The school-record losing streak continues for the Cal men’s basketball team.
This one might have been in as painful a fashion as the Bears have endured during their 13-game skid.
Cal, which led for nearly 31 minutes, was up by as many as 11 points, and was ahead with 76 seconds to play in regulation, fell to UCLA 75-67 on Wednesday night when there might have been as many people outside the arena signing a petition to fire Wyking Jones as there were inside Haas Pavilion.
Moses Brown’s free throw, just his second make in nine attempts, put UCLA ahead 65-64 with 4:18 left in overtime, and Chris Smith’s putback extended the lead to three points with 2½ minutes to play.
Jaylen Hands’ free throws made it a five-point game, which seemed insurmountable for a Cal squad that went 1-for-8 with two turnovers in overtime. Sure enough, Hands’ free throws in the final 68 seconds iced it.
The Bears (5-19, 0-12 Pac-12) played inspired defense, holding an opponent under 40 percent shooting for just the second time this season and for the first time since Hampton shot 31 percent Nov. 13.
But Cal, which got 18 points from Darius McNeill and 15 from Justice Sueing, got beat by 14 on the boards and had no answer for Kris Wilkes. The swingman, an NBA prospect, had 27 points on 5-of-8 3-point shooting for the Bruins (13-12, 6-6).
Cal led for all but 49 seconds of the first half and by as many as 10 points as UCLA got off to a woeful start. Interim head coach Murry Bartow did a full line change three minutes, seven seconds into the game after the Bruins’ starters missed their first eight shots.
It didn’t make much difference. UCLA opened 0-for-9 and didn’t make its second field goal until the 11:30 mark, when Cal already led 11-2. The Bears extended their advantage to 20-10 on two Sueing free throws with 7:51 left, but the Bruins went on a 9-0 run to make it a game.
Even though UCLA scored just eight baskets and had 13 turnovers on 37 first-half possessions, it went into the locker room chasing only a 34-25 deficit. Sueing converted the technical foul shots off a whistle on Jalen Hill to open the second half with an 11-point edge, and Cal still led by nine with 15 minutes to play.
But, behind three 3-pointers by David Singleton and a tad bit of interest on defense, the Bruins erased the deficit in a four-minute span. Chris Smith’s 15-foot jumper gave UCLA its first lead (44-43 with 11:05 remaining).
Cal didn’t lead again until Grant Anticevich hit back-to-back turnaround jumpers for a 57-55 advantage with 3:57 on the clock.
After missing his first eight shots, Matt Bradley confidently stepped into a jumper that put Cal ahead 59-55 with 2:04 remaining. Singleton trimmed it to 59-58 with a 3-pointer, and after a Paris Austin miss, Kris Wilkes’ corner 3 gave UCLA a 61-59 lead with 75 seconds to play.
Bradley’s free throws with 59.1 seconds left tied it, but the best player on the floor, Wilkes, responded with a 3-pointer that put the Bruins up 64-61 with 46.7 seconds on the clock. Bradley’s corner 3-pointer tied it with 27.6 seconds left, and Wilkes’ forced 3-pointer missed as the regulation buzzer sounded.