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Cal's top-ranked defense gets job done

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- The California Bears showed UCLA why
they have the top-ranked defense in the Pacific-10.

Amit Tamir scored 18 points, and Brian Wethers added 15 points, six rebounds and a career-high six assists as California handed No. 25 (AP only, unranked by ESPN/USA Today) UCLA its third loss in four games with a 69-51 victory over the Bruins on Thursday night.

The Bears (19-6, 10-5 Pac-10) won for the fifth time in six games thanks largely to a conference-leading defense that held UCLA 13 points below its previous season low.

"I thought we stepped it up in our biggest game of the year," California coach Ben Braun said.

Soloman Hughes added 12 points, and Joe Shipp had 11 for the
Bears, who are 16-1 at home this season. Cal defeated UCLA 92-63 at
home last year, the Bears' largest winning margin in the series
that dates to 1922.

Dan Gadzuric had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Bruins (17-9,
9-6), and Jason Kapono added 10 points. UCLA made just three of 18
attempts from 3-point range and committed 21 turnovers.

"Our intensity was there," Wethers said. "Cal teams in the past have been considered soft, but not this team. We win with our passion on the court."

Gadzuric made all seven of his shots, but the rest of the Bruins were 13-for-40. Kapono, the team's leading scorer at 17.6 per game, hit just three of nine shots.

UCLA coach Steve Lavin was most impressed with California's
interior defense.

"They've got a lot of timber in there," Lavin said, "and they just get after it. I like their chemistry. The last two years they've played exceptionally well against us here and we've played very poorly."

Tamir, a 22-year-old freshman from Jerusalem, scored a career-high 39 points in his last home game, a 107-103 win over Oregon in double overtime.

"The fans love me here and that makes me feel good," he said.

With 2:25 left, UCLA's Matt Barnes was ejected for a flagrant foul on 5-foot-10 guard Shantay Legans. Barnes threw a forearm to the head of Legans, who laid face down on the court for more than five minutes. He eventually got to his feet and was helped into the locker room.

Braun said Legans suffered a concussion, but he didn't know if his starting point guard would miss Saturday's home game against Southern California.

"I've seen Matt Barnes play in a lot of college games and I believe he would want to take that back," Braun said.

Lavin said he didn't see the play, but asked Barnes what happened.

"He said Shantay was hanging onto his jersey and he just reacted," Lavin said. "He just let his emotions get the better of him in the heat of the moment. It's very unfortunate. Hopefully, Shantay is OK and he'll be able to play on Saturday."

Barnes made just three of 11 shots and finished with eight
points. He came in averaging 13.6 points. UCLA's previous low this
season was 64 points, done twice -- including a 64-57 win over
California on Jan. 26.

This was the fourth straight season the teams split their two meetings.

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