FINAL SCORE: CAL 72, UCLA 58. A huge win for the Bears, now 15-8 and 7-4 in the Pac-10. UPDATE: Bears end the day alone in first place after Arizona and ASU both lose in Washington. Cal’s first win at Pauley since 2006, meaning it was the first time for Randle and Christopher. Cal broke a 6-game overall losing streak to the Bruins., and got 2-2 split of the four games on this tough road stretch. Christopher and Robertson each had 2o points, Randle had 14 and seven assists and drew big-time praise afterward from Mike Montgomery. The threesome of Sanders-Frison, Amoke and Gutiterrez combined for 12 points and 16 rebounds. Bears shot 54.6 percent. Roll scored 22 for Bruins (11-12, 6-5), who fall out of the four-way tie for first place. Bears back home Thursday to face Washington.
2:23 2nd H: Robertson just hit a 3-pointer off a pass from Randle and it’s 70-53 Cal. UCLA continues to sabotage itself at the FT line — 3-for-last-11. The Pauley faithful are leaving — guess it’s over.
3:34 1st H: Randle just hit a 3-pointer coming around a screen and Cal leads 65-52. Roll missed for UCLA — Bears’ ball. Chrstopher has 18, Robertson 17 and Randle 14, but others are playing well, too — MSF, Gutierrez, Amoke. Cal is rebounding better this half, playing well in its halfcourt defense. UCLA has made just 2 of its past 9 FTs.
5:16 2nd H: Suddenly, Cal appears to be gaining control. The Bears lead 62-50 after a layup and jumper by Christopher, who has 18 points and is playing very well. UCLA has missed its past five FTs. Cal is functioning well on offense despite shooting 1-for-7 from 3PT in the half.
7:50 2nd H: It’s Cal 55-50 after a fastbreak dunk by James Keefe off a Cal turnover. More transition defense problems. Cal is defending fine in the halfcourt, but getting hurt off long misses and TOs. Sanders-Frison is back on the bench.
9:45 2nd H: Is Cal weathering the storm? Lee made 1 of 2 FTs, then Boykin scored a layup off Christopher feed, and Christopher went all the way to the rim for a layup. It’s Cal 52-45.
11:34 2nd H: Sanders-Frison taken to the locker room.
11:34 2nd H: Sanders-Frison limping off after fouling Lee on a fastbreak, then tumbling over a TV cameraman. Lee going to the FT line for two with UCLA down just 48-44. UCLA is taking advantage of Cal in transition, running out off missed 3-pointers. Cal either needs to get back more quickly on defense or start making a few 3s — or both. Cal is 0-for-4 from 3Pt in the half.
12:06 2nd H: Bruins becoming more aggressive and it’s paid off. They’ve outscored Cal 10-2, including the past six in a row, pulling within 48-44 after a transition layup by Nelson. In the halfcourt, UCLA taking the ball to the basket and drawing fouls. Crowd into it now.
15:20 2nd H: The Bears turned the ball over twice in a row, then Gutierrez got a steal and fed Christopher for a dunk and a 46-34 lead. Bruins are 2-for-7 in the half. Dragovic is 0-for-6 for the game.
17:15 2nd H: Cal leads 44-32 after a layup by Boykin off a nice no-look pass from Robertson. Cal is 3-for-4 in the half, UCLA 1-for-4. The BIG question: Can the Bears handle prosperity? We’ll see.
HALFTIME STATS: Sanders-Frison has given the Bears four points, five rebounds and two steals — perhaps his best contribution of the season for a half. And he has just one foul in 16 minutes — a huge improvement over his season average of one every 5.2 minutes. Robertson has 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting, Randle has nine points on 3-for-6 from 3-PT, Christopher has six, four rebounds and two assists. Bears are 7-for-14 from 3-PT. Amoke has three fouls. Cal is shooting 51.9 percent overall, UCLA 52.2 percent. But the Bruins finished by making just 2 of their last 10. Roll has 12 points for UCLA.
HALFTIME SCORE: Well, if you thought you’d seen everything on Thursday, here we go again. Cal leads 37-30 after a closing run of 11-0 in the final 1:53 of the half — courtesy of 3-pointers from Christopher, Robertson and Randle (from about 26 feet), and a Boykin layup off a feed from Robertson with 3 sesconds left in the half. Cal went 26-6 over the final 10 1/2 minutes to rally from 24-11 down, holding UCLA to 2-for-10 shooting with six turnovers on the Bruins’ final 16 possessions of the half. Sanders-Frison, with just one foul, has been effective at both ends. Providing some muscle on defense and an inside target on offense, from which he redistributes the ball to the perimeter guys. Will pass on halftime stats as soon as they deliver them to us.
3:48 1st H: It’s a new ballgame. Cal within 28-26 after a 15-4 run. Good ball movement, better defense. Cal shooting 7-for-9 in the run, UCLA is 2-for-6 with four turnovers in its past 10 possessions — and NO offensive rebounds. Sanders-Frison is playing very well, Amoke is providing energy and the three perimeter guys are sharing the ball.
5:47 1st H: Cal has scored four straight possessions — the past two on baskets by Robertson– and trails just 28-23. Howland called timeout. Bears on a 12-4 run. It’s now 25-0, but it’s something.
7:24 1st H: Don’t want to overstate this, but signs of life from Cal. The Bears trail 26-17 and will get the ball after the timeout. They’ve forced turnovers the past two UCLA possessions. As the Bears often say — don’t always do — defense is the key: UCLA has scored just once in its past five times with the ball, and Cal is creeping back in. Maybe.
10:11 1st H: The Bruins pushed the lead to 22-8 after a 3-pointer by Roll, but Randle answered with his second 3-pointer of the game, and the teams have traded baskets since then. It’s 24-13 UCLA. After their first two possessions, the Bruins made 10 of 11 shots during a stretch that led to a 24-11 score. They are 10-for-14 overall — 71.4 percent.
13:49 1st H: A very animated Mike Montgomery in the timeout huddle right now. UCLA leads 15-6 and is threatening to run away with this one. Roll has come around screens easily for open jumpers on the Bruins’ past two possessions, and made ‘em both. Cal is shooting 2-for-9. Amoke in for Boykin.
15:55 1st H: The Bears started with Gutierrez at the point, and Cal got good perimeter shots against UCLA’s zone defense. But after Robertson hit an open 3-pointer, Cal missed two. UCLA didn’t score on its first two possessions, despite getting offensive rebounds, but hasn’t missed since and leads 9-3. Markhuri Sanders-Frison is coming in for Gutierrez, so Cal will go more traditional. More bulk, more rebounding.
STARTING LINUPS: A change for Cal — sophomore Jorge Gutierrez will start in place of Omondi Amoke, giving the Bears a three-guard alignment. Rest of the lineup the same — Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, Theo Robertson and Jamal Boykin. UCLA will start Malcolm Lee, Michael Roll, Nikola Dragovic, Tyler Honeycutt and James Keefe.
WELCOME: I’m here at Pauley Pavilion, happy to report (like you even care) that it’s finally (for now) stopped raining here. Been raining in L.A. since I got here Thursday — thought that was against some city ordinance. If I wanted rain, I could just wait until getting home tonight.
Everyone who is supposed to be here for Cal is warming up. The Bears appear to be intact.
Will be back with starting lineups when they are available.