UCLA Tops Cal, 72-68
Feb. 28, 2009
BERKELEY, Calif. -- Darren Collison scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half on a variety of daring drives to the basket, and No. 22 UCLA took sole possession of second place in the Pac-10 with a 72-68 victory over California on Saturday night.
Nikola Dragovic, Josh Shipp and Alfred Aboya scored 12 points apiece for the Bruins (22-7, 11-5), who stayed in contention for a share of their fourth consecutive Pac-10 title by sweeping their weekend games in the Bay Area.
After Stanford held Collison to seven points two nights earlier, the senior had six assists, hit two 3-pointers and scored seven points during UCLA's decisive 13-0 run late in the second half.
Jerome Randle scored 20 points and Patrick Christopher had 16 in the final game of the season at Haas Pavilion for Cal (21-8, 10-6), which had won five of six to make an unlikely Pac-10 title challenge in coach Mike Montgomery's debut season.
Earlier Saturday, No. 21 Washington clinched at least a share of the conference title with a win over Arizona. UCLA won the past three Pac-10 crowns outright, reaching the Final Four each time.
To add another title, UCLA must beat Oregon and Oregon State at Pauley Pavilion next weekend while hoping Washington State upsets the Huskies.
The Bruins have won seven of 10 games down the stretch, but just three of their last six while dropping out of first place. UCLA has beaten Cal in nine of the schools' last 10 meetings.
Theo Robertson scored 14 points for the Golden Bears, who finished 16-2 at home. Their championship hopes ended with their fifth straight home loss to the Bruins.
Cal led 53-49 with 9½ minutes to play before Dragovic's 3-pointer kicked off 13 consecutive points for the Bruins. Collison contributed three layups in the run, pounding his chest and staring down the Cal student section after getting fouled on the third basket.
UCLA led 64-55 with 5 minutes left, but Cal trimmed the deficit to five points before Collison made a difficult quasi-jump hook from near the free throw line to beat the shot clock with 1:28 to play. Collison added another tough layup in traffic with 26.7 seconds left after Cal got within four points, and the Bears got no closer than 71-68 on Randle's 3-pointer moments later.
UCLA scored seven points on one possession late in the first half when Dragovic was fouled intentionally by Robertson while making a layup. Dragovic hit both free throws and Michael Roll added a 3-pointer 21 seconds later, turning a five-point UCLA deficit into a two-point lead.
Cal forward Jordan Wilkes, the son of famed UCLA star Jamaal Wilkes, was the only senior honored before the Bears' final home game. Jamaal Wilkes, who was born in Berkeley, accompanied his son on the court for the honor, waving to the Cal fans.