BERKELEY, Calif. - Sean Miller's calendar spun backward again Thursday, and this time it landed on early December.
Maybe you remember the shaky Arizona team from those days, the one that sailed at or below .500, was blown out at Oklahoma and San Diego State, couldn't defend anybody, had inconsistent play from forward Jamelle Horne and went without the gritty intangibles of Kevin Parrom.
On Thursday, when Cal steamrollered the Wildcats 95-71 en route to a conference championship showdown with ASU on Saturday, those same traits resurfaced.
Horne had just three points and three rebounds against the smallish Bears, and played just 20 minutes. Parrom was out again with pain in his left foot, after missing the first 10 games of the season with a stress fracture. The Bears shot 56.7 percent from the field.
And it was all multiplied by the fact that the Bears are sniffing out what could be their first regular-season Pac-10 championship in 50 years.
The win left Cal in position to claim at least a share of the Pac-10 conference title Saturday against ASU. The Bears are now 11-5 in Pac-10 play and 19-9 overall.
"They knew the magnitude of this game, and felt pretty good," Cal coach Mike Montgomery said.
Arizona, meanwhile, fell under .500 for the first time since Jan. 14, when it lost 67-64 at Oregon State before going on a four-game winning streak. The Wildcats are now 13-14 overall and 7-8 in the Pac-10 entering a 5 p.m. game Saturday at Stanford, clearly with a polar opposite atmosphere in their locker room than the Bears.
"We came out and played with no confidence, and we were playing against a team that was ratcheted up and really eager to perform," Miller said. "It's a big weekend for them. They have a lot of older players and a chance to win a championship. So early on, it was two teams in different places."
Cal was so dominant early, scoring from all over the court, that it actually led by the final 24-point margin less than 14 minutes into the game.
The Bears led 41-17 with over six minutes to go after going on a 33-9 run, with Arizona pulling within 12 points at halftime thanks to a 14-2 run over the final six minutes of the first half.
But that wasn't nearly enough once Jerome Randle finally took off. The Bears had a variety of scoring weapons, much more than they showed in their 76-72 loss at Arizona last month, with center Jamal Boykin scoring 20 points, Theo Robertson getting 18 and Patrick Christopher 14.
Randle totaled 24 points, but he scored them in such a torrent early in the second half that he was the No. 1 memory sticking in the Wildcats' minds after the game.
Seventeen of Randle's points came over a span of 4:29 early in the second half, helping Cal take a 67-44 lead with 13 minutes left.
Randle had just 15 points on 5-for-14 shooting at McKale Center last month in the Bears' loss, and had only five points at halftime on 1-for-4 shooting Thursday but he heated up quickly in the second half.
Randle hit his first three-pointer with 17:20 left, to give Cal a 50-37 lead, and then ripped off two more three-pointers before the Wildcats could barely blink. His third one was on the break from about 28 feet away, putting the Bears up by 18.
When that one went in, the Wildcats' psyche may have never recovered.
"Jerome hit some tough shots, some big shots, and that's what great players do," UA guard MoMo Jones said. "He showed a lot of people he should be Pac-10 player of the year. You can't take nothing away from him."
After Randle's explosion, Cal expanded its lead to 61-40 by the time Robertson made a three-point play after Horne fouled him on a layup attempt, and Randle hit a two-pointer.
From there, Cal kept a comfortable lead even as UA center Derrick Williams piled up a team-high 17 points and Brendon Lavender hit 4 of 5 three-pointers en route to his 14 points.
No doubt those two will see plenty of action Saturday, when Miller indicated he may shake up his lineup to go more often with players who are producing. Already Thursday, he played center Kyryl Natyazhko together with Williams more often.
"There's no easy solution to our situation right now as much you just continue to work and coach and play," Miller said. "This is a time when you're able to learn a lot about your players, which guys stick it out, who continue to fight."
• What: Arizona at Stanford
• When: 5 p.m. Saturday
• TV: FSAZ, Channel 58
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM