Bears Earn Big Win

SEATTLE - It seemed like a million times the Washington Huskies were going to beat the California Golden Bears, and the Bears had a million answers. Theo Robertson's layin-and-one with 15.2 seconds left in the third overtime helped propel Cal to a stunning 88-85 win over UW Saturday at Bank of America Arena.

"Tonight it was 55 minutes of some hard-fought basketball," UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said. "Give Cal a lot of credit for being mentally tough on the road to squeak out a triple-overtime victory. We had our chances. We have no one to blame but ourselves. We did a lot of things to gain a victory in this game, but we also did too many things to allow it to slip away."

"That was Lazarus," Cal Head Coach Mike Montgomery chipped in afterward. "We rose from the dead a lot of times. The experience of being in a close game like this is big. The experience of how to handle the situations late in the clock is good."

It was a tournament atmosphere in January, as the Huskies (11-4, 2-1) and Bears (15-2, 4-0) traded blows for over 50 minutes before the away team got the play they needed. After Washington surged to a four-point lead in the final stanza, Cal bounced back by way of a Robertson layin with 1:01 left.

Cal's Jamal Boykin fouled Justin Dentmon on the Bears' offensive end, and two Dentmon free-throws pushed the Huskies back on top. Robertson, who scored seven of his 18 points in the final overtime, drove baseline on Quincy Pondexter and Jon Brockman. He made the layin and Pondexter was called for a foul. Robertson calmly added the and-1 amidst a sea of purple and gold behind the backboard, giving the Bears a one-point lead.

Fifteen of Dentmon's team-high 24 points came during the three overtimes, but he couldn't come up with some magic at the end. A runner in the key bounced off the rim and into the hands of Patrick Christopher, who made two free throws with .6 seconds left to provide the final margin of victory.

Christopher led the Bears with 27 points in 53 minutes of play, and Jerome Randle scored 19 of his 23 in the second half. After Dentmon, freshman guard Isaiah Thomas tallied 22 points and Jon Brockman 16.

There's no question the Huskies are going to be kicking themselves in the immediate future for what could have been. After an 11-0 run in the middle of the second half, UW found themselves up 10 after a Dentmon jumper with 6:09 left.

It would be the last field goal they would make in regulation. Cal would outscore them 12-2 over the final stretch, including 3-point shots from Randle and Robertson to tie the game at 58.

In the first overtime, a Brockman baseline cryer gave the Huskies a three-point edge with 2:42 left. But Christopher buried a 3-pointer their next trip down the floor to foil that chance.

The second overtime was the real killer. Dentmon came alive, scoring 11 of the Huskies' 13 points that period, including 9 of 11 from the line. After a clutch layin and-1 by the senior from Carbondale, Ill. to give Washington a 75-70 lead with 33 seconds left, it appeared as if the Bears would finally go away.

"JD was feeling it, so we gave the ball to JD," Thomas said. "He did a great job of holding us up and getting us in the game and scoring when we needed him to score."

But Randle responded with a deep two-point shot and then was fouled by Justin Holiday in 3-point land with 11 ticks remaining. Randle made two of three to still make it a two-point game. Dentmon had a chance to ice it with nine seconds left, but could only capitalize with one free throw, setting up California's last chance for a tie.

Freshman guard D.J. Seeley, who only played 11 minutes in the game, came up huge with a layin and-1. The foul was called on Thomas for a reach-in. "I missed a box-out, plain and simple," Thomas said.

Seeley cooly made the free throw to send the game into a third overtime.

"At times we used poor judgement in certain situations, situations where anyone was watching they would say, 'Don't do that!'," Romar said. "But in the heat of the battle, sometimes those mistakes are made."

"There are so many errors in a basketball game, you can't beat yourself up about it," said Brockman, who also tied a career-high with 18 rebounds despite getting out-rebounded as a team for the first time this year (46-42). "What's done is done. You have to learn from it."

"For us that was just a really gutsy win," Montgomery said.
Statistics:
Points: Dentmon 24, Thomas 22, Brockman 16, Overton 6, Pondexter 5, Holiday 5, Bryan-Amaning 4, Gant 3
Rebounds: Brockman 18, Pondexter 7, Dentmon 5, Gant 4, Holiday 3, Thomas 2
Assists: Thomas 5, Holiday 2, Overton 1, Dentmon 1, Pondexter 1, Brockman 1, Gant 1
Steals: Thomas 2, Brockman 1, Dentmon 1, Overton 1, Bryan-Amaning 1
Blocks: Pondexter 1, Dentmon 1, Holiday 1


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