This post was updated Feb. 14 at 2:31 p.m.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Bruins are back in the win column.
UCLA men’s basketball (13-12, 6-6 Pac-12) came back from a nine-point halftime deficit to California (5-19, 0-12) 75-67 in Berkeley on Wednesday night. With the win, the Bruins also moved up from tenth to seventh place in the Pac-12 standings.
UCLA trailed for the majority of the night and did not take its first lead until the 11:05 mark of the second half when sophomore guard Chris Smith buried an elbow jumper to put the Bruins ahead 44-43.
The Golden Bears – despite not having a conference win this season – remained composed, and built up a four-point advantage at 59-55 with just over two minutes remaining.
Freshman guard David Singleton stepped up and knocked down a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to pull UCLA within one. After forcing Cal into a miss on the other end, sophomore guard Kris Wilkes connected on a 3-ball of his own to put the Bruins ahead by two with 1:15 remaining.
The Golden Bears tied things back up with a pair of free throws, but Wilkes came up big again, hitting a 3 from the wing to put the Bruins up by three with 46 seconds left.
Cal guard Matt Bradley, however, answered back with a game-tying 3-pointer 19 seconds later. UCLA went on to miss on its final possession of regulation, sending the game to overtime.
In the extra period, the Golden Bears went cold, scoring just three points, while the Bruins scrapped their way to a big enough lead to take the contest for good.
Wilkes finished the night with 27-point, 10-rebound double-double in which he shot 9-of-15 from the field and 5-of-8 from beyond the arc.
UCLA also received a significant lift from its bench unit.
Singleton came in and connected on four of his seven tries from deep while Smith and freshman guard Jules Bernard added a combined 13 points and eight rebounds.
Freshman center Moses Brown struggled to get going on offense, posting just four points on two shot attempts. The 7-footer missed seven of his nine free throws as well, but managed to contribute on the glass by hauling in 11 rebounds.
Cal had three different players score in double figures, but shot just 33.8 percent from the floor as a team. The Golden Bears also missed 16 of their 22 shots from beyond the circle, including five of six attempts in the overtime period.
The Bruins will stay in the Bay Area to take on the Cardinal (13-11, 6-6) on Saturday evening. UCLA took the first meeting between the schools with a 92-70 victory Jan. 3 in Murry Bartow’s second game as interim coach.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.