Rapid Reaction: California 85, UCLA 69

December, 31, 2011
12/31/11
4:35
PM PT

BERKELEY, Calif. -- UCLA was within a point at halftime, but couldn't stay with California and lost, 85-69, Saturday at Haas Pavilion.

Overview: UCLA had major breakdowns defensively and allowed Cal to shoot 65.4 percent from the field. The Bruins shifted back and forth between man and zone, but it mattered little as Cal kept finding holes and getting wide open shots.

It was the second-highest shooting percentage against UCLA this season, behind only the 71.4 Middle Tennessee shot on Nov. 15.

And the Golden Bears didn't discriminate. They had six players score in double figures, finding scoring opportunities all over the court. Allen Crabbe led the way with 20 points, including four of seven on three-pointers, while post players Harper Kamp, David Kravish and Robert Thurman combined for 34 points -- many coming by way of the dunk.

Turning point: The Bruins trailed only 40-39 at halftime, but Cal went on a 10-0 run to start the second half and took control of the game as UCLA never got to within single digits after that.

Crabbe had a three-pointer and a fastbreak layup during that run while Justin Cobbs also had a three pointer. The Golden Bears extended the lead to as many as 24 points with 4:50 to play.

UCLA star of the game: Tyler Lamb had a career-high 26 points and tried to keep the Bruins in the game. He also did an admirable job defending all-conference guard Jorge Gutierrez when UCLA was in a man defense Gutierrez, who scored 34 against UCLA last year, had 16 points on five of 10 shooting. David Wear also had a career-high with 17 points, but the rest of the Bruins combined for 36 points on 11 of 31 shooting.

Stat of the game: California's 65.4 percent shooting marks the third time this season UCLA has allowed an opponent to shoot better than 60 percent and the fifth time a UCLA opponent shot higher than 50 percent. Of the California players who took more than two shots, only Gutierrez (five of 10) shot less than 60 percent.

"Today we didn’t get anything done defensively," coach Ben Howland said. "The first half we played pretty well offensively to keep it to a one-point game. But when you keep letting a team score almost every time they get the ball, eventually you’re digging a hole for yourself so our defense really let us down today."

What it means: The Bruins opened Pac-12 play 0-2 for the first time since 1987-88. The Bruins actually started 0-3 in conference that year, but recovered to finish 12-6 and tied for second in the conference but did not make the NCAA tournament. Coach Walt Hazzard was fired after that season.

The Bruins continue a tough opening stretch against Arizona Thursday at the Honda Center in a game the Bruins almost certainly have to win if they are going to get the season turned around and make a run at an NCAA tournament berth.

Peter Yoon

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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