California 77, Washington State 75 (2 OT)
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) _ Prentice McGruder’s lay-in with 1:56 left in the second overtime gave California the lead for good, and Ed Gray had a third straight 30-point game to lead the Bears over Washington State 77-75 Thursday night.
After McGruder’s drive gave Cal a 74-73 lead, he found Alfred Grigsby open under the basket for a slam dunk with 1:10 left to make it 76-73.
The Bears missed three of five free throws down the stretch to keep it close, but Isaac Fontaine’s twisting jumper from the free throw line rimmed in and out on Washington State’s final possession.
Cal (13-5, 4-3) won for the fourth time in five games and improved to 6-0 this season at Harmon Gym. Washington State (10-7, 2-4) has lost three straight to Cal.
Gray is averaging 30 points over the last five games. Fontaine’s 24 points topped the Cougars.
Leading 69-66 with 30 seconds to play in the first overtime, Cal’s Prentice McGruder missed two free throws to leave the door open for Washington State. Freshman guard Beau Archibald responded with a 3-pointer and forcing a second OT.
Gray scored Cal’s last 13 points of regulation to help his team come back from a 10-point deficit, but he missed a crucial free throw with 22 seconds left that would have given the Bears a three-point play before the Cougars’ last possession.
Washington State’s Rodrigo de la Fuente then sent the game into the first overtime by hitting a jumper from the corner with 3.3 seconds left, tying it at 62.
The Cougars outscored Cal 16-0 and 12-0 during two separate stretches of regulation, but committed 32 turnovers to keep the Bears in the game.
Just when Washington State was primed to run away with it in the first half, California recovered from a horrendous scoring drought to make it close at the half.
After Gray’s jumper put Cal up 22-18 with 8:10 to go in the half, the Cougars scored the next 16 points over a six-minute span, taking a 34-22 lead after de la Fuente popped in a 3-pointer.
But the Bears suddenly turned it around, forcing three quick turnovers and scoring the last 10 points of the half. They had a chance to take the lead, but Gray’s 3-pointer at the buzzer rimmed off to keep Washington State up 34-32.
The Cougars shot 57.7 percent in the first half, over 20 percentage points better than Cal’s 36.7 clip, but let the Bears convert nine offensive rebounds into a flock of second-chance points.