Cal Golden Bears Suffer Costly Loss To Colorado In Pac-12 Quarterfinals


Mar 13, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; California Golden Bears guard Tyrone Wallace (3) shoots against Colorado Buffaloes guard Xavier Talton (3) during the first half in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Conference college basketball tournament at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

When the Cal Golden Bears knocked off then-No. 1 and undefeated Arizona on Feb. 1, the thinking was that they had locked up a third straight trip to the NCAA tournament, barring some sort of monumental collapse.

Six losses in their next 10 games later, that collapse might have happened.

The Golden Bears were knocked out of the Pac-12 Conference tournament on Thursday, dropping a 59-56 decision to the No. 5-seeded Colorado Buffaloes at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Cal (19-13) had earned the fourth seed and a first-round bye with an overtime win over the Buffaloes (23-10) on Saturday at Haas Pavilion.

The Buffaloes led by as much as 11 points in the first half and went up by 10 midway through the second before Cal made a late charge.

After Colorado took a 47-37 lead on Xavier Johnson’s jumper, the Golden Bears went on an 11-2 run, closing the gap to 49-48 on Justin Cobbs’ dunk with 6:37 left.

The rest of the game was back and forth, but Cal could never overtake the Buffs and when Askia Booker sank a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left, the Golden Bears were down 58-54. Cobbs scored with eight seconds left and Cal got a quick foul. Eli Stalzer hit the first free throw to put the Buffs up by three, but missed the second. Richard Solomon got the rebound for Cal, just Cobbs’ 3-pointer with one second left was off the mark.

Booker scored 17 points for the Buffaloes, Xavier Talton added 13, Josh Scott had 11 and Johnson finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Cobbs led the Golden Bears with 21 points, five assists and three steals; Tyrone Wallace scored 13 points and David Kravish posted 10 points and four blocked shots. Solomon scored only four points on 2-of-5 shooting, but yanked down 16 rebounds.

Colorado was 22-for-50 (44 percent) overall, 6-for-20 (30 percent) from 3-point range and 9-for-14 (64.3 percent) from the foul line. Cal was 22-for-53 (41.5 percent), 5-for-22 (22.7 percent) and 7-for-12 (58.3 percent).

Even with Solomon’s work on the glass, the Buffaloes had a 38-29 edge on the boards. Cal committed nine turnovers to 13 for Colorado.

While the Buffaloes advance to face top-seeded Arizona in a Friday semifinal, the Golden Bears will have to play the waiting game until Selection Sunday to see whether they’re in the Big Dance again or headed to the NIT.