Notre Dame went were it needed to when it trailed UCLA midway through the first half – down low to Luke Harangody.
Harangody scored 10 points in a 3 ½-minute span with only one of his baskets came outside the paint as the Irish took a 40-36 halftime lead.
Notre Dame needed to do this from the start not when it trailed 26-20 with 9:01 to play in the half.
Harangody was a non-factor on offense in the first 10 minutes, taking two shots – a long field goal and a three-pointer – missing both. But when he stayed down low and the Irish fed him the ball, instant offense and a 33-30 lead with 4:12 to play in the half.
Harangody finished the first half with 12 points.
Ben Hansbrough kept the Irish in the game in the opening minutes, scoring all of his 9 points in the game's first 4 ½ minutes. Jonathan Peoples came off the bench and contributed 9 points.
Michael Roll scored 11 for UCLA, and Malcolm Lee added 10.
At the start of the second half, Notre Dame came out firing.
Tyrone Nash opened the half with a dunk, and Tim Abromaitis and Hansbrough knocked down back-to-back threes for a 48-39 lead 1 ½ minutes into the half.