Basketball: UCLA wins, denying Cal unlikely back-door piece of Pac-12 title; Bears earn No. 2 seed

The big tease ended for Cal basketball fans this afternoon.

UCLA survived a back-and-forth game with host Washington, winning 61-54 to secure the Pac-12 Conference championship and deny the Golden Bears an unlikely piece of the league title.

Cal needed losses by UCLA and Oregon on the final day of the regular season to steal a piece of the crown three days after losing 83-70 at home to Stanford.

Utah, which began the day 4-13 in Pac-12 play, accomodated the Bears by upsetting Oregon 72-62 in Salt Lake City. But UCLA won at Washington for the first time since 2004 to grab the outright championship.

UCLA (22-8, 13-5) will be the No. 1 seed for next week’s Pac-12 tournament at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, matched in a quarterfinal game on Thursday at noon against the winner of Wednesday’s first-round matchup between the Nos. 8 and 9 seeds.

Cal (20-10, 12-6) wins the tiebreaker to earn the No. 2 seed and will play Thursday at 6 p.m. against the winner of the Wednesday matchup of the Nos. 7 and 10 seeds.

The complete schedule for the Pac-12 tournament will be released later Saturday after the day’s final three games are played.

Cal entered the week riding a seven-game win streak and needing a win over Stanford plus one loss each by co-leaders Oregon and UCLA to gain a share of its second Pac-12 title in four years.

The Bears’ loss to Stanford seemed to end the drama, even as UCLA unexpectedly lost on the road to last-place Washington State. Then Oregon fell at Colorado on Thursday, keeping the suspense alive until Saturday’s games.

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Jeff Faraudo