OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- California knew it missed several
chances, plain and simple.
Draelon Burns scored four points in the final 2:35, and DePaul
hung on for a 68-65 victory Wednesday night in the Pete Newell
Challenge when Cal's Leon Powe missed two free throws with 2.8
seconds left in a two-point game.
The Golden Bears (6-3) trailed 67-65 with 14.7 seconds left when
Rod Benson turned the ball over on the inbound pass to Powe at the
top of the key. But Sammy Mejia missed a free throw on the other
end for DePaul (6-4) to give Cal another chance it couldn't
Powe drew the fifth foul on Karron Clarke and went to the line
with a chance to tie it. But his missed the first shot and
purposely missed the second. The ball failed to touch the rim,
giving the Blue Demons the ball. Mejia hit one free throw for the
"I thought we made some pretty good plays and some plays that
really hurt us," Cal coach Ben Braun said. "When we got the lead,
we didn't lock down defensively."
Mejia had 20 points and kept the Blue Demons close all game in
the first meeting between the schools since playing twice during
the 1998-99 season. The Bears earned a 58-57 victory in the second
round of the National Invitation Tournament that year on the way to
winning the NIT title.
Burns, who scored 13 points, pulled DePaul within 63-62 on two
free throws with 2:35 left, then stole the ball on the other end
moments later and drove the entire court for a layin. Wilson
Chandler scored the next time down for a 66-63 DePaul lead before a
Cal basket by Richard Midgley.
"In the heat of the moment, we had to dig in," Burns said. "I
was really focused and we needed a stop. I wanted to energize the
Ayinde Ubaka hit three 3-pointers in the second half on the way
to 16 points, and California lost its second straight after a
six-game winning streak.
Powe added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Golden Bears
(6-3), who played for the first time in 11 days after a break for
final exams. Cal had its six-game winning streak snapped in a 69-56
defeat at Kansas on Dec. 10 and came out rusty Wednesday.
The Bears hope to bounce back immediately before opening the
Pac-10 schedule next Thursday at Southern California.
"We're all tough, so we're not going to hang our heads," Ubaka
said. "We're just going to regroup, step on the court again and
Omar Wilkes had 13 points and DeVon Hardin 11, nine rebounds and
two blocks for Cal, which struggled on offense early against
DePaul's effective zone and had a tough time generating good looks
at the basket, a problem area for Cal at times the past two
Ubaka made two early 3-pointers in the second half as Cal built
a 42-37 lead but Mejia kept the Blue Demons in it with a 3 of his
own. Ubaka shot 6-for-10 -- making four of six 3-point tries -- and
three assists and no turnovers in one of his best college games.
Jabari Currie added 13 points for the Blue Demons, who headed
home after this game after being on the road for four games since a
70-66 victory over Alabama Birmingham on Dec. 6.
Mejia, a junior guard, finished with three assists to move into
18th place on the school's career list with 265, passing Joe
Ponsetto (1974-78) -- husband of DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti
DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright hoped his team's tough early
schedule would prepare the Blue Demons for the challenges of
playing their first season in the Big East Conference, and they
handled this game well after trailing 31-29 at halftime.
"I didn't want them to mail it in. I thought we raised our
level for 20 minutes," Wainwright said. "The game was with two
good teams that stumbled and bumbled to the finish."
The Blue Demons held their own in the paint despite the absence
of 6-foot-9 center Wesley Green, who is out indefinitely with a
right foot injury.
Green, home in Florida now, will undergo another MRI exam once
he rejoins the team after Christmas.
The 90-year-old Newell, still running his camps for big men
after having lung surgery earlier this year, received a warm
standing ovation from the 8,426 fans during a first-half timeout.