With just over a minute left on the game clock, Pauley Pavilion let out a collective gasp — one mixed in equal parts disappointment and disbelief.
No, it’s not the game that was in question. UCLA already led by double digits, and was comfortably on its way to a 92-74 win over Colorado on Thursday night.
It’s just that the home crowd had grown so accustomed to long bombs finding nothing but net. And by the time David Wear’s 3-point attempt spun out in a game long decided, those 8,431 had perhaps only hazy memories of what misses looked like.
Late is better than never. After an underwhelming start to its rematch against Colorado — 10 assists to seven turnovers through the first 20 minutes — UCLA (19-5, 8-3) found its groove and cruised to its fourth straight home victory.
The Bruins shot 8-of-12 from beyond the arc in the second half, and 20-of-32 overall. On the night, they finished 11-of-22 from long range.
Kyle Anderson had a game-high 22 points, as well as 11 assists and seven rebounds. Backup point guard Bryce Alford had 13 points — including a career-high tying four 3-pointers. Even Jordan Adams, who missed all five 3-point attempts, finished with 17.
The flurry came after another slow start, something that has become frustratingly common as the Bruins carve into their conference schedule.
After opening the night on an 11-3 run, UCLA’s offense slowly trickled to a stop. The team soon missed five straight field goals, then endured a stretch of possessions that included four turnovers and two misses. Not a single Bruin finished the first half with double-digit scoring.
Meanwhile, Colorado chipped away at the deficit — tying the game at 15 less than seven minutes in, then pulling away to lead by as much as 12. Over five minutes, the Buffs unleashed an 18-5 run.
Key to the effort was sophomore forward Josh Scott, who was unstoppable in the paint early on. He led all scorers at halftime with 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting, chipping in three rebounds a block, a steal. He even flushed in a dunk at the buzzer, bumping the lead to 40-36 going into the locker room.
It was the fifth Pac-12 game UCLA had trailed at halftime, but just the second at Pauley Pavilion.
Scott came out strong in the second half as the Bruins pushed back, tipping in Xavier Johnson’s fast-break miss to reclaim Colorado’s lead and draw the foul.
Eventually, it wasn’t enough. The Buffs lost the lead for good a little over six minutes into the second period, buried by UCLA’s hot shooting.