BERKELEY, Calif. — Arizona and California have gone to the wire so many times of late, it's no wonder things turned testy.
Kyle Fogg hit a go-ahead 3-pointer under pressure with 1:19 to play and finished with 23 points, Jesse Perry added a key basket with 45.2 seconds left and Arizona knocked Cal out of the Pac-12 lead with a wild 78-74 victory Thursday night.
Harper Kamp scored a season-high 22 points for the Golden Bears (17-6, 7-3), who were handed their first home loss of the season at raucous Haas Pavilion a few days short of a year after the teams went to triple overtime in Arizona's 107-105 win.
The emotional win was big for the Wildcats, who had lost three of five.
"That is what you want your team to do when you are dealt a lot of blows," coach Sean Miller said. "I thought our energy was what it needed to be to have a chance to win, and fortunately, the ball bounced the right way for us, which that might have been the first time in quite a while."
Cal's Jorge Gutierrez, who scored 18 points, had to be held back from the Arizona bench with 4:46 remaining after landing hard trying to chase down a loose ball. Gutierrez could be seen yelling at Wildcats assistant coach Joe Pasternack — a former Cal assistant — and was pushed away as Arizona players stepped in to defend their side. Both head coaches came to midcourt to speak with Gutierrez.
"In his opinion one of the coaches on the other team did something he shouldn't," Cal's Mike Montgomery said.
Kamp didn't see the play, but said Gutierrez thought he had been targeted.
"He felt like Coach P said something and maybe extended his leg and tried to kick him," Kamp said.
Several police officers ran onto the court after the final buzzer as a precaution with the crowd of 9,690 especially feisty and frustrated with the officiating crew, which made a quick exit.
Arizona might have lost backup point guard Jordin Mayes for the season after re-injuring his left foot that he broke previously. An X-ray was scheduled for Friday, Miller said.
Washington is now alone atop the conference standings after rallying for a 71-69 home win against UCLA earlier Thursday.
"I look at Cal as the best team in our conference only because they have earned the right to be called that," Miller said.
Nick Johnson added 11 points for Arizona (15-8, 6-4) in the lone meeting of the season between the rivals under the new Pac-12 schedule. The Wildcats, who led by as many as 14 in the second half, shot 54.9 percent to help overcome being outrebounded 37-27.
Arizona sure has a knack for pulling out the close ones against Cal.
"Coach really stuck with us and had faith in us," Fogg said. "He let us know we could beat these guys."
Cal leading scorer Allen Crabbe, who was wearing a walking boot on his right foot Tuesday and sat out that day's practice, hit a 3-pointer with 7:50 left to get the Bears back within 66-60. Gutierrez followed with four straight points to make it a two-point game before Fogg hit the first of two important 3s in crunch time.
Perry, Arizona's leading scorer with 16.2 points per game, wound up with 18 in a physical, foul-filled game as the teams opened the second half of the Pac-12 schedule.
There were 41 personal fouls called.
"I think the physical play threw us off our game," Montgomery said. "We fought back but we shouldn't have been that far behind. We outrebounded them. We just couldn't make plays down the stretch. We had it. We need to get better shots and keep our poise and we didn't do that."
The Wildcats ended the first half by making 14 of 16 shots, and they scored on 14 consecutive possessions during one stretch.
"I know teams give up runs, but that was unacceptable," Kamp said.
Cal used a 16-3 run to take a 22-9 lead midway through the first half, a span in which Arizona's Perry missed four straight free throws. But the Wildcats then used a 13-2 burst to stay close, getting dunks from Solomon Hill and Brendon Lavender and five straight points by Fogg.
After several close calls in the final minutes of the first half, the officiating crew was booed for more than a minute once the halftime buzzer sounded. Montgomery stayed on the court to argue after his players had headed for the locker room.
Arizona earned a pair of two-point victories against the Bears last season, including the triple-overtime triumph last Feb. 5 that was still plenty fresh — among the Wildcats' most memorable games in recent memory and the Bears' toughest defeats.
Arizona is 7-4 on the tough Bay Area road trip over the last six seasons, with a game at Stanford on Saturday.
The Wildcats have won 22 of the last 27 matchups in the series with Cal overall.