Feb. 19, 2012
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - There were 38 seconds left to play on Saturday night when California seniors Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp came out of the game, with the Bears leading Oregon State by 14 points.
A standing ovation never sounded so sweet.
Gutierrez scored 17 points and Kamp added 13 on Senior Night, leading the Bears to a 77-63 victory over Oregon State to keep them tied for first place in the Pac-12 with Washington.
"I was coming out and I realized it was over," Kamp said. "Coach gave me a high five. I realized that was it. I was just honored to come out that way. To get that standing `O,' it meant a lot. It was so much fun today."
Devon Collier and Roberto Nelson had 14 points each and Angus Brandt 11 for Oregon State (15-12, 5-10). Jared Cunningham, the Pac-12's leading scorer, had 10 points.
Gutierrez had eight rebounds and Kamp seven in what was likely their final Cal home game. The Bears finish the regular season with three road games, against Utah, Colorado and Stanford, then head to the Pac-12 Tournament. Washington finishes with road games at Washington State, USC and UCLA.
"It looks like Washington's not giving in at all," Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. "They've got three road games. We've got three road games. You could argue all you want who's got a tougher road. I don't know. But it's really kind of up to us to do our job and take care of our business and not worry so much about what they do."
After losing a 12-point first-half lead and trailing 34-32 at halftime, Cal opened the second half with a 27-13 run to build a 59-47 lead with 9:25 remaining.
Kamp and Gutierrez had eight points each during the surge. After Crabbe drilled a 3-point shot, Gutierrez put the Bears up 57-47 with a three-point play. Then Gutierrez scored inside, bumping Cal's lead to 12 points.
Oregon State cut Cal's lead to 62-56, but the Bears went on a 7-2 run to regain control. Cobbs ignited the run with a slam dunk, Crabbe hit a 3-pointer, and Bak Bak scored on a putback.
Gutierrez and Kamp were honored during an emotional pregame ceremony, along with their parents, but neither one lost focus on the court. Now their thoughts are on winning the inaugural Pac-12 title, two seasons after Cal won its first conference crown in 50 years.
"We know it's going to be tough," Gutierrez said. "There's nothing easy in this conference. It's not easy to win on the road. We just got to stay together, keep playing the way we do, and I think we're going to be fine."
Cal opened the game on a 10-0 run - the Bears held Oregon State scoreless for nearly six minutes - and led 16-4 with just over 11 minutes left in the first half. But Oregon State battled back, getting 11 points from Nelson off the bench and eight from Collier for a halftime lead.
After the Bears' fast start, Oregon State started causing them trouble with a 1-3-1 zone defense, just as it did on Jan. 5 in a 92-85 victory over Cal in Corvallis, Ore. The Beavers applied pressure high and on the wings, forcing the Bears into turnovers and poor shots.
But in the second half, the Bears took control.
"I was really disappointed," Oregon State coach Craig Robinson said. "We knew it was going to be a high intensity game because it was Senior Day, and I didn't think we came out with the effort that matched their intensity. We fought our way back, and then just got back into the same cycle.
"It was the guys at the end of the bench that brought us back. I put the starting guys back in; your best players have to help you in situations like that."