Cal squeaks by No. 10 Oregon
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP)
David Kravish made up for a game's worth of offensive struggles with one big defensive play that put California right back in the Pac-12 race.
Kravish struggled with his jumper most of the afternoon but forced a key change of possession after tying up Oregon's Tony Woods with 5.2 seconds remaining, taking away any chance the 10th-ranked Ducks had of forcing overtime and preserving the Golden Bears' 58-54 win on Saturday.
"I didn't have the timing to jump for it and I saw (Woods) come down, but he kind of brought the ball down," said Kravish, who had eight points on 4-of-13 shooting. "I had my hand on it, so I knew we had the jump ball."
Cal's first win over a top-10 team in more than five years won't win any style points, but it could be the spark coach Mike Montgomery has been looking for.
The Bears shot just 35.6 percent, committed 14 turnovers and trailed 50-42 with just over six minutes left but responded with one of their best defensive stretches of the season to hand the Ducks their second consecutive loss to an unranked team this week.
It certainly wasn't pretty — or easy.
Justin Cobbs made an 18-foot jumper with 1:35 remaining and then added a pair of free throws after Kravish prevented Woods from getting off a potential tying shot.
"More than anything, it was the way we were able to win because obviously we weren't very smooth offensively," Montgomery said. "The fact that we were able to hang in defensively was huge for us. That's something that we have to do if we're going to have a chance."
For Oregon, it was the latest setback in what has been a tough week.
The Ducks, coming off a 76-52 loss to unranked Stanford on Thursday, played their third straight game without starting point guard Dominic Artis and briefly lost his backup, Johnathan Loyd, to a right hand injury in the first half.
Loyd returned but it didn't matter much. Oregon (18-4, 7-2) committed 22 turnovers that led to 25 points for Cal, and the Ducks were held scoreless over the final four minutes.
"We had a six-point lead with three (minutes) to go and we never got any stops," Ducks coach Dana Altman said. "Turnovers and second-chance points were the difference. It's not just the point guard, it's everybody."
Woods finished with 14 points and eight rebounds for Oregon while Arsalan Kazemi added 10 points. No other Ducks player reached double figures.
Fans rushed center court at Haas Pavilion and surrounded Cal's players in a raucous celebration after Loyd's missed jumper as the buzzer sounded. It was the Bears' first win over a top-10 team since Jan. 31, 2008, and their first at home since Jan. 26, 2006.
"I've been here for three years and never had anything like that," said Solomon, who was stuck in the middle of the celebration. "It felt kind of good, honestly."
The frantic finish was in stark contrast to the first 35 minutes of the game when both teams struggled to find any kind of offensive rhythm.
Oregon shot 47.6 percent from the floor but made only one real solid run in the second half when the Ducks scored 11 in a row to take a 50-42 lead.
That turned out to be the lone highlight of the week for Altman's team, which had jumped six spots in the rankings this week. The Ducks will definitely drop out of the top 10 now after losing back-to-back games for the first time this season.
"It's not frustrating but it is disappointing," said Woods, who took only five shots and went 8 of 12 from the free-throw line. "Turnovers on the road ... that's a formula for a loss. Turnovers have been a big negative."
Cobbs, who finished with eight points and seven assists, made his go-ahead shot from just inside the 3-point line after E.J. Singler missed from beyond the arc.
The teams then exchanged airballs before Singler misfired again on a 3-point attempt. The ball glanced off the front of the rim and Woods appeared in position for an easy putback but Kravish reached in to force a jump ball, giving Cal possession.
Cobbs then made two free throws with 3.9 seconds left, and moments later the court was a sea of yellow.
Suddenly the conference race is a lot more crowded.
Oregon will still maintain at least a share of the lead in the Pac-12 but there are five other teams sticking close. Arizona and Arizona State, which began the day one game behind the Ducks, played later Saturday.
Cal is certainly in the mix following its 10th consecutive win over Oregon.
It didn't start out so well.
The Bears missed 13 of their first 16 attempts from the floor, shot just 31.3 percent in the first half and repeatedly turned the ball over against an Oregon team missing one of its best defenders in Artis.
Loyd had five points and five assists in the first half but fell to the floor with 16.4 seconds left in the first half and left holding his right wrist. He returned in the second half, his wrist heavily taped.
Even before Loyd went down, Oregon looked flat offensively.
The Ducks got off to a sluggish start for the second straight game and led 21-18 following Singler's 3-pointer with 5:58 remaining. But they were held without a basket the rest of the half and looked nothing like the team that had rattled off nine consecutive wins before getting blown out by Stanford by 24 points on Thursday.
Crabbe brought Cal's biggest crowd of the season to its feet when he stole the ball from Loyd and raced the length of the court for a dunk that put Cal up 22-21.
Kravish later scored on a tip-in to keep the Bears ahead by one before Woods made four free throws to give the Ducks a 27-24 halftime lead.
Solomon scored six of Cal's first eight points coming out of the break but neither team led by more than three until Oregon's 11-0 run midway through the second half put the Ducks up 50-42.
Kravish stopped the run with a 7-foot jumper and Crabbe later scored on a breakaway layup to tie the score at 54, setting the stage for Cobbs' game winner.