Olson honored, but Randle’s 31 lead Cal over ‘Cats
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP)—Jerome Randle made 8-of-11 3-pointers, 6-of-7 in the second half, for a career-high 31 points Thursday and California spoiled a night honoring Hall of Fame ex-coach Lute Olson with a 83-77 victory over Arizona.
The Bears (22-8, 11-6 Pac-10), the top 3-point shooting team in the nation, made a season-high 16 3s in 30 attempts to hand the Wildcats a loss that severely damages Arizona’s hopes for a 25th consecutive NCAA tournament berth.
Chase Budinger scored a season-high 28 and Jordan Hill 24 for Arizona (18-12, 8-9) in the Wildcats’ first loss at home to Cal since 1995.
Theo Robertson added 24 points for the Bears.
Randle made five 3-pointers in a 4:02 span late in the game. The last was a 26-footer as the shot clock expired to put California ahead 71-66 with 1:51 to play.
Jamelle Horne’s 3-pointer and Hill’s tip-in cut it to 76-73 with 26 seconds to go, but the Bears put it away with free throws.
Olson, honored at halftime, posted a 589-187 record in 24 years at Arizona and was 780-280 in 34 seasons as an NCAA Division I coach. His last 23 teams made the NCAA tournament.
Olson last coached in the 2006-07 season. He attempted to return this season but stepped down for health reasons, leaving the job to interim coach Russ Pennell.
Arizona led by as many as 11 early but Cal cut it to 38-34 at the break, then quickly tied it early in the second half.
Randle’s 3-pointer with 5:53 left put Cal up for good 65-62. The Cal point guard made another with 3:23 to go to make it 68-63. Budinger’s three-point play cut the lead to 68-66, but Randle hit another one, from far outside as the shot clock expired, to make it 71-66.
The halftime ceremony began with a video of highlights of Olson’s career, followed by an appearance by the 74-year-old former coach with university officials, his family and many of his former players.
One of his early stars, now Phoenix Suns general manager Steve Kerr, thanked Olson “for being a father figure for us and putting us on the right path in life.”
Olson, in brief remarks, paid a special thanks to the fans.
“This is a basketball town and keep it that way,” he said.
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