No. 5 Virginia trailed by as many as 11 points against California on Tuesday night, with 13:08 left in the game, but, over those next 13 minutes, the Golden Bears hit just two field goals, as the Cavaliers came all the way back to force overtime, going 8-of-16 over that span, and springboarding Virginia to a 63-62 win, and its 32nd straight home win over an unranked opponent.
At the start of that stretch, with the Bears still up 46-39, after a Cal time out, Bears head coach Cuonzo Martin called a time out. The play design out of the break had freshman Jaylen Brown for an iso three-pointer, which he promptly clanked.
Soon after, though, Brown hit two free throws to keep the Bears on top, but after the Cavaliers' fifth turnover, Brown was called for a moving screen trying to free Tyrone Wallace. That led to a right-handed lay-up by Jarred Reuter, who scored 11 points on 3-of-4 shooting and 5-of-6 from the free throw line.
Brown had perhaps his cleanest game of the year, getting his third foul late, and going 5-of-11 from the field and 8-of-9 from the free throw line with a game-high 18 points, as he played largely under control, save for four turnovers.
With just over a minute left in the first half, Virginia had missed its last five shots, and had hit just one of its last nine, as the Bears had gone on an 8-0 run to start the game, and shot 11-of-25 from the field before the break, including 4-of-10 from three-point range, with two from Jordan Mathews.
Because of two early fouls by Kameron Rooks early, and one to freshman Ivan Rabb, sophomore Kingsley Okoroh was put on the floor for eight minutes in the first half, and committed three personal fouls. That painted him into a corner when he couldn't be as aggressive as he probably needed to be to get an offensive rebound off of a Mathews three miss, and then couldn't bottle up forward Anthony Gill, who powered in a lay-up to tie things up with 4:15 left at 50-50.
In the first half, the Bears (9-3) out-rebounded the Cavaliers 21-12, limiting Virginia to just four points in the paint. The Cavaliers had only four points off of seven turnovers, and the most efficient offense in the land was scoring just 0.69 points per possession.
The tables turned in the second half, as Virginia shot 13-of-14 (54.2%) after an 18.2% shooting first half. The Cavaliers out-rebounded the Bears 13-11, scored 20 points in the paint and averaged 1.231 points per possession, while limiting Cal's transition points.
Still, even in overtime, the Bears were up by six with 2:17 to go off of a Rabb tip in (he finished with 9 points and 12 rebounds (including 5 on the offensive glass), but a three by Malcolm Brogdon reduced the lead to two. Wallace then stepped up inside the three-point line and settled for an early-clock jumper, which missed badly with 32 seconds left, leading to a Virginia rebound. The Cavaliers' London Perrantes hit a three out of a time out, giving Virginia the final one-point lead.
On the final in-bound play, Brown tried a wild, long three (he came into the game shooting just over 41% from the field on the year, and under 25% from three) on a baseball pass from Sam Singer over Gill, when he had both Mathews and Jabari Bird on the wings. Mathews finished 6-of-13 fom the field and 4-of-8 from three for 16 points, while Bird finished 2-of-6 and 1-of-3 for five points, with three rebounds.
Virginia went on a 6-0 run over the final 55 seconds to ice the game.