Brown scores 23 and Cal holds on late to beat Huskies 78-75
Feb. 19, 2016
SEATTLE (AP) — Jaylen Brown carried California to the brink of its first road win in more than two months.
Then the Golden Bears did nearly everything possible in the final minutes to try and give it away.
Brown scored 14 of his 23 points in the second half and California held on in the final seconds to be Washington 78-75 on Thursday night for just its second road win of the season.
But it was far from easy or satisfying for the Bears. Leading by 10 with 2:39 left, Washington staged a furious rally, pulling within one with six seconds left on Andrew Andrews' 3-pointer. The Huskies had a chance to tie moments later when Jabari Bird fouled Matisse Thybulle on a rebound after Tyrone Wallace missed his second free throw attempt and the Bears leading 77-75
Thybulle had been perfect — 6 of 6 — on a night the Huskies struggled at the free-throw line until the final minutes. But his first attempt caught the front rim and rolled out and the second was missed on purpose. Wallace added one more free throw and the Bears were able to escape with their first road victory since winning at Wyoming in overtime on Dec. 5.
"It was a big relief. Big relief," Brown said. "That was a blessing."
Wallace and Jordan Mathews both added 18 points off the bench as California won its fourth straight. But the Bears more than did their part in making the final moments uncomfortable and most of it was due to foul shooting. California was 7 of 16 at the free-throw line in the final 1:45 after going 19 of 25 for the first 38-plus minutes.
"When you miss free throws they get their heads up. If you have a 10-point lead it has to go to 15. You can't miss free throws," California coach Cuonzo Martin said. "They make plays. It changes the ball game. It changes the momentum and that is what happened."
Meanwhile, Washington will be left to lament its own free throw struggles until the final minutes. The Huskies made 12 straight free throws prior to Thybulle's misses, but were 13 of 24 at the line the first 34-plus minutes.
Washington lost its fourth straight and missed out on a needed victory for its NCAA tournament hopes. The Huskies likely need a major surge in the final weeks of conference play and an impressive showing in the Pac-12 tournament to get back into the NCAA conversation.
Andrews led Washington (15-11, 7-7) with 18 points. Marquese Chriss added 17 points and Dejounte Murray scored 14, but was just 4 of 10 at the free-throw line.
"We've lost our margin for error, yes," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. "We have to bring it. We don't have very many opportunities to go out and not come out on top right now."
Wallace's driving layup gave the Bears a 55-49 lead with 8:28 left, their largest lead to that point. Thybulle hit a pair of free throws for Washington, but Malik Dime tried a difficult reverse layup instead of attacking the rim for a dunk that could have cut the Bears lead to two. Instead, Mathews was fouled, hit two free throws and California maintained a six-point lead with 7:15 remaining.
Chriss' jumper with 6:53 left snapped a string of seven straight shots missed by Washington and was its first field goal in more than six minutes. Sam Singer answered quickly for Cal and Andrews was shaken up on a turnover in backcourt on the ensuing possession. Brown scored in the lane and Cal's lead was 61-53 with 6:10 remaining.
Brown followed with a second rim-shaking dunk and California's lead grew to as many as 10. Washington trimmed the deficit to two on Andrews' first 3-pointer with 25 seconds left. Brown hit a pair of free throws, but Andrews' 3-pointer with six seconds left made it a 76-75 game.
California: The Bears six road losses since winning at Wyoming were all by less than 10 points. ... Ivan Rabb was limited to 23 minutes due to foul trouble.
Washington: The Huskies were one of three power conference teams in the country to keep the same starting lineup, but that streak ended when Dime was inserted in place of Noah Dickerson on Thursday. ... The Huskies shot 28 percent in the second half.
California: The Bears travel to Washington State on Sunday.
Washington: The Huskies host Stanford on Saturday.