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UCLA Looks For Weekend Split Facing California

It is a busy Saturday afternoon for the UCLA Bruins, as their football and basketball teams both play in the Bay Area. The football team battles Illinois in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park in San Francisco, while the basketball team takes on the Cal Bears at Haas Pavilion.

UCLA lost a heartbreaker in their Pac-12 Conference opener on Thursday night, losing by a point to the Stanford Cardinal, as Lazeric Jones had his potential game-winner blocked at the buzzer. Jones, the Bruins' leading scorer on the season, scored 26 points and grabbed five rebounds for the Bruins in defeat.

The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Bruins, who are 7-6 heading into Saturday's contest.

Cal is 11-2 on the season, including 10-0 at home this season. Jorge Gutierrez had 13 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists in Thursday's win over USC.

The preseason Pac-12 media poll had a tightly bunched top three teams, but UCLA was picked to win, narrowly over Cal. The Bruins received 14 first place votes, Cal received 13, and Arizona received 11.

USC was able to outrebound Cal 38-25 on Thursday night. There is an advantage there for Joshua Smith and the Wear twins to exploit for UCLA against the Bears on Saturday. Smith scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds against Stanford, but was limited to 20 minutes before fouling out. If Smith can stay on the floor on Saturday, the Bruins have a good chance to be the first team other than Cal to celebrate a win at Haas Pavilion this season.

For more UCLA basketball news, be sure to read Bruins Nation.