Feb. 16, 2012
BERKELEY (AP) -- California guard Justin Cobbs said "bragging rights" were on the line Thursday night when he got into a shootout with Oregon's Devoe Joseph, his former teammate at Minnesota.
Joseph had a career-high 33 points, but Cobbs scored a career-high 28 points to go with eight assists, leading the Golden Bears to an 86-83 victory over Oregon.
Cal (21-6, 11-3) remained in a first-place tie for the Pac-12 lead with Washington, a 77-69 winner over Arizona State. Oregon (18-8, 9-5), instead of drawing even with Cal, fell to fifth place in the conference.
"That's bragging rights right there, and after the game he was upset, kind of didn't want to talk to me," Cobbs said of Joseph. "We were supposed to hang out tonight. I don't know if that's going to happen I just wish him the best. Tonight he had a great performance, shot the ball well. I'm just happy we pulled it out.
"It's almost like a Pac-12 championship's on the line. They were right behind us. It was just a game with a lot of intensity, a hard-fought game, and we were able to pull it out tonight. It was fun, though."
Carlos Emory had 11 points and Olu Ashaolu 10 points for the Ducks. Tony Woods blocked two shots, tying Oregon's single-season school record with 42. Blair Rasmussen blocked 42 shots in 1983-84.
Cal beat the Ducks for the ninth straight time, its longest winning streak in series history, and swept the season series for the fourth consecutive time. The Bears improved to 10-1 in their past 11 home games against Oregon, which hasn't won at Berkeley since Feb. 9, 2008.
Joseph had a chance to send the game into overtime, but his 3-point shot from NBA distance was off, then E.J. Singler's desperation heave at the buzzer missed badly.
"I thought (it) was going in," Joseph said of his final 3-point try. "I should have (shot) a little quicker. We ended up getting the rebound and would have had time for another good shot."
The game turned into a scoring duel between two transfers who were Golden Gopher teammates for a season.
After trailing most of the second half, Cal took a 76-75 lead with 1:41 when Jorge Gutierrez sank a pair of free throws. Oregon's Garrett Sim's jump shot put the Ducks ahead 77-76 with 1:24 left, but Kamp countered with a three-point play, scoring inside, and drawing a foul on Woods and making the free throw. That gave Cal a 79-77 lead with 1:09 to play.
After Sim missed a 3-point shot, Gutierrez rebounded, and Cal called timeout with 46 seconds left. The Bears beat Oregon's press, and Cobbs made a driving lay-in, putting Cal ahead 81-77. Oregon then turned it over, and Kamp made a pair of free throws, but Joseph's 3-point shot sliced Cal's lead to 83-80 with 26 seconds to play.
Kamp made two more free throws, but Joseph made another 3, cutting the lead to 85-83 with 19 seconds left. Kravish made just 1 of 2 from the line, Joseph had one more chance.
"Devoe Joseph was spectacular," Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. "There wasn't much we could do. Tried everybody on him. I mean, he banks in a 3. Really, really deep, really tough shots. That's why you're really concerned with David's miss at the end because it was a 3 now, and you just worried that Devoe was going to jump up and hit another one, take it to overtime. Fortunately for us he didn't.
"But he was really, really good, probably only matched by Justin's game with 28 points and eight assists. He was very, very good, kept us in the game." Cobbs went 13 for 19 from the field and didn't commit a single turnover. Joseph countered by going 10 for 17 from the field, 4 for 9 from 3-point range and 9 for 9 from the line.
When Cal beat Oregon 77-60 on Jan. 8 in Eugene, Allen Crabbe scored 26 points for the Bears, including 23 in the second half. This time, Crabbe scored just eight points, but Oregon's Singler, the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week, had just eight, all in the first half. He now has 995 career five points, five shy of becoming the 31st player in Oregon history with at least 1,000.
In the end, Montgomery was just happy to escape with a win.
"If you're going to have a chance to compete for a championship, you're going to have to win a game where you take another team's best shot and still come out on the other end," Montgomery said. "I was very fearful. I thought Oregon was playing extremely well. I don't know if I anticipated Joseph going off for 33, but I thought they were playing very well."
If Oregon had prevailed, it would have remained just a game out of first place.
"We're in bad shape for the race," Ducks coach Dana Altman said. "We had to have this one, and we knew it. We just have to worry about the next game and getting ready. We can't worry about the race now."