Cal holds off Oregon as ex-Gophers shine

Former teammates Cobbs and Joseph trade offensive fireworks, but California remains atop Pac-12 after escaping with 86-83 victory.

BERKELEY, Calif. – After playing with Oregon guard Devoe Joseph at Minnesota during the 2009-10 season, Justin Cobbs knew the senior was capable of taking over a game.

"He could always shoot the ball and when he's hot, he is hard to stop," Cobbs said. "When you just got it going, everything is falling for you."

But the same held true for the sophomore guard, who scored 28 points as Cal withstood Joseph's late barrage of three-pointers and held on for an 86-83 win Thursday night at Haas Pavilion.

Joseph had a chance to send the game into overtime after forward David Kravish missed one of two free throws, but he missed a long three in the final seconds. Garrett Sim collected the offensive rebound, but he too missed a three and the crowd of 9,980 erupted.

Cobbs admitted he was nervous as Joseph took the last shot after knocking down an off-balance three and another from 35 feet away in the last 30 seconds.

"I'm not going to lie to you guys," Cobbs said. "I'm just like, ‘Please Devoe, don't get another one.'"

Joseph finished with a career-high 33 points, making 10 of 17 shots from the field, 4 of 9 from three, in what Cal head coach Mike Montgomery declared a "spectacular" performance.

"There wasn't much we could do. We tried everybody on him. Really deep, really tough shots," Montgomery said.

"He was really, really good, probably only matched by Justin's game."

Cobbs had eight assists and zero turnovers in addition to his season-high scoring output for Cal (21-6, 11-3 Pac-12), which remains tied for the conference lead with Washington.

The redshirt sophomore was able to take advantage of the extra attention Oregon paid to Allen Crabbe, who lit up the Ducks for 26 points in the first meeting in Eugene, slashing to the basket at will.

"You just take what the game gives you," Cobbs said. "Tonight I was able to get to the basket, make some shots. I was a little aggressive."

Crabbe's aggression made up for the poor shooting of Crabbe and senior guard Jorge Gutierrez, who were a combined 4 of 17 from the field for 15 points.

Gutierrez picked up his fourth foul with 7:57 to play, but was still able to his presence felt on defense. He forced Joseph into a backcourt violation, one of five by Oregon in the final four minutes.

"That's just what he does," Cobbs said. "No matter what happens, nothing can stop Jorge from playing his game and being aggressive on defense."

Oregon (18-8, 9-5) finished with 22 turnovers, which led to 25 points for Cal.

"They turned it up a notch," Oregon head coach Dana Altman said. "We did some good things offensively, we just gave up too many easy baskets and turnovers."

Gutierrez gave Cal the lead after making two free throws with 1:41 to play, their first since the 3:29 mark in the first half.

Harper Kamp added 20 points, while Kravish had 13 points and eight rebounds.


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