Bruins Fall At Cal

AP Sports Writer

BERKELEY, Calif. - Not since before the days of John Wooden, more than a half-century ago, have the UCLA Bruins been this bad for this long.

Joe Shipp had 23 points to lead No. 25 California to an 80-69 win Saturday over struggling UCLA, which lost its sixth consecutive game for the first time in 55 years.

UCLA's last six-game losing streak was during the 1947-48 season, the year before Wooden took over as coach and led the Bruins to 10 of their 11 NCAA titles. Three of those losses came to Cal.

'It's kind of tough, it's been a struggle. We've been suffocating for a while here,' said Jason Kapono, who led the Bruins with 23 points.

Amit Tamir had 20 points and 10 rebounds for Cal (14-2, 7-0 Pac-10), which has won eight straight games for the first time since a similar run late in the 1992-93 season.

Kapono's 23 points moved him past Toby Bailey into fourth place on the school's career scoring list with 1,861 points - trailing only Don MacLean, Lew Alcindor and Reggie Miller.

'It means a lot, but I'd rather give up all those points to be 14-1 or something like that,' Kapono said. 'I'd trade all that in for some wins.'

Dijon Thompson added 18 points for UCLA (4-11, 2-5), which was missing sophomore forward Andre Patterson, the team's leading rebounder, who rolled his left ankle in Thursday's loss at Stanford.

Trailing by 17 points at halftime, the Bruins opened the second half with a 16-7 run that ended with a dunk by Ryan Hollins and Kapono's 3-pointer. That made the score 47-39, the first time the Cal lead had been below double digits since early in the game.

But Cal responded with a 8-0 run, including fast-break layups by Shipp and Richard Midgley, while holding the Bruins scoreless for more than five minutes. UCLA never got closer than 10 points the rest of the game.

Shipp said he had little sympathy for the Bruins.

'It felt good beating them. I wish we could have beaten them by 40,' he said.

UCLA returns home to face Oregon on Thursday, and will try to avoid its first seven-game losing streak since the 1945-46 season. UCLA also lost seven in a row during the 1944-45 season.

'We just frankly haven't played good basketball this season,' UCLA coach Steve Lavin said. 'We've just really struggled to find a rhythm all season long, and it really affects your confidence as a team.'

Hitting the road didn't cure the Bruins' ills. After losing four straight at Pauley Pavilion - UCLA has already set a school record with seven home losses this season - the Bruins had hoped for a change of fortune when they hit the road.

But UCLA lost Thursday night by one point at Stanford, and was never in Saturday's game.

Tamir had 16 points and Shipp added 13 in the first half for the Bears, who jumped out to a 20-8 lead and built their margin to 32-13. Cal maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the half.

Cal, which has won seven straight conference games for the first time since an 11-game winning streak in 1960, heads to the desert next weekend for games against Arizona State on Thursday and No. 1 Arizona on Saturday.

'It's great for our team to be off to a 7-0 start, but we know we have the Arizona schools and the Oregon schools coming up on successive road trips, and it doesn't get any harder than that,' Cal coach Ben Braun said.

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