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March 11, 2006
The Bruins (27-6), the regular-season champions for the first time since 1997, earned the conference's automatic NCAA bid - their second straight trip under coach Ben Howland.
The Golden Bears (29-10) were led by Ayinda Ubaka with 18 points and Leon Powe with 17 points and eight rebounds in their first tourney final. They haven't won a conference title of any kind since 1960.
Thanks to another mighty offensive performance by Powe - the tourney MVP - the Bears threatened early in the second half, twice getting within one point.
Powe scored Cal's first six points of the half, then was shut out the rest of the game.
The Bruins blew nearly all of a 16-point, first-half lead before breaking the game open with a 24-8 run in the final 20 minutes.
The second time Cal got within one in the second half, the Bruins ran off seven straight points to extend their lead to 43-35, even as Hollins and Mbah a Moute picked up their third fouls.
Powe turned the ball over, Farmar grabbed it and drove all the way to the basket for the score and a foul, but he missed the free throw. No matter, though, because Hollins dunked to keep the Bruins ahead 47-39.
Bozeman drove inside against Cal's beefy frontline, scored and got fouled. He made the free throw and Mbah a Moute hit a jumper on UCLA's next possession, pushing the Bruins' lead back to double digits for the first time in the half.
UCLA switched to man-to-man and continued double-teaming Powe. The Bears came up empty on three straight possessions before Hollins was called for goaltending, giving Cal its first basket in 4 1/2 minutes.
By then, the Bears trailed 54-43 and things quickly got worse. Farmar hit consecutive 3-pointers for a 60-43 lead with 4:42 remaining.
Ubaka and DeVon Hardin combined to score Cal's final 15 points.
The Bears cut a 16-point deficit to three on a 15-2 run that ended the first half. Powe had eight points and Ubaka seven while the Bruins' shooting went cold. Farmar missed three straight shots, Afflalo traveled and Lorenzo Mata turned the ball over on an offensive foul.
The Bruins' front court got into foul trouble, too, with two each on starters Mbah a Moute and Hollins and three on Alfred Aboya by halftime.
Before that, UCLA burst out of the gate with a 30-14 spurt as a result of attacking Cal with aggressive drives to the basket. Powe was limited to three points in the opening 17 minutes against a UCLA defense that double-teamed him.? Play Rivals.com Bracket Battles! Leagues are forming now!