Cal edges Colorado 66-65 in overtime
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) Justin Cobbs made a pair of free throws with 20.8 seconds left in overtime, and California kept alive its slim NCAA tournament hopes with a 66-65 win over Colorado on Saturday.
The Golden Bears (19-12, 10-8 Pac-12) scored seven points in overtime, all on free throws. Cobbs made four of them to overcome a cold night from the floor and finished with 21 points and four assists.
Richard Solomon and David Kravish both had double-doubles for California, which ends the regular season in a five-way tie for third place in the Pac-12. The Bears will be the fourth seed in the conference tournament beginning Thursday in Las Vegas.
Xavier Johnson scored 24 points for Colorado, which has lost three of four. The Buffaloes are the fifth seed.
Cal trailed for much of the game and was down by three early in overtime before pulling out the win at the free-throw line.
The Bears, who were held without a basket for the final 2:44 of regulation, didn’t make a bucket at all in the extra period and shot just 35.4 percent overall.
Still, coach Mike Montgomery’s team found a way to hold on for the critical win. A loss would have left Cal with the eighth seed in the conference tournament and staring at an uphill battle to get into the NCAA tournament.
It’s still not going to be easy but the Bears are in much better shape after holding off the Buffaloes (21-10, 10-8).
It was only Cal’s second win in five home games at Haas Pavilion since the Bears’ 60-58 upset of then-unbeaten No. 1 Arizona on Feb. 1.
Wesley Gordon scored on a layup and Josh Scott made a pair of free throws to give Colorado a 63-60 lead in overtime.
Cobbs made two free throws with 2:05 remaining and Kravish added two of his own to put Cal up 64-63.
After Askia Booker scored on a quick layup, Cobbs missed two long jumpers before getting fouled and making both free throws.
Colorado had one final chance but Booker’s desperation 3-pointer bounced off the backboard.
The Buffaloes also missed a chance to win the game in regulation when Xavier Talton’s bounce pass deflected off Cobbs’ leg with less than two seconds remaining. Cobbs alertly grabbed the ball near midcourt and heaved a shot at the buzzer but it missed the rim.
Solomon and Kravish each had 14 points and 12 rebounds for Cal.
Johnson got Colorado off to an early lead before briefly heading to the bench midway through the first half with an apparent shin injury. He scored 14 of the Buffaloes’ first 18 points, including 10 straight, while repeatedly beating the Bears on the perimeter and down low.
California, which had not lost to Colorado in nine previous home games, made its best run while Johnson was out.
The Bears held the Buffaloes scoreless for nearly five minutes and used an 11-2 run to go up 23-20.
Cobbs later added a pair of long jumpers, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, but Cal’s offense went cold over the final six minutes and Colorado ended the half on an 11-5 run.
The Buffaloes extended their lead to 51-42 midway through the second half before the Bears made a late push to set up overtime.
Kravish made a pair of long jumpers for Cal and Cobbs added four free throws in the final 30 seconds of regulation.