FACTS & STATS: Site: Los Angeles Sports Arena (15,000) -- Los Angeles, California. Television: FSN. Home Record: Cal 15-1, UCLA 11-3. Away Record: Cal 3-4, UCLA 2-5. Neutral Record: Cal 1-1, UCLA 1-2. Conference Record: Cal 9-3, UCLA 7-5. Series Record: UCLA leads, 132-99.
GAME NOTES: The California Golden Bears and the UCLA Bruins both try to extend their current win streaks to three games, as the Pac-12 Conference rivals square off tonight at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
Cal is having the best season of any team in the Pac-12 overall with a 19-6 record, and the team is currently tied with Washington for first place in the standings with a 9-3 conference mark. The Golden Bears have risen in the standings over the past few weeks by winning seven of their last nine games, the most recent of which being a 75-49 shellacking of last-place USC on Thursday.
UCLA has experienced some struggles this season in losing back-to-back games on four separate occasions, but the team still find itself just two game out of first place in the Pac-12 with a 7-5 league ledger. The Bruins have won four of their last five bouts, with their latest triumph coming against Stanford on Thursday, 72-61.
UCLA leads the all-time series with Cal, 132-99, although the Golden Bears have won four of the last six meetings, including a 85-69 decision in Berkeley on New Year's Eve.
Cal owns a league-best scoring margin of +12.3 thanks to its third-ranked scoring offense (72.2 ppg) and its second-ranked scoring defense (59.9 ppg). The Golden Bears are also the Pac-12's most efficient team, ranking first in field goal percentage (.483), three-point FG percentage (.388), and free-throw percentage (.751). Cal's hot streak continued in the 26-point rout of USC on Thursday, shooting 55.7 percent from the field while holding the Trojans to just 21 field goals on 62 attempts. Allen Crabbe scored 19 points for the Golden Bears on 8-of-12 shooting overall, and David Kravish ripped down a career-high 18 rebounds. Crabbe ranks fourth in the conference in scoring (16 ppg) and first in three-pointers (64). Jorge Gutierrez (13.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg), Justin Cobbs (12.6 ppg, 4.6 apg) and Harper Kemp (10.4 ppg, .562 field goal percentage) round out the balanced attack for the Golden Bears. Cal has the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the conference at 1.38.
UCLA has been average this season in terms of statistical placing, ranking seventh in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (69.9 ppg) and sixth in scoring defense (63.6 ppg). The Bruins have been picking up the pace lately however, scoring 70 points or more in three of their last five games. Both units came to play in Thursday's tilt as the team shot 51 percent from the floor while holding Stanford to 39.3 percent efficiency, and the Bruins logged 15 steals and 11 blocked shots. Lazeric Jones finished with 21 points, six assists and tied a season-high with six steals. He now averages 13.7 ppg, 4.5 apg, and 2.0 spg on the year. Frontcourt players Travis Wear (11.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg), Joshua Smith (10.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and David Wear (10.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg) have all been effective this year, with each shooting at least 51 percent from the floor. Though it ranks towards the bottom of the league in terms of three-pointers made, UCLA is second to only Cal in terms of three-point field goal percentage (.380).
This will be a big test for Cal as it has been suspect on the road this season, but the Golden Bears will ride their hot offense to a win and further prove why they're one of the top teams in the Pac-12.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: California 72, UCLA 69
02/11 10:44:06 ET
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