UCLA-Cal Preview

Feb. 28, 2001

LOS ANGELES - UCLA coach Steve Lavin does not have to worry about his streaking Bruinslooking past Thursday's Pac-10 clash with California at Pauley Pavilion.

With four games remaining on their schedule, the 12th-ranked Bruins (19-6,12-2 Pac-10) find themselves just one game behind top-ranked Stanford in theconference standings. Having dealt the Cardinal their lone loss of the seasonwith a 79-73 triumph at Maples Pavilion on February 3, UCLA can actually takethe conference crown by winning out, since it will play host to Stanford in amuch-anticipated rematch on Saturday.

But first, Lavin's team must avenge the loss that preceeded its currentseason-high seven-game winning streak, an embarrassing 92-63 setback atCalifornia on Feb. 1.

The Bruins were outscored 32-12 in the first 10 minutes of their visit toHaas Pavilion and Lavin endured constant taunting from the crowd.

'We expect UCLA's best effort on Thursday,' California coach Ben Braunsaid. 'Supposedly, their game on Saturday (with Stanford) is not a factor, Iwould imagine, in their minds until after our game. That game doesn't take onany signficiance really for them unless they do well against us. So we'rereally standing in the way of them and I'm sure that their memories are prettyup to date (about the last meeting).'

The blowout loss proved to be a turning point in the Bruins' campaign. UCLAwon at Stanford two days later and has pulled out a series of narrow victoriessince, including a pair of overtime triumphs over Arizona and Oregon State,respectively.

Earl Watson was the hero after nearly being the goat in the Bruins' 68-65overtime victory against the Beavers on Saturday. He scored 20 points and made3-of-4 free throws in the waning moments of overtime to make up for threestraight misses from the stripe in the final minute of regulation as UCLA wonfor the 15th time in 17 games.

The Bears (19-7, 10-4) have won four of six since defeating the Bruins andhave also won their last four road games.

With 29 points in an 84-65 victory over Washington State on Saturday, SeanLampley became California's all-time leading scorer with 1,693 points,surpassing Lamond Murray (1,688 from 1992-94).

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