Saturday, February 6, 2010
Hot-shooting California too much for UCLA
UCLA's stay atop the Pacific 10 Conference turned out to be temporary.
UCLA's promising 14-point lead midway through the first half was short-lived too, as California stormed back and rolled to a 72-58 win at Pauley Pavilion.
That's a 28-point switch, for those of you scoring at home.
"To have it turn all the way around on us the way it did... was a combination of things," a frustrated Ben Howland said.
Really, the turnaround trickled down to one thing: playing too fast. The Bruins committed 16 turnovers less than two days after committing just five.
"It was disappointing that we fell back into that mode," the coach said.
UCLA, which could have stayed in first place with a victory, was careless offensively -- a bad habit that supposedly had been corrected in recent weeks. Guard Macolm Lee was visibly flustered by Jorge Gutierrez's suffocating defense.
"We did not do a good job of handling their defense," Howland added.
And the Bruins struggled to handle Cal's offense. Patrick Christopher and Theo Robertson each scored 20 points, while Jerome Randle contributed 14. Cal made 10 of its 24 three-pointers and shot a blistering 55 percent for the game.
UCLA? A meager 4-for-13 from beyond the arc. Sharpshooter Michael Roll made all four of those on his way to a game-high 22 points.
"We wanted to get the sweep of Cal," said Roll, who was the hero in UCLA's one-point overtime victory over Cal in early January. "We knew that they were going to fight. They just out-manned us."
Roll had little help. Senior Nikola Dragovic continued his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde act, missing seven of his eight shot attempts (all four from three-point range). Five of his seven points came from the free-throw line.
"He's a shooter," Roll said. "I can't say why he missed shots. I don't know."