STANFORD, Calif. (AP) On a night when was equally effective shooting from the perimeter as he was from the free-throw line, Stanford’s Dorian Pickens had no desire to talk about his offense.
It was the way the Cardinal played defense that gave Pickens the most satisfaction, especially considering the opponent.
Pickens scored 23 points, Reid Travis had 19 with nine rebounds and Stanford held on to beat California 73-68 on Friday night.
Article continues below ...
”Once we started picking it up defensively is when we started really making a push and making a run,” Pickens said. ”Once we started getting stops we were able to get out in transition and our offense came from there. Our defense was phenomenal in the second half, especially late.”
Marcus Allen added 11 points for the Cardinal, who overcame an early 12-point deficit to beat their cross-bay rivals for the 21st time in the last 24 meetings between the two teams at Maples Pavilion.
Stanford (13-13, 5-9 Pac-12) won for only the second time in seven games and split the season series with California.
Pickens had nine points, including a pair of 3-pointers, as part of a 20-5 run in the second half when the Cardinal pulled away. He finished 5 of 9 from the floor and made 10 of 11 free throws.
”I just wanted to be aggressive, inside and out,” Pickens said. ”I wanted to get things going early, try to get to the free-throw line. A lot of my offense came from there tonight.”
After California closed within 62-56 on Grant Mullins’ 3-pointer with 4:54 remaining, Allen made two free throws and Pickens scored on a jumper from the free-throw line as he was falling backward onto the court.
Jabari Bird scored 23 points and set a career-high with seven 3s for the Golden Bears (18-8, 9-5). Ivan Rabb added 16 points and 13 rebounds after being slowed by foul trouble in the first half.
California’s loss was costly. The Bears failed to complete their first season sweep of the Cardinal since 2009-10 and missed a chance to strengthen their position in the Pac-12 standings.
As it is, coach Cuonzo Martin’s team could drop into a tie for fourth depending on the outcome of USC’s game against No. 6 UCLA on Saturday.
”I just thought we were careless with the ball,” Martin said. ”It concerns me because we lost the game and we had 20 turnovers and we didn’t play well. You can’t have 20 turnovers, especially against a team that’s not pressing you.”
AT THE STRIPE
Stanford outscored California 29-3 at the free-throw line, a pivotal factor in the outcome. ”It was really a good mindset,” Cardinal coach Jerod Haase said. ”We didn’t settle for many jumpshots. We were very aggressive.”
Rabb spent the final 8:57 of the first half on the bench after picking up his second foul but still provided the biggest highlight of the night and arguably the most impressive play by Cal this season. Bird drove the lane then lofted an alley-oop pass for Rabb that was well short of the mark. Rabb reached back with his right hand while in the air, grabbed the ball and flipped it through the hoop.
California: The Bears continue to build big leads and let them slip away. This time it was costly as California stumbled down the stretch on both ends of the floor. . Rabb’s double-double is the 26th of his career. . Kameron Rooks made his first start since Nov. 25, 2016 in place of center Kingsley Okoroh and finished with two points and three rebounds before fouling out in the second half.
Stanford: The Cardinal shot 44.4 percent in the first half and did a good job getting to the line, a big factor in the first half when Stanford made 12 free throws compared to one for California. . The Cardinal coaches all wore green ties as part of a Coaching For Literacy program being emphasized at a number of schools around the country.
California: Returns to Haas Pavilion and hosts No. 7 Oregon on Feb. 22.
Stanford: Hosts Oregon State at Maples Pavilion on Feb. 22.