March 10, 2006
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Leon Powe scored a career-high 41 points and California held off Oregon 91-87 in double overtime Friday night to reach the Pac-10 tournament title game for the first time.
The Golden Bears (20-9) will play No. 13 UCLA (26-6) in the final Saturday, with an automatic NCAA tournament berth going to the winner.
Ayinde Ubaka added 12 of his 17 points in both overtimes and Theo Robertson finished with 18 points for third-seeded Cal, which overcame a 16-point, first-half deficit and then rallied from seven points down in the final 2:45 of regulation.
Powe set a tournament record with his 41 points, topping the mark of 39 by Arizona State's Ike Diogu against Stanford last year.
The seventh-seeded Ducks (15-18) were led by Brandon Lincoln with 22 points, Malik Hairston with 20 and Maarty Leunen with 17.
Oregon, which lost to Cal for the third time this season, upset No. 12 Washington in Thursday's quarterfinals.
Cal scored the first seven points, including four by Powe, of the second overtime to take an 80-73 lead. Lincoln rallied the Ducks, scoring seven of their first nine points to make it 85-82 with 35 seconds left.
After Chamberlain Oguchi's jumper was short, Leunen grabbed the rebound and fed Lincoln, who hit a 3-pointer to get the Ducks to 88-87 with 9.8 seconds left.
Lincoln fouled out seconds later, putting Ubaka on the line. He made the first and missed the second for an 89-87 lead, giving Cal possession. But Oguchi missed another jumper and Ubaka wound up back on the line, making both to close out the late night thriller.
In the first overtime, the Ducks took a 71-68 lead on Hairston's 3-pointer. But Richard Midgley was fouled on a 3-point attempt, and he made all three to tie the game at 71.
Lincoln scored on Oregon's next possession with a thunderous baseline dunk over DeVon Hardin that put the Ducks up by two.
Powe powered inside for the tying basket at 73-all with a minute to play. Lincoln's jumper was short and Cal controlled the rebound to force the second overtime.
Powe's offensive effort came a day after he had a career-high 20 rebounds in Cal's victory over Southern California. He was 14-of-17 from the floor and 13-of-18 from the line against Oregon to top his previous career best of 32 points. He had six rebounds.
Cal's victory gave Bears a 20-win season for the sixth time in coach Ben Braun's tenure - more than any of his predecessors, including the famed Pete Newell.
Neither team led by more than three points for much of the second half. Cal took its first lead on Powe's inside basket five minutes into the half.
Cal's Rod Benson dunked to tie the game for the third time at 49. That's when Oregon launched an 11-6 run, including five points by Leunen, to take a 60-55 lead.
Leunen hit two free throws and Lincoln hit a jumper to push Oregon's lead to 64-57.
Cal pulled within two on a basket by Powe and a 3-pointer by Robertson with 1:12 left. Hairston was called for an offensive foul, so his basket didn't count.
Powe got fouled on the other end and made both to tie the game at 64 with 45 seconds remaining.
Lincoln dribbled around traffic and drove to the basket, scoring on the right side for a 66-64 lead with 12.3 seconds left.
Ubaka answered for Cal on a leaning one-handed jumper to tie the game at 66 with 2.2 seconds remaining. Lincoln's desperation jumper hit the backboard as regulation expired.
Oregon went on a 32-16 run to start the game, hitting five 3-pointers and scoring 12 points off Cal's eight turnovers. The Ducks eventually led by 16 points.
The Ducks played without starting point guard Aaron Brooks, who served a one-game suspension after being ejected for elbowing Ryan Appleby in the face in a quarterfinal upset of No. 13 Washington.
Oregon starting point guard Jordan Kent, the son of coach Ernie Kent, injured his left ankle going after a rebound with 7:44 remaining. He hobbled off to the locker room for an exam, but later returned.