The Cardinal played slightly shorthanded after junior guard Gabriel Harris had season-ending surgery to repair a micro-fracture in his right knee. Harris averaged 3.6 points and two rebounds in 13.5 minutes per game off the bench this season.
The Bruins, tabbed to win the conference in the preseason media poll, had won five straight since starting 2-5 — including home losses to Loyola Marymount and Middle Tennessee State. Howland dismissed last year's leading scorer and rebounder, Reeves Nelson, from the team in November for repeated acts of insubordination.
Tyler Lamb and Joshua Smith each scored 10 points for UCLA, which will travel across San Francisco Bay to Berkeley to face California on the weekend. Stanford will host Southern California.
While the Bruins have started to show signs of progress, they're still finding themselves on the wrong side of highlights.
Andrew Zimmermann started the second half in place of Jack Trotter and pumped some life into an otherwise stagnant Stanford crowd. He had a chase-down block off the glass on Jones, leading to a short jumper by Anthony Brown on the other end, then drew a charge to hand Smith his third foul.
The Bruins stayed steady and tied the score at 37-all on Norman Powell's jumper with 11:59 remaining — the first time since UCLA led 4-0 in the opening minutes that it didn't trail. The two teams traded scores the rest of the way to give a relatively low-scoring game an outpouring of offense late.
"It's kind of funny to have that kind of a close game in our first conference home game," Bright said. "Just to go down to the wire like that, I guess it's odd, it's not really funny, I guess."
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