Cal must win the Pac-12 tournament to breathe easily about its NCAA fate.
LOS ANGELES — Jorge Gutierrez scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half, Harper Kamp added 17 points, and California avenged last weekend’s loss to Stanford with a 77-71 victory over its Bay Area rival in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals on Thursday night.
Justin Cobbs scored 15 points while playing strong defense on Stanford freshman sensation Chasson Randle for the second-seeded Golden Bears (24-8) in the schools’ second meeting in five days. Stanford beat Cal 75-70 Sunday at Maples Pavilion, preventing the Bears from winning a share of the Pac-12 regular-season title.
Thanks to that loss, Cal must win the tournament to breathe easily about its NCAA fate — and the Bears are the highest seed remaining at Staples Center after top-seeded Washington’s stunning loss to ninth-seeded Oregon State.
“We really needed this win, there’s no question,” said Cal coach Mike Montgomery. “It gives us 24. It gets us to the semis. Losing three (straight) at the end of the year would not be a good resume-builder for the next tournament.”
Andrew Zimmermann had a career-high 22 points and seven rebounds for the seventh-seeded Cardinal (21-11), which couldn’t respond to Cal’s second-half rally in the rubber match after each school won on its home floor during the regular season.
Colorado 63, Oregon 62
Andre Roberson made the go-ahead layup with 10 seconds remaining, lifting Pac-12 newcomer Colorado over Oregon in the tournament’s quarterfinals. Devoe Joseph, an All-Pac-12 first-team selection, missed the potential winning three-pointer from the left sideline at the buzzer for the Ducks (22-9).
Carlon Brown scored 18 points and Roberson added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the sixth-seeded Buffaloes (21-11), who advanced to Friday’s semifinals against No. 2 seed California.
Arizona 66, UCLA 58
Arizona and UCLA weren’t their usual high-scoring selves. Instead, it came down to defense and free throws — lots and lots of ‘em by the Wildcats, who won despite going 8 ½ minutes without a field goal in the second half.
The fourth-seeded Wildcats (22-10) were 24 of 27 from the free-throw line in the second half, and they needed those when their shooting dipped to 30 percent over the final 20 minutes and the Bruins briefly took the lead.
Solomon Hill scored 25 points, Jesse Perry added 16 points and Kyle Fogg scored 13. Arizona went 31 of 36 from the line. “As often is the case in March, you ride the coattails of the individual players playing better than they’ve played before,” Wildcats coach Sean Miller said. “The only thing you have to do is look at the stat sheet and the meaning of Jesse, Solomon and Kyle is immense. These three guys are the heart and soul of our team.”
Arizona, seeking its first tournament title since 2002, advanced to Friday’s semifinals against Oregon State.
UCLA’s Smith says he’s not going pro yet
UCLA played the final 11:03 Thursday without big man Joshua Smith, the Kentwood High grad, who fouled out in nine minutes of play after totaling seven points and three rebounds.
“I’m upset with myself,” Smith said. “I realize my numbers aren’t what they should be and not what they were last season. I’m definitely going to come back to UCLA. I know the work I have to put in during the offseason. There is no way I could leave on a note like that.”