LOS ANGELES (AP) — Joshua Smith scored 19 points off the bench and Reeves Nelson grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds to lead UCLA’s inside game in a messy 66-59 victory over St. John’s and former Bruins coach Steve Lavin on Saturday.
It was Lavin’s first visit to Pauley Pavilion as an opposing coach, coming nearly eight years after he was fired.
Malcolm Lee added 15 points, Nelson had 12 points, and Malcolm Lee 15 for the senior-less Bruins (16-7), who have won three in a row and seven of their last eight.
Nelson hit a 3-pointer off an inbounds pass with 34 seconds to play, giving the Bruins a much-needed cushion after they blew most of a 10-point lead over the final five minutes.
Dwight Hardy scored a career-high 32 points — the only player in double digits — for St. John’s (13-9). The Red Storm, dominated by nine seniors, fell to 2-6 in true road games and 3-6 in their last nine.
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