FINAL SCORE: Cal 78, ASU 70. A huge win for Cal (14-6, 6-2), which retains sole possession of first place heading to Arizona on Sunday afternoon. Az beat Stanford 76-68 and is 5-3, just one game out. This may have been Cal’s best all-around game — a road win against a good team where the offense and defense clicked pretty well. ASU falls to 14-7, 4-4.
0:23.2 2nd H: Cal had a 10-point lead a moment ago, but Victor Rudd stole a Randle pass and dunked, so it’s 78-70. Cal still in very good shape. Christopher has made six straight FTs and has 21 to go with 25 each for Randle and Boykin. That’s 71 from those three.
0:51.9 2nd H: Christopher made two FTs with 1:02 left, making it 74-68, and Gutierrez just drew a charge from Abbott. Cal ball after a timeout.
1:05 2nd H: Boateng just scored again on a putback — has 19 points, 13 rebounds. Likely greatest game of his life. It’s 72-68. Cal has the ball after Robertson was fouled. A new 35-second shot clock.
1:54 2nd H: Cal’s lead back to 72-66 on a 3-pointer from the right corner by Gutierrez, answering Boateng’s FT. Then Christopher just dropped in a step-back shot from the FT line. ASU timeout. Good game.
3:23 2nd H: Boateng’s FT — good. 67-66.
3:23 2nd H: It’s a whole new ballgame, folks. ASU has gone 12-2 on the Bears, pulling within 67-65 just now when Boateng put back his own miss, and was fouled. He’s going to the FT line for one. Cal has scored just two points since leading 65-53 on Randle’s steal and layup with 8:52 left. Since then, Bears are 1-for-5 with two TOs and no offensive rebounds. ASU has slowed the pace, so each possession is critical, and Cal has wasted a few. Boateng has 16 points and 12 rebounds. Randle and Boykin 25 points each.
7:54 2nd H: Cal leads 65-55 and has somewhat quieted what was a very loud crowd. Boykin has a career-high 25 points — Cal doing a good job of making baseline entry pass to him on the low block. Randle has 23 points, five of them since returning to the game after his knee incident. Robertson still scoreless and appears tentative taking his shot. It’s those three, Christopher and Knezevic on the floor right now.
11:03 2nd H: And the Boykin FT . . . good. It’s 60-49.
11:03 2nd H: ASU got within 54-46 after an 8-0 run, then Randle drilled a 3-pointer. Abbott answered with one of his own for the Sun Devils, but Christopher just drove into the lane, passed to Boykin who converted the layup and was fouled. Is going to the FT line to try to match his career high of 22 points. Cal leads 59-49 befote the FT.
13:19 2nd H: Randle back in — we’ll see how he is. Cal’s lead down to 54-43 after basket and FT by Lockett.
14:26 2nd H:Randle just collided with ASU’s Demetrius Walker and apparently has re-injured his right knee. Was helped off the court. Cal leads 54-38.
15:57 2nd H: Randle just committed his first TO of the game — a pass that was picked off by ASU. Cal leads 50-37.
16:35 2nd H: Cal has stretched its lead out to 50-35 after a transition 3-pointer by Randle. He has 18 points. ASU failed to score on its first five possessions of the half and is 1-for-6 with two TOs in the period. Cal has surrendered just one offensive rebound in the half, and Boateng converted it into a putback.
HALFTIME SCORE: Cal 40, ASU 33. Pretty good half for the Bears, who largely dictated tempo against a team allowing just 55.8 ppg. ASU hadn’t allowed more than 39 points in the first half of any previous game. Randle is playing very well — and under control after turnover problems in two of his previous three games. His halftime numbers: 12 points, four assists and zero turnovers in 20 minutes. Cal still depending largely on the perimeter shot (5-for-11 3PT), but has done a good job with ball movement to get inside, too. Shooting 50 percent overall. Playing solid defensively, although several ASU offensive rebounds have hurt the Bears. Seeley gave Cal a boost off the bench, perhaps his best stretch of the season, with a couple defensive rebounds and nice passes. Boykin has 13 points and five rebounds, Cal, Christopher 11. Randle, Christopher and Boykin are shooting a combined 14-for-22. Abbott leads ASU with 11 points.
1:37 1st H: Cal leads 39-28, thanks to a 16-4 run. Seeley is playing well off the bench, while Randle (12), Boykin (12) and Christopher (11) continue to carry the scoring load.
5:04 1st H: Cal leads 31-26. Christopher has 11 points, Randle 10, Boykin 8 . . . and everyone else in a Cal uniform has combined for 2. Robertson is scoreless.
7:45 1st H: Cal was up 23-18 after a 3-pointer by Christopher, then Abbott hit back-to-back 3s, giving ASU a 24-23 lead and conjuring thoughts of two years ago when he went nuts from the perimeter against the Bears in both games. Cal needs to get a hand in this guy’s face, and quick.
12:33 1st H: Jorge Gutierrez and Max Zhang came in at the last timeout, and changed the game. Bears playing with better energy. Cal now leads 16-14, with an 8-0 run. ASU is 0-for-3 with a turnover on its past four possessions.
14:24 1st H: ASU’s lead is 14-10. Cal shooting 4-for-10, but missed six in a row during ASU’s 11-0 burst. Freshman Trent Lockett is giving Amoke trouble on defense — has drawn a foul and drove right past him for a layup on another play. Lockett already has seven points.
15:05 1st H: Cal jumped out to an 8-3 lead — thanks to 3-pointers by Randle and Christopher — but ASU has an 11-0 run going and leads 14-8. Cal getting no penetration of the ASU zone.
STARTING LINEUPS: For the fifth straight game, Cal goes with Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, Theo Robertson, Omondi Amoke and Jamal Boykin. ASU’s starting five: Derek Glasser, Trent Lockett, Ty Abbott, Rihards Kuksiks and Eric Boateng.
WELCOME: We’re here at Wells Fargo Arena, awaiting the start of Cal-ASU. Just heard a nice rendition of the National Anthem by a quartet of saxophone and oboe players. Will have starting lineups as soon as they re available.