LOS ANGELES – Jordan Adams scored 21 points in his college debut and No. 13 UCLA defeated Indiana State 86-59 in its season opener on Friday night shortly after finding out star recruit Shabazz Muhammad was ruled ineligible by the NCAA.
Adams, the school’s first-ever signee out of vaunted Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, was 7 of 12 from the floor and had eight rebounds off the bench for the Bruins (1-0). Travis Wear added 17 points and his twin brother David Wear had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The long-awaited decision about Muhammad overshadowed the first game in new Pauley Pavilion, which opened after an 18-month, $132 million renovation. He watched the game from the bench dressed in a blue UCLA sweat suit along with a crowd of 13,513 – 287 short of a sellout.
In the closing minutes, fans chanted “Free Shabazz.”
Justin Gant led the Sycamores (0-1) with 11 points, including scoring the first points in the renovated building on a 3-pointer. Indiana State was chosen to help re-open the arena because the Terre Haute, Ind., school is the only university besides UCLA where the late John Wooden coached.
Both teams shot poorly to start the game, combining to miss their first eight shots. Eventually, the Bruins settled down and ran off eight straight points late in the half to lead 36-27 at the break.
Adams came on strong in the second half, hitting two 3-pointers and another basket that stretched UCLA’s lead to 56-36 midway through the half. His 21 points were the most by a freshman since Reeves Nelson, kicked off the team last season after multiple suspensions, had the same amount on Dec. 27, 2009.
The Sycamores cut their deficit to 63-52 on a 16-7 run, including two 3-pointers by Lucas Eitel and another by Khristian Smith, with 7:25 remaining. Manny Arop added 10 points for Indiana State, which hasn’t won a season opener on the road since 1970 against Purdue, a streak of 14 losses in openers.
The Wear twins combined to run off nine straight points and extend the Bruins’ lead to 72-55 as they ended the game on a 23-7 run.
Shortly before the game, UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said the NCAA had ruled Muhammad ineligible for violating amateurism rules. The NCAA gave no timetable for Muhammad’s ineligibility and Guerrero said only that he is “ineligible at this time.”
“We are extremely disappointed that the NCAA has made this determination,” Guerrero said, adding that UCLA believes “the decision is incorrect and unjust to Shabazz.”
He said the school will pursue its options to challenge the ruling.
The NCAA said that Muhammad accepted travel and lodging during three unofficial visits to two NCAA member schools. He chose UCLA over Kentucky and Duke last spring.
Muhammad tweeted, “Cool shirts some fans made and will wear tonight if I don’t play in the game!!!!” Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea played the national anthem wearing a “Free Shabazz Muhammad” T-shirt, a sentiment echoed on signs held up by fans. Former Bruins stars Reggie Miller, Marques Johnson, Ed O’Bannon, Rod Foster, Don McLean and Lucius Allen, who scored the first points when Pauley opened in 1965, were introduced in a pre-game ceremony. A video highlighted historic moments in the arena’s history with comments from Wooden.