- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Having beaten three ranked teams this season - all of them at home - Jabari Bird believes California is finally ready to make a serious run at the Pac-12 title.

Oregon coach Dana Altman sees no reason why the Golden Bears won’t push for the title, either, especially after watching the 11th-ranked Ducks suffer their worst loss of the season.

Bird scored 16 of his season-high 24 points in the first half and punctuated his big night with a reverse dunk in the final seconds, leading California to an 83-63 victory over No. 11 Oregon on Thursday night.

“At home we definitely have some swagger,” said Bird, who shot 9 of 14. “We have to improve on the road. Once we get that figured out, we’ll be fine. At home we’re a team to be reckoned with. We haven’t lost yet.”

Cal improved to 15-0 at Haas Pavilion this season with one of its most dominant performances of the year.

The Bears (16-8, 6-5) never trailed, led by as much as 25 and handed the Ducks their first loss since Jan. 17.

It’s another big step forward for coach Cuonzo Martin’s team. Cal previously beat No. 21 Utah, No. 12 Arizona and lost by one in overtime to then-No. 5 Virginia on Dec. 22.

“More than anything, it’s understanding that this is how we need to play to win,” Martin said. “We have to play as a unit.”

Jaylen Brown added 16 points, Ivan Rabb had 13 points and seven rebounds, while Tyrone Wallace finished with 10 points in his return to the lineup after missing nearly a month due to injury.

Dillon Brooks scored 17 points, and Chris Boucher added 11 points and six rebounds for Oregon. The Ducks (20-5, 9-3) had their six-game winning streak snapped.

“That is the Cal team you expect when you play them at home,” Altman said. “We are not the only victims of a loss here. Once they got the 3s going they really spread us out and we just couldn’t recover.”

Cal lost to Oregon 68-65 when the two teams met in Eugene. This time, the Bears left no doubt.

Bird got Cal off to a fast start with three quick 3-pointers early and repeatedly burned the Ducks from the perimeter. He finished with five 3s and the Bears had nine overall.

Oregon made one final push late and pulled within 72-57 with 4:51 remaining before Kameron Rooks scored on a tip-in to half the Ducks’ surge. Brown followed with three consecutive baskets for Cal before Bird scored on a reverse dunk to cap the Bears’ scoring and bring the sellout crowd of 10,628 to its feet.

“He’s probably the first guy that I’ve ever been around that you deal with him, you coach him, you get after him and he never pouts, he never complains,” Martin said. “A true professional. You can only root for a guy like that.”

Cal made its first five 3-point attempts and led 21-9 just six minutes into the first half. Bird, who was limited to just two points in the Bears’ loss at Oregon in January, led the Bears with nine points - all from behind the arc.

Sam Singer made two free throws to extend the lead to 29-9 with 10 minutes left.

Oregon never recovered from the slow start and trailed 42-24 at halftime.

“It’s a big confidence booster,” Bird said. “We played hard on the defensive end and shut down a really good offense team.”

TIP-INS

Oregon: Brooks has scored in double figures in all but three of the Ducks’ 25 games this season. . Oregon, which went into the game shooting nearly 50 percent from the field in conference games, missed eight consecutive shots during one stretch in the first half.

California: The Bears have won 16 straight home games dating to March 1, 2015. … Sam Singer had five assists in the first 5 minutes. … Brown left the game briefly in the second half after appearing to lose a contact lens.

WALLACE RETURNS: Wallace had not played since suffering a broken bone in his right wrist during practice on Jan. 11. Cal’s leading scorer when he went out, Wallace missed five games and was noticeably rusty when he returned, going 4 of 11 from the floor. “We’re not the team we need to be without Tyrone,” Martin said. “For a guy not even practicing when he was out, that’s not easy.”

UP NEXT

Oregon: At Stanford on Saturday.

California: Hosts Oregon State on Saturday.

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