BERKELEY, Calif. — For a moment in UCLA’s 86-66 win Wednesday night, Cal breathed in hope.
With less than four minutes left until halftime, senior point guard Justin Cobbs hit a running floater against heavy contact. He pumped his fist, and headed to the line. He hit the free throw.
What had been a double-digit Bruin lead less than three minutes ago was cut to four.
It would be Cobbs’ only field goal of the first half. He missed an 18-footer on the Bears’ next possession, and UCLA unleashed a 7-0 run in 88 seconds. The Bruins walked into the locker room with a commanding 44-32 lead, and never felt threatened again through the remaining 20 minutes.
No. 23 UCLA (20-5, 9-3) at Cal (17-8, 8-4)
When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Haas Pavilion TV: Pac-12 Networks (JB Long, Don MacLean, Ashley Adamson) Radio: AM 570 (Chris Roberts, Tracy Murray)
No. 1: Which Cal team will show up? The Bears may be the Pac-12’s most perplexing team. They gave USC its lone Pac-12 victory after winning five straight to start conference play, only to turn around 10 days later and knocked off undefeated Arizona. They then proceeded to lose to Stanford at home by 11 points.
Cal is trending up a bit again with dominant road win at Washington, but the Huskies are on track for their worst record in six years. The Bears do score 59.1 percent of their points on 2-pointers — the second-highest mark in the league — so they’ll need 6-foot-10 forward Richard Solomon to establish himself inside and the rest of the team’s jumpers to fall. In eight losses this season, Cal shot 40.8 percent from the field, down nearly six from their season average.
On paper, UCLA enters tonight with the clear edge. The Bruins have suffered lapses this season, but that’s happened most often on the back end of road trips. Even if they get off to a slow start, they’ve proven that they can flip the switch coming out of halftime.
No. 2: Cal’s fifth starter. The Bears haven’t found a consistent contributor to finish out its first-string unit, with Jordan Mathews, Jabari Bird and Ricky Kreklow getting 12, nine and seven starts, respectively. Injuries to Bird and Kreklow disrupted the lineup for weeks, but the former has seen the court just 29 minutes in his past three games — hardly building off his 12-point second half against UCLA. Continue reading “What to watch: No. 23 UCLA at Cal” »
UCLA has plugged a familiar family name onto its coaching staff.
According to Bruin Report Online, the Bruins hired Mike Tuiasosopo to fill the vacancy that opened when defensive coordinator Lou Spanos left for the Tennessee Titans. Linebackers coach/special teams coordinator Jeff Ulbrich was promoted to coordinator,
Tuiasosopo was most recently a defensive line coach at Colorado under Jon Embree in 2011 and 2012. He coached the same unit at Arizona from 2004-10.
His cousin, Manu, was an All-American defensive lineman at UCLA in the 1970s. His nephew, Marques, was the Bruins’ tight ends coach in 2012 and recently joined Steve Sarkisian’s USC staff.
UCLA coach Steve Alford talked to the media today about Jordan Adams and Travis Wear’s recent shooting, as well as freshman guard Zach LaVine’s struggles from the field. Heading into their Bay Area trip, the Bruins are ranked No. 23 in the AP poll and No. 25 in USA Today — their first appearance in the top 25 since Jan. 13.