Cal Gets a Rude Awakening

Times Staff Writer

Good news rarely comes in the hours after midnight, and this was no exception.

After the California Golden Bears defeated Oregon in double overtime late Friday at Staples Center, Leon Powe learned that the reward was not a Pacific 10 Conference tournament title game against UCLA in prime time. Instead, it would be at midafternoon.

"I was thinking like later, so we could chill in bed," Powe said. "When they said 3:15, I was like, 'Man, we might as well [have] stayed in the gym and kept on our clothes and got back out there.'

"That's what it felt like going back out there. It was like I slept over here."

And over the last 16 minutes 18 seconds of UCLA's 71-52 victory Saturday, it was as if Powe were still snoozing.

The forward who set Pac-10 tournament records with 20 rebounds Thursday against USC and 41 points Friday against Oregon, did not score during that pivotal span, when the Bruins stretched a one-point lead into a runaway victory.

His statistics over that period: one foul, one rebound, two turnovers and two missed layups.

Powe, the tournament's most valuable player after posting three-game averages of 26.7 points and 11.3 rebounds, refused to pin the defeat on fatigue, though he acknowledged that he had difficulty sleeping when the Bears returned to their hotel early Saturday.

"I was still on an emotional high off the game," Powe said of Cal's 91-87 victory over Oregon that ended well after 11 p.m. "I was in the bed, I just wasn't asleep."

Cal seemed to sleepwalk through the first 15 minutes of Saturday's game, falling behind by 16 points. But just as they did against Oregon, when they rallied from an early 16-point deficit, the Bears fought back.

Powe scored the first six points of the second half for Cal and had a chance to tie the score with 16:18 remaining when he stepped to the free-throw line after scoring inside and drawing a foul on UCLA center Ryan Hollins.

But Powe missed and UCLA went on a 24-8 run en route to its first Pac-10 tournament title since 1987.

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