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Bears Topped By No. 7 Bruins

Jan 27, 2022
Sam Alajiki made three 3-pointers on the way to career-high 11 points in a loss at No. 7 UCLA on Thursday.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The California men's basketball team fell to No. 7 UCLA, 81-57, in a Pac-12 contest at Pauley Pavilion on Thursday night.
With its sixth straight loss, Cal fell to 9-11 overall and 2-7 in conference action. UCLA (15-2, 7-1) moved into sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 with their fifth straight win. The Bruins led by as many as 18 points in the first half and had runs of 10-0, 8-0 and 6-0 while the Golden Bears committed nine of their 17 turnovers before halftime.
Cal was led by Sam Alajiki, who scored a career-best 11 points on 4-6 shooting (3-5 from 3-point range) in his second start of the season. Kuany Kuany and Jordan Shepherd had nine points each. Andre Kelly (six points, team-high seven rebounds) and Jalen Celestine (seven points) were in foul trouble early in the second half and played 25 and 19 minutes, respectively.
The Bears led 11-9 after four minutes and made their first three 3-point attempts before UCLA took control. Cal shot 52 percent (11-21) and was 5-9 from behind the arc in the first half, but allowed the Bruins to connect for 56 percent (18-32) from the floor over the same span. Cal was just 1-12 from 3-point range over the final 20 minutes.
"Our defense, we have to find it. We have to find some answers there," Cal head coach Mark Fox said. "We allowed greater than 50 percent shooting from the field in the first half, and from (3-point range). And we got out-rebounded. We've got to be able to roll our sleeves up and do the dirty work on the defensive end first, which will help us on the offensive end."
The Bruins went to the line on four straight possessions in the second half, making 6-8 free throws for a 65-45 lead.
Jake Kyman and Watson combined to score 14 of UCLA's final 17 points. The Bruins ended the game with three straight 3-pointers, two in a row
by Kyman and one by Russell Stong. The Bruins have lost just once – at Oregon – since returning from a 25-day layoff due to COVID-19 issues in the program.
The Bears will face No. 15 USC at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Galen Center in Los Angeles. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.
For further coverage of Cal men's basketball, follow the Bears on Twitter (@CalMBBall), Instagram (@CalMBBball) and Facebook (/CalMBBall/).