Jan. 7, 2012
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 Pac-12) ahead for good. Smith finished one point off his career high.
Jonathan Gilling 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.
"Our defense in the second half keyed our ability to break the game open," UCLA head coach Ben Howland said. "We had a key juncture where Jerime Anderson had the idea to press because they were short three players. That helped jump start us and pull away."
UCLA trailed by 10 points early in the first half, as Arizona State gained an 18-8 cushion with 12:31 left before halftime. The visiting Sun Devils maintained their 10-point cushion, taking a 24-14 lead with 10:06 left on a three-pointer by Gilling.
The Bruins surged in the final minutes of the first half, using a 14-4 run over the final 6:05 before intermission to secure a 33-30 advantage at the break.
Ruslan Pateev, a 7-foot Russian, scored 10 points for Arizona State before fouling out with 9:54 remaining, leaving 7-2 Jordan Bachynski to try and challenge Smith and twin brothers David and Travis Wear in the post.
UCLA registered 46 of its 75 points in the paint, outscoring ASU in that category by a 46-18 margin. The Bruins shot at a 54.4 percent clip against the Sun Devils.
"Joshua Smith had his best game of the year," Howland said. "He was very aggressive in trying to score and going for dunks. I'm very optimistic about the direction he's headed in. He had a high energy level and his teammates got him the ball."
Saturday's game marked the Bruins' final "home" contest at Honda Center. With Pauley Pavilion undergoing renovations, UCLA is playing its 18 home games at two southern California sites - four games at Honda Center and 14 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
The Bruins posted a perfect 4-0 record in games at Honda Center this season.
UCLA returns to action at USC on Sunday, Jan. 15. Game time at USC's Galen Center is slated for 6 p.m. That contest will be televised live in Los Angeles on Prime Ticket and nationally on FSN.