Aaron Holiday’s career high leads UCLA to Pac-12-opening win

UCLA’s Aaron Holiday (3) drives to the basket against Washington State during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)

Aaron Holiday scored a career-high 33 points with 11 rebounds, four assists and no turnovers to lead UCLA to a 96-82 victory over Washington State in Pauley Pavilion on Friday.

With 23 points in the first half, Holiday joined UCLA’s 1,000-point club before the break and was joined in the second half by Thomas Welsh. The senior center had 12 points and 14 rebounds with three assists. They are the 55th and 56th players in UCLA history, respectively, to record 1,000 career points.

“It was a pretty special night out of both of them,” head coach Steve Alford said. “That’s what you have to have. We had some guys that were a little antsy. … It was their first conference game, at home to open the conference season.”

UCLA’s three freshmen, Jaylen Hands, Kris Wilkes and Chris Smith, scored 26 of their combined 37 points in the second half. Hands led the young trio with 19 points, four assists and only one turnover as the Bruins (10-3, 1-0 Pac-12) tied a season-low for turnovers with seven.

A 3-pointer from Carter Skaggs midway through the second half pulled Washington State (8-5, 0-1 Pac-12) within two after the Cougars had trailed by as many as 11 earlier in the half. The Bruins responded with a 13-2 run quell any comeback efforts.

More from UCLA’s first Pac-12 win of the season (from staff reporter Tarek Fattal).

Notebook: UCLA is still trying to reschedule its nonconference game with Montana