BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- California had to win its game against Oregon State Saturday not once, but twice.
They prevailed 84-80 in overtime at Haas Pavilion, an outcome that set off their second celebration of the afternoon.With Cal leading 71-68, the Bears' Patrick Christopher had blocked OSU's final shot attempt and the buzzer had sounded before the Beavers could get off another one. But as the Bears were celebrating officials huddled in front of the television monitor.They ruled the clock had started 2.3 seconds too soon in the Beavers' final possession, and the visitors were given another chance.Cal (14-12, 6-8) deflected the Beavers' first inbounds pass, giving OSU (14-12, 6-8) just 1.4 seconds. But Angelo Tsagarakis caught in the inbounds pass and let fly from 3-point range just before the buzzer sounded to tie the game and set up the OT.But rather than be deflated the Bears came out ready to play in the overtime. "It didn't make that much difference," said Cal senior guard Ayinde Ubaka. "We were going to go out and play whether it took one overtime two overtimes or three overtimes. I knew the clock had started early and that it probably wasn't over."A layup by Christopher, who led the Bears with a career high 24 points, was the finale of a 6-point spurt that opened the OT. Oregon State's Sasa Cucic cut the lead in half with a long 3-pointer, but Ubaka put Cal up by five with a pair of free throws. Tsagarakis hit a bucket, but Christopher answered that with a free throw and a follow.Oregon State did get within 82-80 on Marcel Jones' two free throws with 10 seconds left. But Christopher sealed it with two more free throws.Cal coach Ben Braun, who was doused with the water bucket after the victory, his 200th in Berkeley, said he was as impressed by Christopher's rebounding than his scoring. "He got 11 rebounds and I think every one of them was crucial," Braun said of the 6-5 freshman who has been bothered by a groin injury."He kept us in the game. And he was very aggressive attacking their zone defense. He was more aggressive than anybody else out there."Ubaka and Theo Robertston each scored 21 for Cal. Jack McGillis, whose 3-point shooting accuracy enabled OSU to cut into a 13-point Cal lead in the second half, led the Beavers with 24 points.The Bears had come from a halftime deficit to take a double digit lead before Oregon State rallied to tie the score 58-58. McGillis had pulled the Beavers even when he hit a 3-pointer with 5:05 left in regulation.It was 60-60 when Christopher, who was averaging just 4.6 points per game coming in, dropped in a short jumper. Ubaka's basket gave Cal a four-point lead, but Roeland Schaftenaar buried a wide open trey to cut the lead to one.The Bears built the lead to five, seemingly putting it out of reach, before Sasa Cucic hit yet another OSU trey to make the score 70-68. When Robertson missed one of his two free throws OSU had a chance for Tsagarakis' heroics."Coach (Jay John) wants me to have the all in my hands," said Tsagarakis, who had played just two minutes until then and not taken a shot. "I was the primary option on the play. That was not where I was supposed to go, but I had to read the defense. Josh (Tarver) gave me a great pass."California seemed to have the game in hand midway in the second half. The Bears went on a 12-0 run early in the period and gradually built the lead from there. With the Bears trailing 29-26, Ryan Anderson hit a lay-in, Ubaka knocked down consecutive 3-pointers, Christopher put one in from short range and Omar Wilkes hit two free throws to make it 38-29 Cal.The lead would grow to 45-32 when Robertson hit a 3-pointer at 12:38. But OSU rallied and set up the wild finish.