March 16, 1999
ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) - California is moving on in the NIT, thanks to its biggest comeback victory in five years.
The Golden Bears overcame horrid first-half shooting, erased a 17-point deficit and survived a controversial finish and last-second shot Tuesday night to beat DePaul 58-57.
"We were talking in the locker room and said this is going to be a big second half for us. We got some defensive stops and our offense starting flowing. We got going quickly," Cal guard Geno Carlisle said.
"It was a tale of two halves, really," Cal coach Ben Braun said.
The Bears (19-11) were able to avenge a three-point loss to DePaul (18-13) at the Horizon back in November. They will now meet Colorado State, a 10-point winner over Colorado, in the third round.
Cal trailed 28-11 early before staging its biggest rally since February 1994 when it overcame a 20-point deficit against Arizona State.
The victory wasn't secured until DePaul's Willie Coleman missed a shot at the buzzer, following a long dispute over how much time was left when the Bears' Sean Lampley was called for walking under the Blue Demons' basket in the final second.
With Cal leading by one after a go-ahead basket by Francisco Elson, the Bears' Thomas Kilgore missed a shot with 21 seconds left and DePaul's Quentin Richardson rebounded.
DePaul tried to set up a winning shot, but Coleman got tangled up under the basket and Cal came up with the ball. But Lampley was called for traveling under the Blue Demons basket with what appeared to be one-tenth of a second left, giving the ball back to DePaul.
Officials watched a courtside television replay as the clock initially showed 1.3 seconds.
After another review, it was changed to three-tenths of a second, prompting a heated argument from DePaul coach Pat Kennedy, who claimed the walk happened with three seconds to go.
But it stayed at three-tenths. After a timeout, Coleman took an inbounds pass and let fly, but his jumper went off the rim.
"The travel took place on the guy who had the ball on the baseline, not on the guy after he passed it out," Kennedy said.
"It took the officials 2.7 seconds to call the walk. There should have been a compromise. And with three-tenths of a second, if Willie's shot went in, it wasn't a legal basket. I don't know if they knew that."
Referee Ron Foxcroft said officials looked at the replay four or five times.
"We went by the rule. The clock stops when the referee blows his whistle. When we looked at the play on the monitor, there were three-tenths of a second to go when he blew his whistle. There was a decimal one, one-tenth on the clock. We reset it to three-tenths," Foxcroft said.
"He (Kennedy) said the travel occurred sooner. And, it did. But the clock stops when the referee blows the whistle. That's the rule and I've got to go by the rule."
Carlisle led Cal with 16 points while Lampley had 14 rebounds. Lance Williams paced the Blue Demons with 15 points, but had only one in the second half.
Richardson, who had 31 points and 18 rebounds in the earlier meeting with Cal, finished with 12 points in what could have been his final collegiate game. He will now sit down with his family and decide whether to declare for the NBA.
Cal took its first lead of the game at 56-55 on Lampley's bank shot with three minutes remaining before Coleman gave the Blue Demons the lead right back with two free throws. After Elson's go-ahead basket made it 58-57, DePaul had its first chance to take the lead but Rashon Burno threw the ball out of bounds with 46 seconds remaining.
DePaul, behind 14 first-half points from Williams and horrid shooting from Cal, took a 37-24 lead.
Cal had 10 turnovers, fell behind 28-11, went through a five-minute scoreless drought and finished the half making just 9-of-35 field goal attempts (26 percent).
DePaul, with Williams making 7-of-8, was 14-of-26 for 54 percent.
But the Golden Bears stormed out in the second half on a 14-1 run - eight by Michael Gill- and made six of their first seven shots to tie the game at 38.
Cal shot 64 percent in the second half and DePaul just 24 percent.