LOS ANGELES -- Cal is the only Pac-10 school in a comfortable position to secure a NCAA Tournament bid and there were times during the first half of its semifinal game against UCLA where it looked as if the Bears were content to let another Pac-10 team join them at the dance.
Cal never led in the first half and fell behind by as many as 10 seven minutes into the game. Senior guard Michael Roll led the Bruins with 16 points, hitting 3-of-5 three-pointers and grabbing three rebounds.
Jerome Randle, the Pac-10 Player of the Year, scored 14 points for the Bears and scored five straight points to cut UCLA’s lead in half when it appeared as if the Bruins would run away with the game early.
Reeves Nelson is once again providing UCLA with a much-needed presence in the paint, scoring 6 points and grabbing 3 rebounds, but he is clearly frustrated by the goggles he has to wear following laser eye surgery to repair a retinal tear in his left eye. He takes off the goggles during every stoppage and threw them down on the floor when he was called out of the game.
“I don’t want to wear them,” Nelson said yesterday. “But I have to if I want to play.”