LOS ANGELES (AP)—Eighteenth-ranked UCLA had heard about No. 5 Michigan State falling to Hawaii and No. 13 Stanford losing to UC Irvine.
With their legs sore and their roster ravaged by injuries, the Bruins knew a fast start and a solid defensive effort would be the key to avoiding becoming the day’s upset victim No. 3.
The Bruins (3-0) did both, using a 13-0 run to open the game and propel them to a 56-37 win Saturday night over the Hornets (0-1).
The 37 points were the fewest allowed by the Bruins at home since holding Oregon State to 35 on Jan. 7, 1966.
“I think it was very critical that we came out and jumped on them early,” said Cedric Bozeman, who scored a game-high 15 points. “There were a lot of upsets today and we didn’t want to be one of those teams.”
Freshman reserve Michael Roll added nine points for the Bruins.
Delaware State (0-1) never recovered from its cold start. While the Bruins made six of their first seven shots in the 13-point run, the Hornets missed their first eight on the way to a 29.2-percent shooting first half.
They shot 39 percent (16 of 41) for the game to UCLA’s 57.1 percent (20 of 35).
“We came out and we had the right ideas. We pressured them,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said after getting his 200th career win. “It was a long week—six straight days of practice and games, but I am glad we finished the way we hoped to at 3-0.”
Jahsha Bluntt scored 11 points to lead the Hornets. His 3-pointer with 13:39 remaining in the game pulled the Hornets to within six, their closest margin of the second half, but UCLA answered with a 6-0 run before a flurry of 3-pointers down the stretch turned the game into a runaway.
Three of those late 3-pointers came from Roll and two from Bozeman.
The Bruins played without starting point guard and Wooden Award candidate Jordan Farmar who had a sprained ankle, and center Michael Fey, who started 27 of 29 games last season and was out with a bruised shoulder.
Both were injured in Thursday’s win over Temple and are listed as day-to-day, though Howland said he is “confident” Farmar will be able to start in the Bruins against Memphis on Wednesday.
The Bruins already were without forward Josh Shipp (hip surgery) and Alfred Aboya (knee surgery). Shipp hopes to return in time for the start of Pac-10 play; Aboya could resume practice Nov. 28.