A crowd of 7,604 saw ASU rally at the end of regulation and then again in the first overtime. Freshman Ty Abbott's wide open 3 from the right wing tied the game at 81 with 8.1 seconds left in regulation. At the end of the first overtime, Abbott did it again, knotting the contest at 85 with 1:28 left.
Cal had a chance to win at both the end of regulation and the first overtime. In regulation, the Bears called a timeout with 0:06 left, but Randle turned the ball over. In the first OT, Cal took time with 4.8 seconds to go, but Randle missed a long three. Randle appeared to take his time bringing the ball up, and Coach Ben Braun agreed in comments after the game, "The pace that he brought it up was a little bit slow."
Cal hit the wall in the second overtime. Ryan Anderson's three gave the home team their last lead, 88-87 with 4:12 remaining. The Devils took the lead for good on a bucket by James Harden, starting a 9-0 run that put the game away. The Bears had one bucket in the last four minutes of the second extra session.
Said Anderson, "ASU is a really good team, but we definitely should have pulled it through." The Cal star cited the breakdowns on defense, saying, "We weren't helping each other out. It's really on our defense."
ASU made 58% of their shots for the game. Harden led the visitors with 27 points, 25 of them in the second half and overtime. Jeff Pendergraph dominated inside with 26, continually getting good position in the post. Abbott added 25, making 7 from beyond the arc.
Braun Counseling Nikola Knesevic
Anderson led Cal with 32 points and 15 rebounds, playing 46 of the 50 minutes. Coach Braun said, "Ryan played his heart out." Patrick Christopher went for 23 points, making 5 of 7 three-pointers. DeVon Hardin chipped in with 10 points, but had just 1 rebound in 29 minutes.
In the first half, Cal struggled to match up with the visitors. Ryan Anderson opened guarding Antwi Atuahene and later took 6'3" guard Jarren Shipp. DeVon Hardin committed his 2nd foul at the 14:42 mark with a foolish over the back attempt at an offensive rebound and went to the bench.
Anderson kept Cal in it. After Hardin went out, Anderson scored Cal's next 10 points, capping the spurt with an old-fashioned 3 point play. Cal took the lead on a long Patrick Christopher 3, 30-29 and the Bears settled into a zone. For the most part, it was effective.
Christopher took the challenge of ASU freshman star James Harden, and held the Devils' star to 2 first half points, but while doing that he picked up his third personal late in the half.
Cal went 12 for 27 from the floor in the opening 20 minutes (44%). The Bears were just 3 of 12 from distance. They allowed ASU only 1 offensive rebound. The visitors' scorched Cal for 58%, led by Pedergraph's 6 for 7 from the floor.
Cal opened the 2nd half in man defense. Vierneisel and Christopher drilled threes on Cal's first 2 possessions, forcing an ASU time out at 18:46. The visitors immediately responded with a 7-0 run to tie it at 44. The game stayed closed through the second half. Cal took a 5-point lead on a jumper by Jamal Boykin, 78-73 with 3:06 left, but ASU wouldn't go away. Harden stuck a long 3 pointer, and Anderson's missed free throw opened the door for Abbott's heroics.
Harden, the freshman guard, was spectacular after intermission. With Christopher saddled with 3 fouls, Vierneisel took on the defensive assignment, and Harden started to light it up. Harden had 20 in the second half. He showed an incredible ability to get into the paint and score.
Cal will have a short turn around time, with Arizona coming in Saturday off a close loss down at the Farm to Stanford. The Bears will need to improve on the defensive end to beat the top teams in the conference. Their coach noted after the game that defense is a collective effort, and the Bears are not getting enough from all five players on the court. Abbott's critical game tying three was indicative of the problems - a defensive breakdown gave the Devils guard a great look, and he didn't miss.
Once again, Cal scored enough to win the game. This team needs to get much better on the defensive end, or there will be more disappointments to come.
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