Crabbe Lifts Cal Past Utah, 62-57
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  01/24/2013

Jan. 24, 2013

Box Score |  Notes

Mike Montgomery Postgame News Conference
Brandon Smith Postgame News Conference
Allen Crabbe Postgame News Conference
Allen Crabbe on Pac-12 Networks

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Allen Crabbe scored 23 points, including four 3-pointers, and California defeated Utah 62-57 on Thursday night at the John M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.

Cal led by as many as 15 points midway through the second half, but the Utes pulled within 58-55 on Jason Washburn's 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining.

David Kravish missed at the other end for the Golden Bears (11-7, 3-3 Pac-12) but poked the rebound out to Crabbe, who was fouled and sank two free throws with 17 seconds left.

Freshman Brandon Taylor missed a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left for the Utes (9-10, 1-6), and Justin Cobb grabbed the rebound and sank a pair of free throws to seal the win for Cal.

"The second half, it was a little bit of hanging on," Cal coach Mike Montgomery said of nearly blowing a 15-point lead with 13:57 remaining. "Again, had the number of possessions been equal for both teams, we probably wouldn't have been in as good of shape."

Cal used a 13-0 run midway through the first half to take a commanding lead.

Utah shot better from the floor than Cal did but committed 17 turnovers, including six by Jordan Loveridge.

Cal took nine more shots thanks to 17 Utah turnovers, including 15 in the first half.

"(Sixteen) steals is unheard of for us. We had really good focus and active hands," Montgomery said.

Senior guard Brandon Smith, who had not played since suffering a concussion Dec. 22, provided one of those steals in his return to action.

Justin Cobbs did most of the damage with a handful of takeaways. Then there was the Pac-12's leading scorer, Crabbe. He didn't disappoint, scoring 23 points, including four 3-pointers - two during a 13-0 Cal run that bumped the Bears' lead to 19-11.

"We can't rely totally on Allen," Montgomery said. "But obviously he had it going on, so we were able to get him the ball and he made some shots."

Utah shot slightly better from the floor than Cal did, but 17 turnovers, including six by Jordan Loveridge, were too much to overcome. The Bears scored 17 points off those turnovers.

Washburn led Utah with 14 points but shot just 5 of 13 as Cal's defense gave him little room to operate down low. Loveridge added 12 and nine rebounds, and Taylor had 10 points off the bench.

"We are an improving basketball team," said Taylor, who is seeing more and more playing time. "But we came out slow tonight. We are not doomed, and we will just have to come out and play harder on Sunday (at home against Stanford)."

Taylor, with Jarred DuBois apparently still bothered by migraines and not up to practicing, played 31 minutes Thursday. DuBois didn't start and played just nine minutes in the second half, finishing with three points.

Taylor's free throws with 5:05 left after being fouled on the fast break pulled Utah within 51-42. And he had them within 53-45 after his second 3-pointer, with 4:46 remaining.

Crabbe's pull-up jumper gave Cal a double-digit lead, 55-45, with 4:20 remaining. The Utes hung in there, trying to maintain the momentum gained after securing their first-ever conference road win at Washington on Saturday.

Taylor's nice feed to Loveridge for an easy layup pulled the Utes within 57-50 with 1:58 left. And Loveridge's two free throws had Utah within 58-52 with 1:39 remaining. Then came the 3 for Utah's big man, Washburn, but the ball bounced right for Cal on the next possession.

Next up is Colorado, where the Bears can close out their road trip with a 2-1 record.

Smith was thinking beyond that but clearly was excited to be part of the action again after missing the past six games with symptoms that included headaches and nausea.

"I feel good," said Smith, who had to see four doctors in dealing with the concussion. "I had a lot of fun tonight. After being gone for an entire month, you're so antsy to get back on the floor and play."

Though he said he still felt a bit slow, the win helped.

"We've been doing some soul searching and are ready to get back on track," Smith said. "I'm hoping tonight is the brand of basketball we continue to play for the rest of conference play, because we're capable of bringing that every night."

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