California defeats Oregon to reach Pac-10 tournament semifinal – LA Times

By Gary Klein
Los Angeles Times


California came to the Pacific Life Pac-10 men’s basketball tournament with two goals for its quarterfinal game against Oregon:


Beat the Ducks and not expend too much energy doing so.


Top-seeded Cal had no problems Thursday, cruising to a 90-74 victory at Staples Center that advanced the Golden Bears into a Friday night semifinal against UCLA.


“I was pleased with the fact that really nobody played over 30 minutes so it gives us a little bit of a chance to rest,” Cal Coach Mike Montgomery said after his team improved to 22-9.


Cal, winner of its first outright conference title in 50 years, split two games with UCLA this season.


In January, the Golden Bears lost, 76-75, in overtime at Berkeley. They overcame a 14-point deficit to beat the Bruins, 72-58, at Pauley Pavilion in early February.


UCLA, buoyed by the return of freshman forward Reeves Nelson from eye surgery, on Thursday defeated Arizona, 75-69, to earn another shot at Cal.


“Being home in L.A. and getting Reeves Nelson back being healthy makes them more dangerous,” Montgomery said of the Bruins.


Good health probably won’t help UCLA much if Cal’s guards play the way they have for most of the season.


Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher demonstrated against Oregon why they both were selected first-team all-conference.


Randle, the Pac-10 player of the year, scored all of his 22 points in the first half. He made all eight of his field-goal attempts, including four of the Golden Bears’ nine first-half three-pointers.


Christopher finished the game with 21 points, making five of nine three-pointers.


“We just have to do the same that we did today