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UCLA beats California, 86-66, looks now to Stanford

February 19, 2014|By Chris Foster
  • UCLA's Kyle Anderson is defended by California's Tyrone Wallace during the first half of the Bruins' 86-66 win Wednesday over the Golden Bears at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif.
UCLA's Kyle Anderson is defended by California's Tyrone Wallace… (Doug Duran / McClatchy-Tribune )

BERKELEY — The words were already written in the UCLA locker room even before somewhat stunned California fans had time to shuffle out into the night.

"Stanford, 3 p.m., Saturday."

Bruins point guard Kyle Anderson immediately scribbled it on the white board. He was done with this one.

No one would begrudge UCLA players a few minutes of celebration.

The 86-66 victory over California on Wednesday was impressive. The Bruins handled the atmosphere at Haas Pavilion, where they had melted a year ago … and the previous year as well. They remained one game behind Arizona in the Pac-12 race.

But it was hard to tell from the serious look on UCLA players' faces just who won this game.

"I just want us to avoid a letdown," said Anderson, who had 11 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. "We haven't been too good on road trips in the second game."

That hung in the air around the Bruins like the fog across the bay. Twice in conference play, they have won the first game on a two-game road trip. And twice, they have lost the second one.

This was no time for a three-peat with days dwindling down in the Pac-12 race.

"We're starting to prepare already," said Travis Wear, who made six of eight shots and had 13 points. "This was a big win for us, but we got to start looking ahead."

The Bruins (21-5 overall, 10-3 in Pac-12 play) were already eyeing Stanford, a team they walloped, 91-74, last month at home.

"Not a lot of teams are sweeping in right now," Coach Steve Alford said. "That's a senior-laden bunch waiting for us in Palo Alto."

The team the left in rubble in Berkeley wasn't too bad either. The Bears (17-9, 8-4) were looking to catch the second-place Bruins in the standings. They couldn't even catch them on the scoreboard.

UCLA scored the first six points and led, 20-8, midway through the first half.

"That took life out of the crowd," said Jordan Adams, who had a game-high 28 points.

Not all the crowd. The Bruins fans who showed up put together a few loud "UCLA" chants while their team toyed with the Bears.

"We never looked back," Alford said. "We didn't trail at all, and that's hard to do in this building."

His players know that all too well. The Bruins were dominated in Haas Pavilion the last two season.

"I have never won here," Wear said. "To come in here and do it in this fashion my senior year is satisfying."

Alford called it his team's "best game of the year." California Coach Mike Montgomery was not going to argue.

"At this juncture it would be stupid to say they are not better than us," Montgomery said.

In all areas of the game Saturday.

The Bruins shot 57%. Adams was 12 of 19 from the field. He also had six rebounds and five assists. Anderson was his usual effective self distributing the ball.

On the other end, the Bruins were smothering. None of the Bears' starters scored in double figures. Justin Cobbs, Richard Solomon, David Kravish, Tyrone Wallace and Ricky Kreklow combined for 32 points — only four more than Adams.

The Bears shot 44%

Cobbs was averaging 18 points per game. He scored seven.

The effort led Wear to one conclusion: "The way we're performing makes us dangerous heading toward the postseason."

But before the postseason comes Stanford.

Said Adams: "That's what we have our minds on right now."

chris.foster@latimes.com

Twitter: @cfosterlatimes

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