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Friday, February 12, 2010
Cal eyeing Pac-10 title

By Diamond Leung

Jerome Randle pointed to the area on his chest where he took a blow in the second half of Cal's 93-81 win against Washington.

It sent him to the floor, and he said he couldn't breathe as he was helped to the bench.

Jerome Randle
Cal's Jerome Randle scored 33 points against Washington.
By the end of the night, while listening to Jamal Boykin talk about the possibility of a conference championship, Randle had his breath taken away again.

"Whooo," he said just at the thought of it.

The 5-foot-10 guard was marvelous on Thursday, scoring 33 points to lead Cal to a home win that puts it in the driver's seat for the Pac-10 title.

Randle said the guy who got his knee banged up and meekly managed 5 points in a loss at Washington last month wasn't the real Jerome Randle.

"I just let it go," Randle said of the first matchup. "I just wanted to lead my team and be aggressive."

This time, he got back up and delivered the blow, finishing the night 12-of-19 from the field.

"I was very inspired by Jerome tonight," Boykin said. "That's what a leader does. You can't knock this man down."

"He probably had added motivation," Washington's Quincy Pondexter said.

The Huskies, meanwhile, fell to 0-7 in games away from Seattle, and coach Lorenzo Romar had already half-jokingly told reporters that he might have to bring a psychologist in if things continued to sour on the road.

But this loss wasn't so much about UW not showing up. The Huskies held their own in the early going, and Romar's main beef was that they got out-boarded 37-30.

"I don't know what it is about Washington, but it seems like they rebound better at home," Boykin said. "They seem to rebound harder at home. We wanted to hit them first here."

Cal simply declared itself the better team. Five Golden Bears scored in double figures, including Boykin's 20, while Theo Robertson added 12 plus a great defensive effort on Pondexter. Collectively, they shot 51.7 percent from the field.

Washington, the defending conference champion, no longer controls its own destiny in this race and is all but conceding that it'll have to get in the NCAA tournament by winning the league tournament after falling two games behind Cal.

Arizona and Arizona State are only a game behind Cal, and they'll each have to go through Haas Pavilion if they want to take the title.

Randle said he will be waiting.

"I smell a championship."