FINAL SCORE: Arizona 76, Cal 72. Robertson lost the ball out of bounds on a baseline drive on Cal’s possession after the timeout with 14.5 seconds left. Robertson then fouled Wise, who made two FTs. Randle’s long 3-pointer missed. Wise finished with 30 points, including 9-for-9 from FT line. Williams had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Robertson scored a career-high 27 points and had six rebounds, Christopher scored 19, but shot 5-for-19, Randle also had 15, but shot 1-for-8 from 3-PT. Teams are now tied for first place (6-3) at the halfway point of the Pac-10 schedule. Cal plays Thursday at USC.
0:14.5 2nd H: Cal is inbounding under the basket after a driving layup and free throw by Wise gave Arizona a 74-72 lead. Robertson missed a 3-pointer for the Bears, but Boykin grabbed the rebound. Az knocked the ball out of bounds to Cal.
0:40.4 2nd H: Randle just made three FTs for a 72-71 lead after coming around a screen and drawing a foul call against Wise on the 3-point try. Replay didn’t show a lot of contact, and the fans were not happy. Arizona timeout.
0:45.6 2nd H: Arizona just took a 71-69 lead on a drive by Wise, who has 25 points. Williams tied it previously with a dunk off a no-look pass from Horne. Cal has not scored on its past three possessions. Monty took timeout. Cal has 28 seconds on the shot clock.
2:41 2nd H: Wise just made two FTs, cutting Cal’s lead to 69-67. Robertson had hit two of his own eight seconds earlier — he’s 10-for-10 from the line with a career-high 27. Cal is 17-for-21 from the FT line — only misses by Amoke, who is 0-for-4.
3:48 2nd H: Oh, this is getting good. Cal leads 67-65 after a layup by Amoke off a feed from Boykin. Robertson playing a super game — under control and he has a career-high 25 points. Christopher has 15 and eight rebounds, Randle 12 and six assists, Amoke eight points. Wise has 21 points, but zero assists. Williams has 13 points, 10 rebounds — he is quite a freshman.
6:54 2nd H: Arizona back in front 59-57 after a 3-pointer by Wise and a pullup jumper by Jones, then a driving layup by Robertson, who has 20 points. Randle is going back in for Gutierrez, who just picked up his third foul. Randle is 5-for-13 (1-for-7 from 3PT) and Christopher 5-for-17, despite making those two 3-pointers. Cal is shooting 39.6 percent and only down 2 points. Can a veteran team make big plays on the road when it matters against a fired up, but young team and a very loud crowd?
8:15 2nd H: Cal trailed 52-47 when Christopher suddenly came to life on offense. He hit back-to-back 3-pointers to get the Bears within 54-43, then Amoke converted a fastbreak layup off a feed from Gutierrez and Cal leads 55-54. Randle is resting.
11:58 2nd H: A short jumper by Randle tied it at 43-all. Game is getting tense. Fans all over the refs. Players begging for calls. Coaches working it. Cal is shooting 33 percent, Arizona 35 percent. Cal is 3-for-14 in the half, Arizona 3-for-13. But one or both of these teams will be in first place in about a half-hour.
12:59 2nd H: Gutierrez appears to be hurting — and he’s coming out for PC. Arizona leads 43-41 after a long 3-pointer from the right corner by Kevin Parrom, who had made one all year.
14:46 2nd H: Max to the rescue — just converted a pass from Randle for a layup, got fouled and made the FT for a 40-39 score. And he quieted down the place, at least for now. Gutierrez is in for Christopher.
15:43 2nd H: Cal cannot make a shot. The Bears are 1-for-10 in the half. They are taking some bad shots, but also misfiring on shots they usually make. Arizona leads 40-36. Max continues to be a defensive influence and has three blocks and three rebounds. But Randle is shooting 4-for-12, Christopher 2-for-14 and Boykin 1-for-5. Those three guys had 71 points at ASU. Robertson is 5-for-8 and has 16 points. And even he just missed an open shot in rhythm.
18:06 2nd H: Second half starting very badly for the Bears. Wise hit a 3-pointer to open things, Williams made two free throws, Robertson was whistled for his third foul (18:22 left) on a charge, and Williams just scored again on a postup. It’s 39-34 Arizona. Boykin, who is defending Williams and is just 1-for-5 from the floor, is coming out for Max.
CELEBRITY SIGHTING: Bill Murray is sitting courtside. His son is a grad assistant for Arizona.
HALFTIME: Cal 34, Arizona 32. Cal scored the final six points of the half, four of them by Robertson, who has a game-high 14 points three days after going scoreless at ASU. He broke the 32-all tie with a nice up-and-under move in the lane. A blocked shot by Max led to a fastbreak layup by Randle moments earlier. Randle has 10 points, but is just 1-for-5 from 3-point range. Christopher is just 2-for-11 from the field — the Bears will need more from him. Wise has 11 points for Arizona, including three 3-pointers. Cal got out of the half without Randle, Robertson or Gutierrez picking up his third foul. The Bears converted 38.2 percent in the half, Arizona 40.7. Rebounds are even. Arizona has eight turnovers, Cal just five.
3:53 1st H: Tied at 28-all. Arizona took the lead on a 3-pointer by Wise against Cal’s zone defense, then Lamont Jones converted a fastbreak layup for a 28-26 lead with 4:18 left. Cal badly needed a basket, and Christopher got it for them with a strong drive to the hoop. Looks like Randle is going back in; Robertson remains on the sideline. D.J. Seeley also in for the first time. So it’s those two plus PC, Boykin and Amoke.
5:09 1st H: Cal leads 26-23, but the offense is stalling. Randle and Robertson each on the bench with two fouls, replaced by Brandon Smith and Nikola Knezevic. Cal has one field goal in the past 4 1/2 minutes. Both teams now shooting 40 percent.
7:45 1st H: Cal leads 24-20. The pace is slowing a bit — hot shooting has cooled. Monty put Max Zhang in a couple minutes ago, perhaps mostly because Sean Miller already has gone nine deep and Cal had used just six players. Can’t risk tiring everyone out for the second half. But Max just blocked a shot, so he’s having an impact. Randle leads Cal with eight points, Fogg has seven for Az.
10:28 1st H: Cal leads 22-17 and was up by seven a moment ago after another 3-pointer by Robertson — yes, he’s back and apparently OK. Both teams are playing well offensively — each shooting 50 percent. Wise has a pair of 3-pointers for Arizona, and Randle has one for the Bears to go with two by Robertson.
15:08 1st H: Arizona leads 9-7. Cats shooting 4-for-8, Cal 3-for-7. Robertson, who was scoreless at ASU, hit a 3-pointer on his first shot of the game, with 16:54 left, but is coming out for Gutierrez. Appears to be dealing with something around his lower right hip. Is flat on his stomach, getting attention from the medical staff courtside. Williams is impressive — already has two baskets including a physical drive past Boykin for a layup.
MONTY IN THE DESERT: We were just reminded of this interesting but possibly irrelevant factoid — Mike Montgomery has won the past five times he’s coached in this building, last year with Cal, and his final four seasons at Stanford through 2003-04.
STARTING LINEUPS: No surprises. Cal goes with Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, Theo Robertson, Omondi Amoke and Jamal Boykin. Arizona’s starters: Kevin Parrom, Nic Wise, Kyle Fogg, Derrick Williams and Jamelle Horne.
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM: A classic rendition by a UA professor who apparently didn’t think Francis Scott Key’s lyrics were adequate and made up a few of his own, including “perilous skies.” Amazing.
GREETINGS: Hi everyone. We’re here at Arizona’s McKale Center after a lovely morning drive through the desert from Phoenix.
Tipoff is about a half-hour away. In the meantime, perhaps some pre-game reading — here’s my story from this morning’s editions.
Will check back when we have starting lineups. Enjoy your Sunday.