Cal Basketball: Bears Host Pac-12's First-Place UCLA Bruins

Coach Mark Fox rules out leading scorer Matt Bradley (ankle) for a fifth straight game
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CAL (7-8, 2-6 Pac-12) vs. No. 24 UCLA (11-2, 7-0 Pac-12)

WHERE: Haas Pavilion, Berkeley

WHEN: Thursday, 6 p.m.

TV/RADIO: ESPNU/810-AM

CAL-UCLA HISTORY: UCLA leads 142-103 in a series that began 100 years ago. Cal won 36-28 in the first meeting during the 1920-21 season, took the first six and 27 of the first 29 games in the series. UCLA has won the past six meetings, including 76-56 at Pauley Pavilion in both teams’ Pac-12 opener on Dec. 6.

VIDEO: Former Cal coach Ben Braun talks in the video above about how the Bears have coped without injured Matt Bradley, their leading scorer.

CAL STORYLINES: The Bears return home after posting their first road victory of the season, 72-63 at Utah on Saturday. Cal trailed by 12 points at halftime before erupting for 50 second-half points. Senior forward Grant Anticevich led the Bears with 14 points, including 10 during the second-half comeback . . . Cal will again be without junior wing Matt Bradley, the team's leading scorer (17.8), who still isn't ready to play in a game because of a sprained left ankle that has forced him to the sidelines the past four games. Coach Mark Fox said Wednesday he won't rule out whether Bradley might be available Saturday against USC. Bradley also missed two games in December with a separate right ankle injury. The Bears have managed to assemble a 4-2 record without Bradley, with four different players leading the team in scoring in those games . . . Cal is No. 181 in the NCAA’s NET computer rankings. . . . Junior forward Andre Kelly (10.4 points, 6.0 rebounds) has scored double digits in five straight games and is shooting 71 percent from the field in Pac-12 games . . . Sophomore point guard Joel Brown came off the bench at Utah to contribute five points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals. His defense against UCLA point guard Tyger Campbell could be key in this one . . . The Bears are 6-0 this season when they score at least 70 points, 1-8 when they fail to reach that threshold.

UCLA STORYLINES: The Bruins have quietly built a two-game lead atop the Pac-12 standings and crept into the AP poll at No. 24. The Bruins are 7-0 to start conference play for the first time since the 1993-94 season. . . . Dating back to last season, UCLA has won 14 of its past 15 games against Pac-12 foes . . . UCLA features a balanced offense, with no player ranked among the top-15 scorers in the Pac-12. Six different players have led the Bruins in scoring over the past six games . . . Five players average double-digit scoring, not including 6-foot-9 senior guard Chris Smith (12.6 points, 6.4 rebounds), who is out for the season with an ACL injury. Three key sophomores are 6-6 wing Jaime Jaquez Jr. (13.2 points, 5.8 rebounds), point guard Tyger Campbell (11.9 points, 6.4 assists) and Kentucky transfer Johnny Jazang (11.1 points). “We take pride in sharing the ball and getting other guys open,” Jaquez told the Los Angeles Times . . . Second-year coach Mick Cronin said Campbell is the team’s most critical player. “We’re not a good team,” Cronin said, “unless he’s playing well.” . . . UCLA is No. 30 in the NET rankings . . .

CAL GAME NOTES: Click here

UCLA GAME NOTES: Click here