 points. Royce Parran added 17.
Chicago State led by three points late in the first half before Thompson scored nine straight to give UCLA a 31-25 halftime lead.
The Cougars closed to 35-33 early in the second half, helped by six straight points from Weeden.
But the Bruins answered with a 10-0 run, including 3-pointers by freshmen Arron Afflalo and Jordan Farmar, to go up 46-33 with 13:44 remaining.
Farmar and Afflalo started at the guard positions for UCLA, the third pair of newcomers to do so since 1980.
Farmar had 11 points, five assists and eight turnovers in 34 minutes running the offense in place of senior Cedric Bozeman, who tore a knee ligament and will miss the entire season.
Afflalo played solid defense, holding Cougars center Deji Akindele scoreless, and had five points in 34 minutes. Michael Fey and Hollins, both 7-footers, also started together, along with Thompson. Hollins added 11 points. Fey had six points and missed two dunks that had the crowd of 6,833 groaning.
The Cougars were outrebounded 41-21.
Chicago State fell to 3-17 in season openers, having lost their its 13 since 1991. They were without Craig Franklin, last season’s leading scorer who won’t play until mid-December because of academic problems.
Chicago State, 12-20 last season, is 0-5 against Pac-10 schools since joining Division I in 1984.
UCLA freshman Lorenzo Mata missed the game after spraining his left ankle in practice Friday. X-rays were negative and he is day-to-day.