Head coach Mike Montgomery even commented Wednesday on changes in Kamp's usage that has hindered his effectiveness on offense.
But on Thursday night, with Gutierrez turning in one of the worst shooting performances in his career, Kamp picked up the slack as Cal overcame sloppy first half to knock off Colorado, 57-50, at Haas Pavilion in front of 7,577.
"Harper played well, thank goodness," Montgomery said. "Somebody had to play. Somebody had to score the ball or we were going to be in deep trouble.
"That's the kind of thing we expect from him and need from him."
After managing 11 points combined at Oregon State and Oregon, Kamp said he came out with a different mindset, evident as he scored the opening four points.
"I think it was just a matter of me going out with just a little bit more confidence and having some confidence in my jumper," he said.
Kamp scored 14 points on 6 of 12 shooting from the field, while also doing the dirty work, taking a pair of charges, appearing to injure his lower back on the second after being bowled over by forward Austin Dufault early in the second half.
Terming it "just a little bruise" and something he has dealt with throughout the season, it didn't hinder Kamp from stealing a lazy entry pass from Carlon Brown as Colorado was poised to tie the game with less than four minutes left to play.
"Harper gives us everything," said guard Justin Cobbs, who scored 12 points, the only other Cal player in double figures. "He's doing the little things that people don't see. We needed that tonight."
That performance helped make up for a dismal showing by Gutierrez, who didn't score his first point until there was 4:05 left in the first half.
He finished with five points and was 2-for-17 from the floor after averaging 18.3 points per game in his first four conference games.
While Montgomery declined to specifically comment on Gutierrez's off night, his opening statement said it all.
"To play that poorly offensively and still win, you have got to feel pretty lucky," Montgomery said.
After handing the Buffaloes their first loss in their new league, the Bears (14-4, 4-1 Pac-12) are now part of a five-way logjam for the conference lead.
Cal improved to 12-0 at home this season and has now won 15 consecutive games at Haas, but didn't get much in the way of friendly bounces in the opening half.
Despite creating plenty of good looks against Colorado's aggressive man defense, Cal made just 9 of 29 shots (31 percent).
"They got into our heads a little bit and I think we allowed them to," Montgomery said. "We got frustrated and started shooting the ball early."
Gutierrez was the main offender, connecting on 1 of 10 shots in the half.
Andre Roberson had 11 points and 14 rebounds for Colorado (11-5, 3-1 Pac-12), his ninth double-double this season.
Cal will host Utah, who lost 68-65 at Stanford, on Saturday night (Comcast SportsNet California, 7:30 p.m.).