UCLA: Patrick Christopher

Cal's senior class is UCLA's main road block

March, 12, 2010
Guards Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher combined for 43 points in California's rout of Oregon to set up a game with UCLA in the semifinal round of the Pac-10 Conference tournament tonight at the Staples Center.

For the Bruins to have a chance at winning, they will have to shut down one of the two. UCLA was able to do that in early January, limiting Randle to only 11 points on five-for-16 shooting at Haas Pavilion. The Bruins eked out a victory in overtime on a jumper from Michael Roll (click here for a short highlight clip).

A month later at Pauley Pavilion, UCLA had Cal up against the ropes, leading by as many as 14. But the Golden Bears rallied back for a dominating 14-point win behind 20 points from both Christopher and Theo Robertson.

After UCLA's victory over Arizona on Thursday afternoon, coach Ben Howland spoke about Cal's senior group and Roll talked about the desire to keep playing:

Revisiting California

February, 8, 2010
Here are a few notes from UCLA's 72-58 loss to California on Saturday afternoon:

-- After holding a 14-point lead 10 minutes in, it sure looked like UCLA would extend its winning streak over Cal to seven games. But the Bruins missed their final six shots of the first half -- a dry spell that accounted for just four points in the last eight minutes. Cal, meanwhile, scored 22.

-- Freshman Reeves Nelson suffered a concussion early in the game, but stayed in by lying to team trainers. He only played 20 minutes and scored six points on 2-of-5 shooting. It was his lowest scoring output since Dec. 12 at the John R. Wooden Classic, when Mississippi State All-America candidate Jarvis Varnado limited him to just five points.

-- Cal's Patrick Christopher and Theo Robertson became the first pair of teammates to score at least 20 points against UCLA in the same game this season. Christopher and Robertson scored 20 each on identical 8-for-13 from the field. Christopher, a native of nearby Compton, scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half.

"When they put the ball on the floor, they really hurt us with their dribble penetration," Coach Ben Howland said.
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."
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.



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