BERKELEY (AP) — Jorge Gutierrez scored 34 points, Markhuri Sanders-Frison had 12 points and California held on to beat UCLA 76-72 in overtime Sunday night to snap a four-game losing streak in thrilling fashion.
The Bears blew a 12-point lead and overcame Malcolm Lee’s stunning buzzer-beater at the end of regulation to finally snap their skid.
Star freshman Allen Crabbe returned after missing the last two games with a concussion to score eight points, grab seven rebounds and help Cal (14-13, 7-8 Pac-10) stay above .500.
Lee had 19 points and Tyler Honeycutt scored 14 points for the Bruins (19-8, 10-4), who saw their six-game winning streak end and Cal’s home fans storm the court in celebration afterward.
Cal needed everything it had to break its longest losing streak of the season.
After Gutierrez made four free throws to put Cal ahead by three, UCLA had only 6.6 seconds to take the ball the length of the court and send the game to overtime. And it was just enough time.
A scramble for the final shot landed in the hands of Lee near the top of the arc.
His 3-pointer bounced off the front of the rim, straight up, then in, touching off a wild celebration with Lee
leaping in the air and pumping his fist as teammates mobbed him near the opposite bench.
The home fans were in stunned silence, and Cal coach Mike Montgomery furiously pushed his chair on the bench in disbelief before gathering his players for the extra period.
Gutierrez, as he had done all game, answered by scoring Cal’s first six points in overtime — nine in all in the extra session — to help the defending Pac-10 champions to a much-needed victory.
UCLA did all it could to overcome a horrendous start.
The Bruins had more turnovers (six) than points (four) in the first nine minutes, and a rowdy blue-and-gold clad crowd at Haas Pavilion kept them rattled. The home fans certainly had something to cheer about for the first time in a while.
The Bears broke out of their slump and sprinted out to a 15-4 lead that was capped by Gutierrez’s 3 pointer.
They led by as many as 12 points in the first half, showing the hustle and heart — especially on defense, diving for loose balls and rebounds — that had been missing the last two weeks.
The relentless pressure held the Bruins to 29 percent shooting in the opening half and led to several easy Cal buckets.
UCLA coach Ben Howland was furious at his team’s sloppy play, stomping and screaming at his players, “Wake up!”
That took time.
And it came too late.
The Bruins trailed 29-18 at halftime, switched from a man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone after the break, and the swap did wonders to pull them closer.
UCLA began the second half on a 15-8 run to trim the deficit to four, keeping things close for a back-and-forth finish.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)