It was Cal's second OT victory in Pac-10 play, where they are now 3-2. Washington, picked to finish third in the conference pre-season writers' poll, dropped to 1-5.
In a battle of two of the Pac-10's top freshmen, Cal's Ryan Anderson clearly outplayed 7'-1" freshman center Spencer Hawes. Anderson drained 18 points, pulled in 14 rebounds (including six on the offensive glass) and a blocked shot in a grueling 42 minutes. Hawes registered 13 points, just five rebounds (all defensive), and no blocks in his 30 minutes on the floor.
"I think our big men took pride in defending the rebound today," recounted senior guard Ayinde Ubaka after the game, "and took it personally to keep them off the boards. When he (Anderson) wasn't rebounding, he was keeping the ball alive for someone else. Those are big plays."
|GoldenBearSports, Michael Pimentel
Big plays, indeed.
With the game tied at 18 in the first half, Anderson made an inside move that drew a foul on Husky freshman Phil Nelson, putting Cal into the bonus with 8:52 to play in the half. He hit both charity tosses to help Cal build its biggest lead during regulation play, 27-20 with 6:29 remaining. Washington then went on an 8-0 run, and neither team led by more than four points through the end of the scheduled 40 minutes.
In overtime, Anderson made another huge play. Stepping way out on the right wing, he captured Theo Robertson's air ball and drained a jumper while falling out of bounds to essentially put the game away, 73-67 with 1:17 left.
Then, for good measure, he went down the court and blocked Jon Brockman's attempted lay in, thus setting up a tough rebound in traffic for Eric Vierniesel, who had calmly drained a 3-ball from the left corner with about nine seconds left in regulation to erase a two-point Husky lead.
"It was a play off a ball screen," Ubaka explained. "I went off the screen, Eric's man sloughed off and he was wide open. He's a great shooter, he does it every day in practice."
Every one of Anderson's 14 rebounds was needed to achieve this victory. "Spencer Hawes is a big, talented player," Anderson said. "Keeping him off the glass, coach told us to focus on making sure he didn't get second chance points. Rebounding is something our team really needs, especially against a great rebounding team like Washington."
Washington won the battle in the paint, outscoring Cal 36-26, but lost the war everywhere else. The Bears committed 13 turnovers to Washington's 12, and Cal converted those 12 into 16 points while only surrendering six on their own miscues. Cal dominated second chance points with 18 to Washington's 7.
|GoldenBearSports.com, Michael Pimentel
Theo Roberstson contesting every shot
After Thursday night's disappointing game, where, as Ubaka said, "WSU outplayed us, out-toughed us, played harder than we did. That can't happen on your home court," the Bears came out scrapping, fighting for loose balls, diving on the floor and repeatedly beating Washington's bigger front line to good positions for rebounding. Cal trailed only once in the game, at 28-27 with 4:27 left in the half.
Washington's bench produced 14 points, led by Dentmon's 6 and Gasser's 5. Cal's bench chipped in just two, Jerome Randle's free throws at 8:20.
When the halftime stats were distributed, they were shocking: Cal led in rebounding, 20-16, and in offensive boards, 5-2. As a result, the Bears' expected deficit on points in the paint was not bad, 16-12, and they held a decided edge in second chance points, 10-2.
Ryan Anderson led the charge with nine points and six boards, two on the offensive glass, while Theo Robertson poured through 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting from behind the arc.
The Husky offense was balanced, with Hawes the leading scorer with seven points. Offsetting that, Hawes had only two boards as Anderson outplayed him at both ends of the floor.
Ryan Appleby, Washington's B-1 bomber, was 2-of-2 from long distance, adding six points along with Dentmon. Strangely, Washington had Appleby bringing the ball up the floor in the second half, and he only was able to launch two shots in the final 25 minutes.
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar is trying to construct a squad that doesn't have a real point guard on the roster - Adrian Oliver is trying to fill in and learn as he goes, but it's been tough sledding for him. Justin Dentmon, Romar's fastest player, came to camp out of shape and played poorly enough to lose his starting job two weeks ago.
Cal's point guards performed well in the first half, with Randle garnering three assists and no turnovers in 13 minutes while Ayinde Ubaka had a very solid first half with five points on 2-of-3 shooting, five boards, three assists, and just one turnover. Ubaka finished the game with a career-high seven rebounds and 13 points. Notably, he hit the first two baskets in overtime, just as he did against ASU, and took charge of the game.
|GoldenBearSports.com, Michael Pimentel
Alex Pribble moves to the Mainstream
Braun was proud of the effort in general, and singled out Ubaka for special praise. "I'm proud - nobody has out rebounded Washington this year. Ayinde gets seven, we out-quicked them to the ball - and boxed out well."
"I think it's a formula we are going to have to stick to - we're going to suffer from a size differential against everybody. (This was a) great effort. That's the second time this year we've gone into overtime, and came back strong. Ayinde came out as he did against ASU. Nails a shot or two. It's great to have his experience."
Fouls could have been an issue down the stretch and in overtime. Both Eric Vierneisel and Taylor Harrison accumulated 3 and 2, respectively, in just 3 minutes of action in the first half, yet Vierneisel played 16 minutes after the intermission and only heard one more whistle.
The second half was tightly contested the whole way, with neither team able to open up an advantage of more than three points. There were five ties and the lead changed hands 14 times in the seesaw second half.
At the end of regulation, it looked like Cal had won, but with just two-tenths of a second left, the zebras whistled the game's 46th foul on Anderson and sent Washington's only truly effective free throw shooter to the stripe. Had he hit both, the Huskies would have won.
Ubaka could be seen talking to Dentmon at the line before his first shot.
"I was trying to get in Dentmon's head, to give him a thousand things to think about. I told him the adrenaline pumping though his arms was gonna make him miss long, and making up for it was gonna make him miss short. I told him when he looked at the basket to look through it and see all the people waving their hands."
Whatever was said, it worked. Dentmon, after a timeout, missed the first free throw. Braun immediately called a full 60-second timeout to try to ice the shooter, but he drained the second to send the game to the dramatic overtime.
- Defense is key - the Bears are a perfect 11-0 when holding opponents to 70 or fewer points, and 0-6 when allowing 71 or more.
- Freshman forward Ryan Anderson is the only player in the Pac-10 ranked among the top five in the league in both scoring and rebounding. He is also seventh in the conference in three-point percentage.
- Since junior center DeVon Hardin went down with a stress fracture in his left foot, Cal is a cumulative -36 in rebounding margin the past seven games. With Hardin in the lineup, Cal was +6. The Golden Bears have a total of eight blocks since Hardin's injury; they had 38 with him in the lineup.
- Entering play Saturday, junior forward Eric Vierneisel who moved into the starting lineup after Hardin's injury, has averaged 10.2 ppg with seven assists and seven steals over the last five games. He has had four double figure scoring games in that stretch, twice as many as in his entire career at Cal.
- Cal goes on the road next weekend, playing at Oregon State on Thursday (FSN+ in the Bay Area, 7:30 p.m.) and at Oregon on Saturday (Comcast, 5 p.m.)
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