Cal downs Washington for first conference road win since Feb. 15, 2015

After some free throw hiccups, Cal basketball finds a way to escape Seattle with its first conference road win in over a year.

California had not won on the road since Dec. 5, and had not notched a Pac-12 road win since Feb. 15, 2015. Both of those streaks came to an end on Thursday, as the Golden Bears edged Washington, downing the Huskies in Seattle, 78-75, extending Washington's losing streak to four.

In winning its fourth straight game, Cal missed seven of 11 free throws down the stretch, with senior Tyrone Wallace -- who had hit four straight from the charity stripe -- missing four of five, before finally icing the final free throw of the game to put the Bears up by three with under two seconds to go.

Cal had hit 22 of 30 from the line before that final stretch, and looked to have the game well in hand thanks to an 8-2 run punctuated by a two-handed dunk from freshman Jaylen Brown, and capped by a pair of free throw makes by the first-year out of Georgia. The second of those free throws put the Bears up by 10 with 4:44 to go.

Brown scored a game-high 23, with five rebounds on the night.

A jumper by Marquese Chriss, and then four straight free throw makes by senior guard Andrew Andrews -- who left the floor moments earlier after a loose ball collision that saw his head bounce off of Wallace's shoulder -- gave the Huskies new life.

Washington put all its eggs in the full-court press, trying to turn Cal over and pile on the momentum, and it looked to work, with freshman Dejounte Murray swiping the ball from a falling Ivan Rabb. But, the ball was stolen back by Brown on a pass, and Murray fouled, putting Wallace at the line. The senior point guard hit two to stem the tide, but that wasn't enough.

Washington -- which started the game 6-for-14 from the free throw line -- then hit its next six shots from the line, and on a pick and roll for Andrews and Chriss, saw the freshman out of Oak Grove, Calif., finish with the two-handed flush on an alley-oop pass, and just like that, the Huskies were down by four.

Two three-pointers from Andrews -- the first two of the half for Washington -- got Washington to within one.

With 4.1 seconds left, Wallace hit one of two free throws, but on the back-end miss, Jabari Bird -- who, after averaging 23.5 points per game last week, finished with just two -- fouled Matisse Thybulle on the rebound. Thybull, who had hit all six of his free throws before that, missed both. The second miss appeared to be intentional, and gave the Huskies a chance to scrum for the ball underneath the basket. That scrum, though, went sideways for Washington, as Wallace was pushed down by David Crisp, sending him to the line, where he hit one of two for the final margin.

Despite that late lull, it was free throws and rebounding that kept Cal in the game despite shooting just 39.3%, and 34.5% from the field in the first half. The Bears' seven first-half offensive rebounds helped offset 11 turnovers, which led to 13 points for the Huskies. 

Cal, though, tightened up in the second half, turning the ball over just five times, and allowing just four points off of those turnovers.

Brown, in particular, was sharp in the second half. After going 2-of-7 from the field for nine points in the first half, with two turnovers and no assists, Brown scored 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting, with one turnover.

Wallace came off the bench to score 18 points -- his highest total since he's returned from his broken right hand. Wallace went 5-of-15 from the floor, but did hit 8-of-14 from the free throw line.

Rabb, who had averaged just four shots over the last four games, went 2-of-5 from the field, but did go 4-of-9 at the line for a total of eight points, and pulled down 14 rebounds, including four on the offensive glass.

It didn't hurt that Washington shot 23-of-70 from the field (33%), and four of the Huskies' starting five (Chriss, Thybulle, Murray and Andrews) had four fouls. In total, there were 56 fouls called in the game -- the most Cal has seen this season -- and there were 79 total free throws between the two teams. Washington also went 25-of-38 from the charity stripe on the evening.

Cal's three big men -- Rabb, Kameron Rooks and Kingsley Okoroh -- had 11 fouls between them, but still pulled down a combined 33 rebounds, with a career-high 14 from Rooks, and 14 from Rabb.


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