LOS ANGELES -- A trip to the renovated Pauley Pavilion did not get the Cal basketball team back on track in its Pac-12 Conference opener on Thursday night.

Five days after losing to Harvard in its nonconference finale, the Bears fell behind by double-digits at halftime and lost 79-65 to streaking UCLA.

It was just the second time in five seasons under coach Mike Montgomery the Bears (8-5) have dropped their conference opener.

Allen Crabbe, who scored 21 points, said the Bears shouldn't make too much out of one defeat.

"We're down about it -- nobody wants to lose a conference game, especially the first one," he said. "We've got to get the next one. We've got 17 more conference games. We can't dwell on this one."

Cal plays Saturday night at USC, which opened conference play with a win over Stanford.

UCLA star freshman Shabazz Muhammad was excited to get past the Bears in the league opener. "They're going to win a lot of games in the Pac-12," he said.

In front of 9,406 fans, UCLA (11-3) won its sixth straight game.

Cal trailed 38-28 at halftime and was down 46-30 just 21/2 minutes into the second half.

But the Bears fought back, led by Crabbe, who attacked the basket and scored 16 second-half points.

Crabbe, who shot just 2 of 9 in the first half, scored 10 points in a span of 41/2 minutes midway through the second half, the last of those pulling Cal within 61-57 with 6:30 left.

That was as close as the Bears got. Kyle Anderson, one of three freshmen in UCLA's starting lineup, banked in a 12-footer, then made two free throws with 4:57 left, and the Bruins' lead was back to 65-57.

Muhammad then buried a 3-pointer and UCLA led by 11 with 4:09 left.

Crabbe said the Bears' poor start came back to haunt them.

"We came out flat, didn't have any energy," he said.

Richard Solomon had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Bears, and David Kravish chipped in nine points and 12 rebounds. Justin Cobbs had 12 points and six assists but shot 6 for 18.

Cal missed all 13 of its 3-point attempts, its second straight outing without making a shot from beyond the arc.

"They're taking it away," Crabbe said of the approach opposing defenses are taking. "We're not trying to force 3-pointers, I know I'm not. If they give me the lane, I'm going to take what they give me."

Cal tried to compensate by hitting the glass hard. The Bears out-rebounded UCLA 45-37, including 20 offensive boards. But they turned those into just 10 second-chance points.

"When you're down, you try to make every play," Crabbe said. "We've just got to finish on the second opportunity."

Anderson, a 6-foot-8 guard, finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season. Muhammad had 16 points, despite shooting 5 for 13, and point guard Larry Drew II dished out nine assists without a turnover.

The Bruins outscored Cal 12-0 from the 3-point arc and 23-5 from the free throw line.

The Bears played without senior guard Brandon Smith, out for the second straight game with a concussion. Sophomore Ricky Kreklow, who had missed eight of the Bears' first 12 games with a lingering foot injury, dressed and played in a reserve role but went to the floor with 16:11 left in the game and limped off the court.

"It's really hard right now. We don't have a lot of options," Montgomery said. "I thought the kids really competed, and had we made a couple point-blank shots, it could have been a whole different outcome."