California holds off Oregon State 60-59

ANNE M. PETERSON (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) -- California Coach Mike Montgomery didn't necessarily like how the Golden Bears had to outlast Oregon State, but he liked the bottom line.

''Hey, it shows up on the left side of the column and that's what you want,'' Montgomery said.

Justin Cobbs had 18 points and surging California won its fifth straight game by holding off a late Beavers' rally for a 60-59 victory on Saturday.

California (18-9, 10-5 Pac-12) has won seven of its last eight games, including victories over then-No. 7 Arizona and No. 23 Oregon.

The Golden Bears are suddenly sneaking up the Pac-12 rankings, joining Arizona, Oregon and UCLA, and positioning themselves for a possible NCAA tournament berth with three games left.

''We're gonna need a little help,'' said freshman guard Tyrone Wallace, who had 11 points against the Beavers. ''But everybody's on the right tract, and we know what it's gonna take.''

The Golden Bears led by as many as 14 points but Oregon State cut it to 45-42 on Joe Burton's layup with 8:32 left in the game. The Beavers (13-15, 3-12) stayed within reach and Devon Collier's layup cut Cal's lead to 58-55 with 1:47 left.

Justin Cobbs hit a jumper from atop the key for California before Collier made four straight free throws to come within 60-59 with 43 seconds left.

With 10 seconds left, Cobbs missed a jumper out front. But Ahmad Starks' 3-point attempt missed with a second left on the clock to end it.

Burton, a senior playing his last game at Gill Coliseum, had 15 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

Afterward, he was emotional, thanking both his family and the fans for coming to the game.

''We gave them a good show - to the very end,'' Burton said.

The Golden Bears were coming off a 48-46 victory over the Ducks in Eugene on Thursday. Cobbs' jumper with less than a second to play won it for Cal.

The Beavers (13-15, 3-12) were coming off an 82-72 loss to Stanford on Thursday. Oregon State has lost three straight.

Oregon State went ahead 8-7 early on Eric Moreland's tip-in, but Cobbs answered with a 3-pointer to give Cal back the lead and spark a 15-0 run that extended the Bears' lead to 22-8 midway through the first half.

Roberto Nelson's 3-pointer for the Beavers narrowed the gap to 27-20 with 1:29 left, but Cal led 29-20 at the break. It was the fewest first-half points for Oregon State this season.

Tyrone Wallace's dunk put Cal up 33-20, but the Beavers chipped away and pulled to within 35-26 after Olaf Schaftenaar's 3-pointer. Joe Burton hit consecutive layups before Nelson's basket narrowed the gap to 37-32 with 13:24 to go.

Roberto Nelson's layup and free throw closed Oregon State to within 43-40 with 9:25 left.

''They clogged it up for us and we weren't able to get shots we usually get,'' Cobbs said.

Oregon State coach Craig Robinson said the final play went as planned, with the Beavers planning to go to either Nelson or Starks. Nelson was covered, and Starks' shot just didn't fall.

''That last play - as long as they don't turn it over - they can't get it wrong,'' Robinson said.

The Beavers honored Burton before the game. The 6-foot-7, 295-pound big man was the first player Robinson signed when he became coach at Oregon State and he has been a fan favorite ever since.

Both Robinson and Burton wiped tears from their eyes during the pregame ceremony with Burton's family.

The Beavers wore their special turquoise uniforms to honor Burton's Native American heritage. The uniforms, which the Beavers had never worn during a conference game, are part of Nike's N7 program to bring fitness to Native American communities.

When asked to describe his emotions, Burton bowed his head.

''Just the guys on this team. Just playing basketball with these guys. I've been playing basketball with these guys for five, six years,'' he said.

The Beavers finish out the regular season with games on the road against Oregon, Utah and Colorado. The Golden Bears have three straight at home, versus the Utes, the Buffaloes and Stanford.

What to Read Next