Bears Fall In Defensive Battle To No. 5 UCLA
BERKELEY – In a hard-fought, defensive battle, the California men's basketball team came up short against fifth-ranked UCLA, 60-52, at Haas Pavilion on Sunday.
UCLA (10-1, 2-0 Pac-12) came into the game averaging 82.6 points per game, but Cal held the Bruins to a season-low point total. The Golden Bears also won the rebounding battle, 37-27, against a team that had been outrebounding its opponents by more than nine per game.
Senior Andre Kelly did everything he could to keep the Bears (9-7, 2-3) close, finishing with a game-high 22 points on 11-of-14 shooting from the field to tie his career best for most points in a Pac-12 game. He also tallied 22 points against Washington last season.
"There's no shame in laying it out there against the best teams and falling short," Cal head coach Mark Fox said. "It doesn't mean that you're a failure. We failed today, but these kids competed in a way that I was really pleased with."
Cal and UCLA battled through an even first half, which featured five ties and four lead changes. Neither squad went ahead by more than three points until UCLA used a late 8-0 run to go up, 29-21, with 1:23 left in the period. Kelly scored four straight to bring the Bears within four before the Bruins hit a shot in the final seconds for a 31-25 advantage at the break. Kelly finished the half with 10 points on perfect 5-for-5 shooting from the floor.
Out of the break, buckets by Jordan Shepherd and Kelly narrowed the game to two points, and UCLA led, 33-31, with 15:52 left in the second half. The Bruins then used a 10-2 spurt to get some separation and go ahead, 43-33, with 11:21 to go. Cal was able to get its deficit down to eight points several times the rest of the way but could get no closer.
While the Bears outscored UCLA, 36-30, in the paint and, 15-7, off the bench, the Bruins took advantage of 15 Cal turnovers, converting them into 17 points.
"I thought we did a lot of things to give us a chance (to win) throughout the game," Fox said. "But against the best, you have to be a little better than we were tonight."
In addition to Kelly's outburst, Shepherd contributed 10 points, five assists and five rebounds while Kuany Kuany had nine points for the Bears. Although he only scored two points, Grant Anticevich paced the Bears with eight rebounds.
Tyger Campbell led UCLA with 17 points, with Jaime Jaquez Jr. adding 14 points.
The Bears travel to the Pacific Northwest to play at Washington at 7 p.m. on Wednesday and at Washington State at 1 p.m. on Saturday for their first road games since Dec. 5. Both contests will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.
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