Jan. 10, 2009
SEATTLE (AP) -Patrick Christopher scored a career-high 27 points and had 11 rebounds, including the clinchers in the third overtime, as Cal rallied in the second half and in each extra period to beat Washington 88-85 on Saturday in a wild fight atop the Pac-10 Conference.
Jerome Randle scored 23 points for Cal before fouling out in the second overtime. Then Theo Robertson gave the Bears (15-2, 4-0 Pac-10) their first lead since 1-0 with a 3-point play that made it 86-85 with 15 seconds remaining.
Cal won its ninth straight and is off to its best start since the 1959-60 Bears went 28-2 and lost in the championship game of the NCAA tournament to Ohio State. It was Cal's first three-overtime game since Feb. 10, 1977, when the Bears needed five overtimes to beat Oregon.
"Man, it's tough to talk about that game because it was so crazy," Christopher said after he played a game-high 53 minutes -- many of them with four fouls. "That was the toughest game I've played in -- and the most fun I've had in a game.
"I'd be exhausted if we'd lost."
Justin Dentmon scored 24 points, 15 in the last two overtimes, and Isaiah Thomas added 22 for Washington (11-4, 2-1), which saw its nine-game winning streak end. Jon Brockman had 16 points and a career high-tying 18 rebounds but missed crucial free throws for the Huskies, who last played three overtimes in 1984.
Washington led by 11 with 7:36 left in regulation and had a four-point lead early in the third overtime. But Robertson tied the game at 83 with 1:08 left in the third OT on a layup and Brockman, 2-for-8 from the line overall, missed two free throws with 48.5 seconds left.
Cal's Christopher missed a runner and Jamal Boykin fouled Dentmon on the rebound. Dentmon made two free throws, to go 13-for-16 from the line, and Washington led 85-83 with 28.4 seconds left.
Robertson then drove into Quincy Pondexter, made the shot and the subsequent free throw with 15 seconds left to put Cal up by 1.
On Washington's next possession, Dentmon drove hard but missed inside. Christopher grabbed the rebound and made the clinching free throws with 0.6 seconds remaining.
Washington's final heave by Brockman on the inbounds play was intercepted as Christopher ran to the Cal bench to jubilantly chest bump his teammates.
Washington made six consecutive free throws to begin the second overtime and led 70-68 before Cal's Jerome Randle, who had 23 points, deftly fed Jorge Gutierrez inside. But Washington's Justin Holiday flew in to smack Guiterrez's short shot off the glass for a block with 1:38 left.
Dentmon converted that into two more free throws. Then after two free throws by Cal's Randle, Dentmon blew through him in the lane and scooped in a shot while fouled for a seemingly decisive 3-point play. The Huskies led 75-70 with 33.4 seconds remaining as the scoreboard flashed "Justin Time" to the roaring crowd.
Dentmon made only one of two free throws on Washington's next possessions, and Randle made a long jumper and then a 3-pointer. Then with Cal down 77-74, Christopher missed a hurried 3. Freshman D.J. Seeley, averaging 1.7 points per game entering Saturday, grabbed the offensive rebound with 3 seconds left and launched a put-back while Washington's Thomas inexplicably reached out and grabbed him.
The shot went in, the stunning foul was called, and Seeley made the tying free throw with 1.3 seconds left to force a third overtime.
"That was clearly a foul, but to get that whistle, on the road, with that much time left, you're like, 'He's not going to call that,'" said veteran coach Mike Montgomery, who has turned around Cal in just a few months. "You've got to give him credit for making that call."