BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Darius McNeill scored 17 points to lead four California players in double figures and the Golden Bears beat Washington State, 76-69, on Saturday.
Paris Austin added 12 points while Justice Sueing and Connor Vanover scored 10 apiece for California (7-22, 2-15 Pac-12).
The Bears have won back-to-back games after a school-record 16-game losing streak.
CJ Elleby had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Robert Franks added 18 points and 12 boards for Washington State. The Cougars (11-18, 4-12) have lost four of five.
Two days after upsetting No. 25 Washington, California won its final home game of the season in somewhat easy fashion. The Bears never trailed, led by 15 midway through the second half and pulled away after the Cougars made their biggest push.
One of Cal’s top perimeter shooters, McNeill had 11 points in the second half mostly on drives through the lane. McNeill made one 3-pointer after Washington State pulled within 62-56, then added a key steal and layup moments later.
Even then, the Bears had to hold on after missing eight of 11 free throws over the final two minutes.
The Cougars were short-handed without Carter Skaggs, Viont’e Daniels and Jeff Pollard, all three of whom remain in concussion protocol. That left coach Ernie Kent’s team with eight players for the second time in three days and made for an uphill climb all afternoon against the Bears.
It showed, especially early.
Cal built a 29-18 lead following a pair of free throws by Andre Kelly. Washington State scored eight straight to pull within three but Austin had five points as part of a 12-3 run that put the Bears ahead 41-29.
Washington State: The Cougars looked much better than they did in the loss to Stanford on Thursday but they played from behind all afternoon and couldn’t get the surge they needed. Elleby had a stellar game but was called for a technical foul with 11 minutes left in the second half and his team trailing by 13. . The Cougars made only three two-point baskets in the first half compared to seven 3s.
California: Getting consecutive wins for the second time this season won’t pretty up the overall picture but the Bears have to feel good about sticking with it throughout the losing streak. If nothing else, this gives Wyking Jones’ team some confidence with the conference tournament coming up.
Washington State: Hosts Oregon on Wednesday.
California: Plays at Stanford on Thursday.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25