Belmont used a 14-4 run to close to 61-59, capped by Caleb Hollander’s 3-pointer over the top of UCLA’s defense.
Windler’s dunk off his steal of Hands drew Belmont within one before Grayson Murphy’s 3-pointer gave the Bruins their first lead since early in the game.
UCLA tied the game twice more before McClain scored on a wide-open layup for a 71-69 lead. Hands made a 3-pointer to put UCLA ahead 72-71.
McClain’s layup put Belmont back in front and Hollander made 1 of 2 free throws to seal the win.
UCLA built a 12-point lead, its largest of the first half, only to watch Belmont reel off four consecutive 3-pointers to tie it at 29-all. From there, UCLA outscored Belmont 14-11, with Wilkes scoring eight points, to lead 43-40 at halftime.
Belmont: The Bruins are looking to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. They’ve won 20-plus games and earned postseason appearances in 12 of the last 13 years. They’re starting three freshmen after losing All-OVC players Amanze Egekeze and Austin Luke to graduation.
UCLA: The Bruins hit the road to face Cincinnati on Wednesday and No. 15 Ohio State in Chicago three days later in their last big tests before Pac-12 play begins next month. They’ve gone 3-1 since losing consecutive games to ranked Michigan State and North Carolina. Their lone notable nonconference win so far was over Notre Dame at home.
Belmont: Host Western Kentucky on Wednesday.
UCLA: At Cincinnati on Wednesday in the first of two games in the Midwest.
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