UCLA awaits a determined California team


UCLA avenged a prior loss to Stanford on Thursday night, now it will look to fend off a California team that seeks revenge of its own.

Thanks to a last-second jumper from Michael Roll, UCLA escaped with a one-point overtime victory that left fans at Haas Pavilion stunned.

The Bruins expect an angry and determined opponent today at 1 p.m. inside Pauley Pavilion.

“It’s going to be an intense battle,” Reeves Nelson said.

The Golden Bears’ three-point loss to USC on Thursday -- which put them in a four-way tie with UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State -- sure didn’t make them any happier.

“Cal is going to come in here really rip, roaring and ready to go,” coach Ben Howland said.

Today's game will be televised nationally on CBS. It's the third time UCLA has been on the network -- the previous two were losses (at Notre Dame and at home versus Arizona).

Despite a national audience, standout guard Jerome Randle should come out plenty motivated. Randle had a poor shooting night in the teams’ previous meeting (1-for-8 from beyond the arc and missed 11 of his 16 shots overall). Howland doesn’t expect the same this time around, calling the 5-foot-10 Randle a future NBA player in his teleconference with reporters Friday afternoon.

“He’s really skilled,” he said. “He’s so quick with the basketball.”

Randle has company. Theo Robertson and Patrick Christopher combined for 38 points last time, but UCLA found a way in the end.

Roll picked up a loose ball in the waning moments and sank a jumper from just inside the three-point line to put the Bruins ahead. Jamal Boykin’s desperation half-court shot was not close.

How much does Cal want today's game? With an hour and a half left until tip-off, Christopher was the only Cal player on the floor, while a choir rehearsed its pregame rendition of the national anthem.