Wed, 20 Jan 2021

UCLA looking to beat Cal for 7th straight time

Field Level Media
06 Dec 2020, 05:55 GMT+10

Two teams struggling with turnovers hope to clean things up Sunday night when California visits UCLA in Pac-12 Conference play.

The Golden Bears (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12) are playing their second conference contest, having been competitive against No. 25 Arizona State in a 70-62 home loss Thursday. It'sthe league opener for the Bruins (2-1, 0-0).

UCLA, which finished one game behind Oregon atop the Pac-12 a year ago, has shown steady improvement in its three nonconference games. After a season-opening loss at San Diego State, the Bruins outlasted Pepperdine in three overtimes before crushing Seattle, 78-52, on Thursday.

The Bruins' season has been marked by balanced scoring -- six players currently average in double figures -- and a high turnover rate. UCLA had 15 turnovers against Seattle -- one more than the opposition -- and has three more miscues than its opponents so far this season.

"We're not going to be a quality team the way we're turning the ball over," Bruins coach Mick Cronin said. "I've been around long enough now to know you're not ever going to finish at the top of your conference, not going to be a really good team, if you're not plus in that category. I've really got to clean things up."

The Bruins return most of their players from a team that swept a home-and-home series against the Bears last season. Jalen Hill, who currently is averaging a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds per game, contributed 11 points and six rebounds to UCLA's most recent win over Cal, a 50-40 home victory in January.

The Bruins have won the last six in the series by an average of 13.2 points.

The Bears, who finished tied for eighth in the Pac-12 last season, have worked hard on improving their 3-point shooting this season. Newcomer Makale Foreman made 3 of 6 attempts from distance against Arizona State, but his teammates combined to hit just 4 of 20 attempts.

That included Matt Bradley, who led the team with 20 points despite making just 1 of 9 3-point attempts. The usually reliable Bradley also had a team-high six turnovers as the Bears doomed their upset chances with 20 giveaways.

While noting the mistakes, Cal coach Mark Fox tried to be upbeat in his postgame assessment.

"We played a nationally ranked team, a team that a lot of people think have a chance to win the Pac-12, and we got to the last two or three minutes with a chance to win," he said. "We did a lot of things we wanted to do to give ourselves a chance to win. We made too many errors that cost us a chance to win. But we did a lot of things, that if we repeat them, will give us a chance to win."

--Field Level Media

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