Big first half lifts Bears over Bruins in Berkeley

Big first half lifts Bears over Bruins in Berkeley
February 14, 2013, 8:45 pm
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BERKELEY -- David Kravish had 18 points and 13 rebounds, Richard Solomon added 17 points and eight rebounds, and California eased past UCLA 76-63 on Thursday night.

Pac-12 leading scorer Allen Crabbe had 15 of his 16 points in the first half to help the Golden Bears (15-9, 7-5) sprint out to a 28-point lead before the break. He added five assists and five rebounds as Cal held off the Bruins (18-7, 8-4) for its fourth win in five games, including three over the conference's top teams.

Jordan Adams scored 15 points, and Shabazz Muhammad had 13 points and 11 rebounds, for UCLA, which hasn't won at Haas Pavilion since a 76-75 overtime victory on Jan. 6, 2010. After two wins last weekend, the Bruins are back to chasing Arizona and Oregon for the league lead.

The Bears blitzed the Bruins from the opening tip. Getting a lift from a raucous home crowd, the only thing flashier than Cal's slick passing and penetration was its swagger. High-rising dunks. No-look passes. Blocked shots that landed in the stands.

Cal's confidence echoed throughout Haas Pavilion, and the Bears played in front of a national television audience as if they want another NCAA tournament berth. Cal scored 15 straight points during one stretch in the first half, holding UCLA without a basket for almost 6 minutes.

Crabbe capped the spurt with a 3-pointer that put Cal ahead 35-13, extending his arms out wide and flashing three fingers on both hands as frustrated UCLA coach Ben Howland signaled for timeout. The 6-foot-6 junior followed with a one-handed dunk on a fast break, nodding his head to the Cal football team sitting behind that basket.

The Bears outshot UCLA 59 percent to 30 percent in the first half. They led by 28 points before David Wear hit a 3-pointer to slice Cal's lead to 47-22 at the break.

But Cal hardly had a complete performance. UCLA started the second half on 14-4 run to trim the deficit to 15 points. Cal coach Mike Montgomery called timeout, and his players responded.

The Bears scored nine straight to regain control. Kravish capped the brief burst with a put-back layup while getting fouled by Travis Wear, then completed the three-point play to give Cal a 60-36 lead that UCLA could never overcome.

The game ended a difficult four-game stretch for Cal, which faced the Pac-12 leader for the third time in the past four games. They beat Oregon and Arizona but lost at Arizona State during the run.

The Bears also began a stretch of five of the final seven regular-season games at home. After losing 79-65 at Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 3, Cal gave UCLA all it could handle.

Adams' 3-pointer with 5:58 remaining brought the Bruins within 14 points, and they didn't get closer until the final second. In the end, the only thing UCLA's final push did was avoid its most lopsided loss this season - a 78-60 defeat at Arizona State on Jan. 26 - but the Bruins still were showered with chants from Cal fans of "Over-rated!"