Updated Feb 17, 2014 - 8:53 am
Cal rallies back to beat Washington 72-59
SEATTLE (AP) – Mike Montgomery assured there were no magical words that finally awoke California from a 14-minute slumber on Saturday.
There was, however, a stark change among the Golden Bears that took place. They went from being passive and reactionary to aggressive and attacking that carried through their 72-59 win over Washington on Saturday.
"There's not that much magic going on in these huddles," California coach Montgomery said. "They were absolutely killing us on the boards. They were way more physical than we were. ... Once we started getting some stops we started getting out on the break and once we got on the break we got some easy shots and then the thing kind of went our way."
Tyrone Wallace scored 20 points as the Golden Bears rallied from a 12-point first-half deficit thanks to a 19-2 run, swept the state of Washington and remained on the edge of the Pac-12 Conference regular season title race. Cal (17-8, 8-4 Pac-12) is two games back of first place Arizona and with four of the final six coming at home.
Richard Solomon scored 18 points and Justin Cobbs added 10 points, six rebounds and seven assists as the Bears swept the season series. California routed the Huskies 82-56 in Berkeley on Jan. 15 that brought to a crashing halt Washington's quick start to conference play.
"We tend to come out slow sometimes and I think that's what happened," Wallace said. "We knew it was an important game so we got on each other and we were able to pick it up."
Andrew Andrews led Washington with 21 points after being benched in the second half of the Huskies win over Stanford on Wednesday. Leading scorer C.J. Wilcox was held to eight points, 11 below his season average, largely due to the defense of Cobbs.
Nigel Williams-Goss added 12 for Washington, but the Huskies (14-12, 6-7) were 4 of 21 on 3-pointers and missed all 10 attempts in the second half.
"We got down on ourselves and weren't able to recover," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. "The disappointing thing about that is Cal all of a sudden didn't go on some sort of 3-point shooting barrage where they were just hitting everything they threw up. It was there for the taking and we didn't take it."
California's slow start on Saturday could have been a bit of a hangover from Wednesday's overtime win at Washington State, the second time in four games the Bears were pushed to overtime.
Washington's biggest lead came with 6:49 left in the first half after Andrews knocked down his third 3-pointer of the half to give the Huskies a 27-15 lead. But turnovers on four of the next six possessions gave California extra chances and some easy transition baskets. California finished with 14 points off 10 Washington turnovers in the first half and the Bears capped the half by hitting five of their final six shots.
Washington's only basket over the final 6:47 of the half came on a basket interference call with 8.1 seconds that handed Wilcox his only points of the half.
"We were kind of waiting to get a feel for the game. We were tentative, we were back and once we got a sense for how the game was going to be played and called we started getting up and after it. If we hadn't we would've been down 20," Montgomery said. "We got some loose balls, we created some turnovers, we got out on some breaks and that made a huge difference for us."
California scored six of the first eight to start the second half and stretched the lead to 45-35 with 15:40 left when Jordan Mathews' 3-pointer took a friendly bounce and fell through. After Andrews missed on a wild drive into the lane, Wallace spun away from Wilcox and scored with a finger roll while being fouled. The three-point play gave California a 50-37 lead with 13:05 left.
Washington scored eight straight to get back within five but the Bears stemmed every run made by the Huskies. Free throws by Solomon and a smart dribble-drive dunk from Jabari Bird pushed the lead back to nine. When Blackwell scored off a scramble to get Washington within 56-50 with 6:30 left, Ricky Kreklow answered with a 25-foot 3-pointer for a nine-point Cal lead.
The Bears finally put it away when Cobbs dribbled down the shot clock and found Solomon for a 17-foot jumper with 3:39 left to give Cal a 63-52 lead.
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