BERKELEY -- This was a Cal team playing with confidence and aggression. A team that wants to be part of the NCAA tournament discussion.
The Golden Bears delivered an impressive encore to their win four days earlier at Arizona, roaring to a 25-point halftime lead on the way to a 76-63 victory over UCLA on Thursday before 9,854 fans at Haas Pavilion.
"This is the team we should have been all season, the team we can be," sophomore David Kravish said.
Cal (15-9, 7-5) still isn't among the top three teams in the Pac-12 standings. But the Bears have beaten all three of them -- UCLA, Arizona and Oregon -- and all in a span of 13 days.
"When we're playing like this as a team and our confidence is up, we can really do some things," said Pac-12 scoring leader Allen Crabbe. "We're clicking as a team right now, and we keep getting better each and every day."
Once light years from the so-called NCAA tournament "bubble," the Bears now are ascending in the conference standings and the national consciousness. With four wins in its past five games and tied for fourth place, Cal returns to action Sunday at home against USC.
An ESPN2 national audience watched the performance, as did much of the Cal football team sitting under the south basket. Also on hand were UCLA alum and TV analyst Bill Walton and former Cal greats Kevin Johnson and Andy Wolfe, who was honored as the Pete Newell Career Achievement Award winner.
"Our big guys were great," Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. "Nineteen for 24 from the floor -- that's fabulous."
Kravish said he and Solomon had a heart-to-heart about what they needed to contribute. "It starts with us," Kravish said. "If we get the rebounds, the team can run, and that's when the team gets fired up and plays with some energy."
Crabbe scored 16 points -- all but one of them in the first half -- and Justin Cobbs added 12 points and nine assists. Freshman Tyrone Wallace had seven points, six assists, four blocks and three steals.
Certainly energy and effort were key for the Bears, who led 47-22 at halftime and never let the Bruins (18-7, 8-4) back into the game.
"The guys were fired up, they were jacked," Montgomery said. "They came at us pretty good in the second half. I guess you can't expect to play that well at that kind of pace for 40 minutes.
"It was a great win for us. The fact that it was on ESPN probably helps a little bit for people to see us."
Cal never trailed after 3-2 and used a 15-0 run midway through the first half to zoom into a 35-13 lead with 7:03 left. Crabbe, who scored 31 points in the 77-69 win at then-No. 7 Arizona, scored seven during the surge.
The margin reached 28 points late in the half, during which the Bears shot 58.8 percent from the field, compared with 30.3 percent for the Bruins.
"The first half of basketball we couldn't do anything right and they did everything right," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "They shot an incredible percentage. We fell down -- kept taking quick shots and avalanching further and further and digging a deeper and deeper hole."
UCLA opened the second half with a 14-4 burst but never got closer than the final margin.