Bruins and Bears to do battle in Pac-12 brawl

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Updated: 2/19 10:50 am

Berkeley, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - After climbing back into the national rankings, the UCLA Bruins will try to stay hot when they visit the California Golden Bears for a Pac-12 Conference tilt on Wednesday night.

UCLA, which has won three straight and six of its last seven games overall, spent the first five weeks of the season in the Top-25, but fell off in early December. The Bruins' recent success has lifted them back to that elite list, as they are ranked 23rd this week, with an overall mark of 20-5. They are the only other team in the conference besides Arizona, who they trail by a game in the conference standings, to have at least 20 victories this season. A matchup with Stanford is next on the schedule.

California has gotten out of a rut at the end of January with wins in three of its last four games. The Golden Bears may not be nationally ranked, but they have still enjoyed a strong season, with an overall mark of 17-8. That includes an 8-4 success rate in league matchups, the next of which is on Sunday against USC.

On Jan. 26, UCLA handed California a 76-64 defeat at Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins have won two of the last three meetings with the Golden Bears, and they lead the all-time series, 134-101.

Jordan Adams scored a game-high 24 points and Kyle Anderson finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in UCLA's 80-66 triumph over Utah last Saturday. The Bruins connected on 53.4 percent of their shots from the floor, including 7-of-13 from 3-point range, while holding the Utes to 41.8 percent field goal efficiency.

Since scoring only six points and missing all nine shots from the field in a 71-67 loss to Oregon State on Feb. 2, Adams (17.1 ppg) has returned to form in the last three games, netting at least 17 points in each. Even with Adams limited, UCLA has so much firepower that slowing just one player down rarely makes a difference. The Bruins are a top-15 team nationally in scoring (83.1 ppg), assists (17.5 apg) and field goal percentage (.494). Anderson (15.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 6.8 apg) is one of the most versatile players in the country, let alone the Pac-12, which he leads in assists. Norman Powell (11.4 ppg) and key reserve Zach LaVine (10.5 ppg) add depth on offense.

The Golden Bears were also in action last Saturday, earning a 72-59 victory at Washington. Tyrone Wallace dropped in 20 points to lead the way, but defense ruled the day, as Cal held the Huskies to 35.3 percent shooting and forced 14 turnovers.

California is a more modest offensive group compared to UCLA. The Golden Bears rank seventh in the Pac-12 in scoring (74.9 ppg), and eighth in field goal percentage (4.60). However, they move the ball well, dishing out 15.4 assists per game. Justin Cobbs (16 ppg, 6 apg) is at the forefront of the offensive effort, leading the way in both scoring and assists. Cobbs had only 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting against Washington, but he handed out five helpers. Wallace (12.1 ppg) is a fine complement in the backcourt, while Richard Solomon (11.8 ppg, 10.3 rpg) and David Kravish (11.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg) form a strong duo on the interior.

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