Cal rallies back to beat Washington 72-59
Tyrone Wallace scored 20 points, and California rallied from a 12-point first-half deficit for a 72-59 win over Washington on Saturday to remain on the edge of the Pac-12 Conference regular season title race.
Richard Solomon added 18 points as the Golden Bears (17-8, 8-4 Pac-12) swept both Washington schools and now get four of their final six conference games at home.
California was sluggish at the start and trailed 27-15 only to be leading by halftime thanks to a 19-2 run to close the first half. The Bears pushed the lead to as many as 13 in the second half and then stemmed every run Washington attempted to make.
Andrew Andrews led Washington with 21 points after being benched in the second half of the Huskies win over Stanford on Wednesday. Leading scorer C.J. Wilcox was held to eight points, 11 below his season average.
Nigel Williams-Goss added 12 for Washington, but the Huskies (14-12, 6-7) were 4 of 21 on 3-pointers and missed all 10 attempts in the second half.
Justin Cobbs added 10 points, six rebounds and seven assists as the Bears swept the season series. California routed the Huskies 82-56 in Berkeley on Jan. 15 that brought to a crashing halt Washington's quick start to conference play.
California's slow start on Saturday could have been a bit of a hangover from Wednesday's overtime win at Washington State, the second time in four games the Bears were pushed to overtime.
Washington's biggest lead came with 6:49 left in the first half after Andrews knocked down his third 3-pointer of the half to give the Huskies a 27-15 lead. But turnovers on four of the next six possessions gave California extra chances and some easy transition baskets. California finished with 14 points off 10 Washington turnovers in the first half and the Bears capped the half by hitting five of their final six shots.
Washington's only basket over the final 6:47 of the half came on a basket interference call with 8.1 seconds that handed Wilcox his only points of the half. Washington's leading scorer was otherwise shut out of the offense. Wilcox didn't attempt a shot for more than 12 minutes before his driving attempt in the closing seconds. But even that was cancelled out by soft defense that allowed Cobbs to get to the rim and score on a layup just before the halftime buzzer.
California scored six of the first eight to start the second half and stretched the lead to 45-35 with 15:40 left when Jordan Mathews' 3-pointer took a friendly bounce and fell through. After Andrews missed on a wild drive into the lane, Wallace spun away from Wilcox and scored with a finger roll while being fouled. The three-point play gave California a 50-37 lead with 13:05 left.
Washington scored eight straight to get back within five but the Bears stemmed every run made by the Huskies. Free throws by Solomon and a smart dribble-drive dunk from Jabari Bird pushed the lead back to nine. When Blackwell scored off a scramble to get Washington within 56-50 with 6:30 left, Ricky Kreklow answered with a 25-foot 3-pointer for a nine-point Cal lead.
The Bears finally put it away when Cobbs dribbled down the shot clock and found Solomon for a 17-foot jumper with 3:39 left to give Cal a 63-52 lead.