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Holiday leads UCLA past Cal, 70-57

LOS ANGELES -- Coming into Thursday night's game, California and UCLA were both struggling, and only one was going to come out feeling better as the second half of Pac-12 play begins.

Aaron Holiday had 21 points and the Bruins put together a pair of impressive runs to beat Cal 70-57 and snap a three-game losing streak.

"We're going to have to build on that," said UCLA coach Steve Alford.

UCLA (14-7, 5-4 Pac-12) shot 41.7 percent on 48 field-goal attempts, while Cal was 22-of-62 (35.5 percent) shooting.

The Bears dropped their seventh straight, turning the ball over 15 times.

"Our team is young," said Cal coach Wyking Jones. "It's their first time in this atmosphere, so I kind of expected it."

The Bears were a little younger Thursday, playing without leading scorer Don Coleman (16.9 per game) who was left home for a violation of team rules.

Freshman Justice Sueing led the Bears with 24 points and Marcus Lee added 13. The rest of the team scored 20 points on 8-of-33 (24 percent) shooting.

Lee got into early foul trouble and, with him on the bench, the Bruins went on most of its 18-0 run that gave them a 32-27 lead late in the first half. Cal went almost 8 1/2 minutes without a field goal.

UCLA started four guard for the first time this season, and Alford felt the adjustment showed early in the game.

"I thought we were much better in the second half with four guards," Alford said. "We're long, we're fast, we're very good in transition and I do think it got us more in transition."

After Sueing scored eight in a row to give Cal a 47-45 lead midway through the second half, a 16-4 UCLA run put the game away.
Jaylen Hands added 14 points and Kris Wilkes scored 10.

"Aaron Holiday is their guy," Jones said. "Night in and night out, he's the go-to guy for them. He did his job tonight. I'm not surprised when he plays well. He's a great player."

Cal outrebounded UCLA 41-34 and outscored the Bruins 20-6 in second-chance points, but made just 4 of 16 from 3-point range and 9 of 16 free throws. The Bears committed 15 turnovers.

"We had 19 offensive rebounds, but I feel like we have to do a better job of capitalizing," Jones said.

Despite his offensive output, Holiday said he was most pleased about the UCLA defense forcing turnovers and holding the Bears to such poor shooting.

"Our defense really came round today," Holiday said. "It just shows how hard we fought and well we can play when we're playing defense like that."

BIG PICTURE

Cal: The Bears won their Pac-12 opener over Stanford, 77-74, but have lost every game since.

UCLA: The Bruins hardly got the overall strong game they were hoping would turn their season around, but had to feel they at least made positive step.

UCLA SCARE

Center Thomas Welch, the Bruins' leading rebound and third-leading scorer, collapsed on the floor in the first half and left for the locker room with what UCLA called a sprained left knee.

He returned in the second half and finished with 7 points and 5 rebounds in 26 minutes.

LEE FOUL TROUBLE

Jones thought the Bears were moving the ball well in the first half when they built a 13-point lead.

"It was great up until the point when Marcus went out of the game with foul trouble," he said. "We run our offense through Marcus, so when he comes out of the game it becomes a little bit tougher for us to score."

UP NEXT

Cal: Remain in Los Angeles to play USC on Sunday. After some early struggles, the Trojans have won five straight.

UCLA: Stay at home to play Stanford on Saturday. The Cardinal won their first meeting at Stanford, 107-99.

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

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