LOS ANGELES (AP) - David Wear scored a career-high 18 points, Kyle Anderson finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds and five assists and UCLA never trailed en route to a 76-64 victory over California on Sunday evening.
The Bruins (16-4, 5-2 Pac-12) led 55-52 with seven minutes remaining, but finished the game on a 21-12 run to pull into a tie for second place in the conference standings with the Golden Bears (14-6, 5-2).
“We had to get back to who we are,” UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. “Our bad transition play was due to bad offense. We shot really well in the first half and poorly in the second. Even in a poor shooting half, we still outscored them by one. We began to screen, cut, move the ball and we got back to who we are.”
Jordan Mathews scored 18 points to lead California, and Justin Cobbs added 14 on 4-of-10 shooting. The Golden Bears dropped their second consecutive conference game after opening Pac-12 play 5-0.
UCLA led at halftime, 40-29, and pushed its margin to as many as 19 points early in the second half. The Bruins used an 11-3 scoring run in the first five minutes of the second half to secure a 51-32 cushion.
California responded with an 18-4 run, trimming UCLA’s advantage to 53-50 with 9:16 to play in regulation. The Golden Bears never got closer than three points the rest of the way.
Leading 55-52 with seven minutes to play, Anderson hit a jump shot at the 6:49 mark and converted the ensuing free throw to push UCLA’s lead to 58-52. Anderson responded to a jumper made by Cal’s Richard Solomon with a two-point bucket with 6:09 to play, keeping UCLA’s lead at 60-53.
Following a pair of free throws from Mathews, UCLA received four consecutive points from Bryce Alford to extend its margin to 64-55 at the 4:38 mark.
The Bruins made 10 of 12 free throw attempts in the game’s final 1:31 to improve to 5-2 in Pac-12 action.
“Bryce made crucial plays and drives to the basket,” Steve Alford said. “They switched and made some odd matchups and for a freshman to make those plays was huge. Then he made his foul shots. Kyle Anderson, for playing the whole half, gave us really good minutes even when he was tired. We got a big game out of David Wear.”
UCLA will play five of its next seven games on the road. The Bruins will play at Oregon on Thursday, Jan. 30 and at Oregon State on Sunday, Feb. 2. Thursday evening’s game in Eugene, Ore., will begin at 6:00 p.m. (PT) and will be nationally televised on ESPN2.