No. 20 UCLA Downs Cal on the Road, 61-57
BERKELEY, Calif. – The No. 20-ranked UCLA men's basketball team weathered a 3-point shooting storm to claim a 61-57 win over California on Thursday night at Haas Pavilion.
UCLA improved to 8-0 in Pac-12 play. The Bruins secured their 15th victory in their last 16 Pac-12 contests, dating back to last season.
With Thursday's win, the Bruins have matched the program's best start to a conference schedule (at 8-0) since the 1982-83 squad went 9-0 out of the game. The victory was UCLA's seventh in a row as the team improved to 12-2 overall.
UCLA, also ranked No. 24 in the AP poll, outshot the host Golden Bears on Thursday, 46% to 40%. The Bruins owned a 38-23 rebounding advantage, but California stayed in the game with some hot shooting from beyond the 3-point arc.
"We made some adjustments defensively, and the kids did a great job with it," said Mick Cronin, The Michael Price Family UCLA Men's Head Basketball Coach. "And we got the lead there late, tried to get our best defensive lineup in, and we kept them off the foul line. It was an advantage down the stretch. We knew we had fouls to give with the way we were trying to play defense, so that helped us."
California (7-9, 2-7 Pac-12) connected on 10 of 22 shots from 3-point distance, accounting for over half their points. Grant Anticevich finished with a team-leading 21 points. He connected on 5 of 5 shots from 3-point territory, becoming the first opposing player to go perfect from 3-point distance – with at least five attempts – since Portland's Jared Stohl was 5-for-5 on Nov. 26, 2009.
UCLA trailed the Golden Bears at halftime, 36-32, as California made 7 of 12 attempts from 3-point territory in the first half.
The Bruins outscored California by a 29-21 margin in the second half.
Cody Riley finished the game with 13 points, connecting on 6 of 10 shots. Jules Bernard had 11 points as UCLA's only other player to score in double figures.
Riley scored eight of his 13 points in the second half, while Bernard had seven of his 11 points after halftime.
UCLA also received key contributions from Jalen Hill (six points and a team-best eight rebounds) and Jaime Jaquez Jr. (seven points and seven rebounds).
Trailing by four at halftime, UCLA scored the first five points of the second half to take the lead and set up a back-and-forth affair.
The Bruins claimed the game's momentum with a 7-0 run – highlighted by a deep 3-pointer from David Singleton – that made it 48-43 with 11:08 to go in regulation. California hung around, even taking a one-point lead on Anticevich's fifth 3-point basket of the game (with four minutes to go).
From there, Riley hit a midrange jumper – the last of six consecutive points scored for UCLA by Riley – to give the Bruins the lead for good at 57-56 with 2:54 remaining.
On the ensuing possession, Bernard hit a deep 3-pointer from the left wing to make it a two-possession game. His 3-point basket proved to be the decisive basket in UCLA's win.
UCLA finishes its Bay Area road trip with a Pac-12 showdown against Stanford this Saturday afternoon. Game time is 2 p.m. in Santa Cruz, Calif. (at Kaiser Permanente Arena). The game will be televised nationally on FOX.