Stanford erased a seven-point deficit in the closing six minutes to beat Cal 84-81 on Sunday afternoon at Haas Pavilion and extend the Bears’ skid to a school-record-tying 10 games.
It appeared as though Matt Bradley’s layup had tied it with 14.2 seconds left, and the freshman guard would have a chance to put Cal ahead with an ensuing free-throw try. But an official review changed the initial blocking foul on Stanford’s Josh Sharma to a charging foul on Bradley — negating the basket — once it was deemed that Sharma’s feet were outside the restricted circle.
“I didn’t even know what they were reviewing. I just saw them running to the monitor,” said Sharma, who was limited to two points but made the saving defensive play in a game that had 12 ties and 11 lead changes. “I was hoping for the best. I was pretty sure my feet were outside (the circle), and I was set. I was surprised when they didn’t call the charge initially, but I’m glad they were able to change that one.”
The Cardinal’s KZ Okpala, who went 10-for-16 from the foul line en route to a career-best 30 points, left the door open for the Bears by missing the first of two free-throw attempts with 13.2 seconds remaining. But Cal could manage only a desperation 3-point attempt by Paris Austin, who missed wide left, in the closing seconds.
The Bears (5-16, 0-9 Pac-12) tied the program’s worst-ever skid set in January-February 1962, when Cal played in Harmon Gym and in the Athletic Association of Western Universities. Cal has lost 26 of its past 27 against Pac-12 opponents, having gone a year since beating visiting Oregon State 74-70.
Stanford bumped its record to 11-10, including 4-5 in the Pac-12, on a day when Okpala added eight rebounds and four assists in his 12th game this season with at least 20 points. Bryce Wills added 16 points, and Daejon Davis had 14 for the Cardinal, who shot 57.1 percent to overcome 18 turnovers.
Photo: Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle
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“A sign of a young team would have been to come in and lack respect or lack passion or lack intensity. That was not the case, at all,” Stanford head coach Jerod Haase said. “I don’t know that we played our best game of the year … but the area between left ear and right ear was pretty darn good.”
Cal was led by Justice Sueing’s 23 points and 15 points apiece from Connor Vanover and Austin. The Bears, mixing in waves of full-court pressure, scored 12 points off Stanford’s 11 first-half turnovers and went into the break ahead 38-37.
The Bears stretched their first halftime lead in nearly a month (Jan. 9 against Arizona State) to seven points when Bradley’s 3-pointer made it 56-49 with 12:44 to play. They still led by seven with six minutes left, but Stanford used an 10-2 run of layups and free throws to go up 73-72 with 3:51 on the clock. The Bears led for only 24 seconds the rest of the way.
“They emptied the tank today,” Cal head coach Wyking Jones said. “I felt like they gave us everything they had. They played together and looked like a cohesive group. I’m very proud of the effort that they showed, but we came up short.”
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/collegesports/article/Stanford-comeback-pushes-Cal-losing-skid-to-13585809.php.