LOS ANGELES (AP) — Norman Powell eased into his chair, letting out a slight groan while sliding his ice-wrapped knees under the table. The old man of UCLA's basketball program had just led his young teammates to a season-opening victory.
Powell was one of six players in double figures with 25 points and the Bruins routed Montana State 113-78 Friday night, giving coach Steve Alford a victory in season openers for each of the last 17 years.
Freshman Kevon Looney added 20 points, Bryce Alford had 18, Isaac Hamilton 15 in his first college game after sitting out last season, freshman Thomas Welsh 14 and Tony Parker 11. They helped the Bruins top 100 points in an opener for the first time since Nov. 27, 1993, when they scored 115 against Loyola Marymount.
Powell is the lone returning starter in a program that lost three players in the first round of the NBA draft.
"I was at Oregon last year and I thought Norman Powell was the best guy in the league in transition," Bobcats coach Brian Fish said. "He showed it again tonight and changed the game. Very, very competitive guys; I like how hard they play and they've got very good size."
Danny Robison and Michael Dison added 14 points each for the Bobcats, who were picked to finish 11th in the 12-team Big Sky. Marcus Colbert added 12 and Blake Brumwell 10 in Fish's debut.
"We came into the game and that first five minutes, we outworked them and played hard," Robison said. "But they kind of hit us and we backed away in that 15 minutes of the second half they really took advantage."
The Bobcats' only lead came at the start of the game, when Colbert hit consecutive 3-pointers to make it 8-5. From there, UCLA outscored them 55-24 to lead 60-24 at halftime.
"The first game, adrenaline was running and it was a little jittery," Powell said. "It took a little bit for us to get started. When we did get it going in transition, we kept with it."
The Bruins lead sure did. They led by 28 points at halftime and kept on going, never letting the Bobcats get closer than 27 points in the second half.
"It was a good start to the season," Bryce Alford said. "Hopefully we can keep that going."
The Bruins opened the second half on a 26-13 burst, including 13 straight points that extended their lead to 86-45. Alford hit two straight 3-pointers and Powell added one of his own to close the run. Hamilton and Alford teamed to rattle off three straight 3-pointers in the first half.
Powell dunked off Alford's alley-oop pass early in the second half.
Montana State was called for 30 fouls and had 22 turnovers. UCLA had 20 fouls and shot 65 percent from the line, one of the few statistics in which the Bobcats topped the Bruins.
UCLA shot 57 percent and owned a 42-26 edge in the paint.
Looney just missed a double-double, finishing with nine rebounds. He said he wanted to stay in to reach the mark, especially because he and his teammates compete among themselves to see who will grab the most boards.
"That's my goal, to get 10 rebounds every game," he said.
Like the Bruins, the Bobcats are a young team that includes four freshmen.
"Them getting to know me is very important, and understanding that we've got to play a certain way to win games, and that's to play hard," Fish said. "We're building the program. You're not going to do it in one night."
Montana St.: Dropped to 0-3 all-time against UCLA. ... Fish spent the previous four years as an assistant at Oregon.
UCLA: The 60 points were the most in a first half since 63 against James Madison on Nov. 15, 2012. ... The Bruins had four players in double figures at the break. ... Alford hasn't lost a season opener since Nov. 16, 1997, when he coached at Missouri State. ... Toby Bailey, who played on UCLA's last national title team in 1995, attended the game.
Montana St.: Visit Grand Canyon on Monday.
UCLA: Host Coastal Carolina on Sunday.