HAAS PAVILION — Coming into Wednesday night’s matchup, the UCLA Bruins hadn’t won at Haas Pavilion since January 2010.
From the start, they seemed liked a team poised to change that.
In a conference game rife with standing implications, the Bruins came out and dominated the Cal Bears on both ends of the court, ending in an 86-66 rout by a Bruin squad riding a four-game winning streak.
Jordan Adams, put on an impressive offensive display for the Bruins, leading UCLA with 28 points on 12-19 shooting while also posting six rebounds and five assists.
Kyle Anderson also had an impressive line for the Bruins, flirting with a triple-double, with 11 points on 3-5 shooting, seven assists and nine rebounds.
A turnover- and foul-laden first half slowed down the Bears’ offensive attack. Cal scored 32 points on 39.3 percent shooting in the first half while allowing the Bruins to run up 44 points on 51.5 percent shooting.
It didn’t get any better for Cal in the second half either.
Cal trailed the entire game, with their slimmest margin being a 34-30 deficit with 3:46 left in the first.
The offense looked stagnant, with players either failing to convert or being forced into turnovers, ending the game with 13 total.
UCLA made sure there was no question who was the better team, especially in the eyes of head coach Mike Montgomery:
“At this juncture you’d really be to stupid to say they aren’t better than us. They’ve beat us twice pretty soundly. I think Steve [Alford] has done a really good job over there. They’re good defensively, they’re physical and they’ve got some really good players.”
Cal is now 0-2 on the season against UCLA, being outscored by a total of 32 points.
Jordan Mathews led the Bears with 16 points on 4-for-7 shooting and was one of just two Cal players in double figures, finishing with 1 rebound and no assists.
Jabari Bird, the only other Cal player in double figures, finished with 11 points on 5-for-10 shooting, while notching two rebounds and an assist.
Bird was a much-needed spark off the bench, though even he acknowledged it wasn’t enough to establish any sort of rhythm to pull Cal back into the game:
“They made plays and we didn’t. If we coulda made a couple of those open three’s, or a couple of those drop-offs, make free throws too, it coulda been a different game, but we didn’t.”
With Adams single handedly outscoring both Bird and Mathews, Cal failed to find a scoring threat capable of keeping the game close. One of the more notable problems was the Bears’ inability to execute quality passes throughout the game, something that was of concern to Montgomery.
“We aren’t passing the ball very cleanly right now. The ball is being held too long and passes that we are making are not helping our teammates. So as a result we aren’t getting any kind of rhythm… We are not making the pass that leads to the pass that leads to the basket.”
Though the Bears lacked any sort of offensive punch, their defense was not much better. Committing a total of 20 fouls, and giving up 13 turnovers and seven offensive rebounds which accounted for 33 of UCLA’s points.
After he led the Bears in scoring, Mathews recognized the team’s inefficiencies on defense:
“We had some breakdowns that we can all individually fix. But they are playing great basketball right now. Give them credit, they are a really good basketball team and they came to play tonight.”
With the Pac-12 race being so close, a conference loss can have harsh repercussions on the Bears’ season.
After the loss Montgomery said the team’s goal is to try to make it into the top four:
“We have a little bit of difficulty figuring out how to get ourselves ready to compete. That’s something we’re trying to work on and I don’t know what the answer is. They seem to be uncomfortable with the idea that this is a big deal and they get nervous.”
Cal has a shot to redeem themselves against a different Southern California team when they take on the USC Trojans Sunday at Haas Pavilion.