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Cal holds on late for 69-66 win over Washington

By Tim Booth

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Jan. 19 2012 9:08 p.m. MST

SEATTLE — Allen Crabbe scored 16 points, unheralded walk-on Robert Thurman added a career-high 16 off the bench, and California remained in at least a tie for first place in the Pac-12 with a critical 69-66 win over Washington on Thursday night.

Justin Cobbs added 14 points, including a key 3-pointer from the corner in front of his own bench with 2:28 left that gave California (16-4, 6-1 Pac-12) a 66-58 lead. He later split a pair of free throws with 8.2 seconds left to put the Golden Bears up by three.

After a timeout, Washington's Darnell Gant got an open look at a 3-pointer to tie the game, but missed off the front rim. It capped a miserable night for Gant, who was 0 for 9 from the field, including six misses from behind the arc.

Terrence Ross led Washington (11-7, 4-2) with 15 points, including a pair of late 3s.

Washington trailed by as many as 13 in the second half but trimmed the deficit to 66-61 on Ross' 3-pointer with 1:33 left. After a California turnover, Desmond Simmons made a leaping catch under the basket and scored for Washington to make it 66-63 with 51 seconds to play.

Harper Kamp hit two free throws with 32.7 seconds left, but Ross answered with another 3 with 10.1 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 68-66. After Cobbs' free throw, California called timeout to set its defense. Instead of fouling, Bears coach Mike Montgomery chose to play it straight.

With most of the attention on Ross, Gant got an open look off a pass from Abdul Gaddy but couldn't connect, giving Cal its fourth straight victory.

Washington, California and Stanford entered the night as the only Pac-12 schools with one conference loss. The game was magnified because it's the only meeting in the regular season between the Huskies and the Golden Bears due to changes in conference scheduling.

Cal got an unexpected lift from Thurman. Averaging 7.3 minutes and 2.4 points in 15 games this season, Thurman more than made up for the loss of Richard Solomon, the Bears' key inside reserve who Wednesday was ruled academically ineligible for the rest of the season. Thurman made 5 of 7 shots in the first half, his 12 points in the half a new career high. He scored eight straight points for Cal during one stretch as the Bears extended an early lead to 22-12 midway through the half.

Cal took its largest lead of the game at 43-30 when Ross threw a lazy pass that was intercepted and led to Gutierrez's run-out layup.

Washington trailed by 11 when its run began. Aziz N'Diaye followed up two of his own misses and scored, then Wroten hit an open 3. Thurman scored for Cal, but Gaddy scored on a drive, and two Wroten free throws had the lead down to 55-51. But with 6:54 left, N'Diaye was called for a rebounding foul and Washington coach Lorenzo Romar erupted, picking up a technical foul. Crabbe hit the two technical free throws, David Kravish hit a pair for the foul and Cal's lead was back to 59-51.

N'Diaye scored 14 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for Washington.

The Huskies' normally rowdy, packed home crowd was thinned by a nasty snow and ice storm that paralyzed the region and shut down classes at Washington for a second straight day on Thursday. California flew to Seattle earlier than expected on Wednesday to beat the some of the storm, and the game officials had to fly into Portland, Ore., and drive up to Seattle on Thursday.

Follow Tim Booth on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ByTimBooth

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