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UCLA Men's Basketball Puts Total Beatdown On Cal, Cruises to Win

The Bruins secured a bye in the Pac-12 tournament by dominating the Golden Bears at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday night.
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All signs pointed towards a blowout heading into Saturday's contest between the Bruins and Golden Bears, and that's exactly what wound up going down at Pauley Pavilion.

No. 4 UCLA men's basketball (23-4, 14-2 Pac-12) demolished California (3-24, 2-14) from start to finish, locking up the 78-43 victory long before the final buzzer sounded. The Bruins led by as many as 37 points and held their opponent under 53 points for the third time in five games.

With the win, UCLA extended its winning streak to six games, and made it 23 victories in a row at Pauley Pavilion. With the loss, Cal extended its losing streak to 11 games and fell to 0-11 on the road this season.

It wasn't anything new for the modern era of the UCLA-Cal series, as the Bruins have now won 11 in a row over the Golden Bears. Over the past three seasons, UCLA has held Cal to 50.8 points per game in their six meetings, never letting them break 57.

In the first four minutes of Saturday's contest, Cal had two turnovers and was 0-for-3 from on layups while UCLA led 9-0. It was only a three-score game, but the Bruins' student section was already chanting "We want Russell," calling for veteran walk-on guard Russell Stong to check in for what they already considered garbage time.

Immediately after the Golden Bears called a timeout, they turned it over again to set up a 3-pointer by guard Jaylen Clark.

Cal didn't hit its first field goal until the 13:57 mark of the first half, and it took another 3:32 of game action before they hit their second. It took nearly 13 minutes before a Golden Bear other than guard Joel Brown recorded a point, at which point seven Bruins had already scored.

Even when Cal got to the line for free points, they went 1-for-2 on each of their first three trips to the line. UCLA, on the other hand, started 9-for-10 on free throws.

The 15 points the Bruins gave up in the first half were the fewest they had allowed in any half under coach Mick Cronin. The Golden Bears were shooting just 18.5% from the field with 0.455 points per possession in the first half, paling in comparison to how the Bruins were playing on the other end.

Guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. – who turned 22 years old Saturday – hit two of UCLA's first three shots, and he also had a stretch where he scored seven of nine points for the Bruins. Jaquez's 13 points and seven rebounds at the break led all players, while Clark, point guard Tyger Campbell and big man Adem Bona were all plus-23 with UCLA up 38-15.

Cal got its first shot of the second half to fall, but that was the lone make in what turned out to be a 1-for-15 stretch. Jaquez, Clark, Bona, Campbell and guard Amari Bailey were all getting it done at the other end, stretching the Bruins' advantage out to 59-22 to the tune of some more "We want Russell" chants.

After missing its first shot of the second half, UCLA followed that up with a 9-for-11 tear. Even when the Bruins missed five shots in a row and the Bears hit two in a row with five free throws, the deficit was still only cut to 27 points.

UCLA was back up by 30-plus in no time thanks to some short-range buckets by Clark and guard Dylan Andrews and a 3-pointer by Bailey.

Another few runs later, Cronin was finally ready to send in the walk-ons. An hour-and-a-half after the home crowd started begging for him to see the floor, Stong hit a free throw.

Although his open 3-pointer in the final seconds just rimmed out, Stong now has four of his nine career points against Cal.

Jaquez led all players with 20 points to go along with eight rebounds, while Bailey dropped 16 with nine boards. Bona only had six points and four rebounds, but he had three blocks and a team-high +40 plus-minus in 23 minutes.

The Bruins outscored the Golden Bears 44-16 in the paint and had 19 assists to their opponent's four.

UCLA will return to action Thursday against Utah, tipping off its final road trip of the season. The Bruins and Utes will get started at 8 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on FS1.

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