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FINAL SCORE: Arizona State 66, Cal 62. The Bears, down 15 points with 8 minutes left, battled back to within 2 points but couldn’t get it done in Tempe. Freshman Tyrone Wallace scored nine of his career-high-equaling 16 points in the final 7:06 to spark the rally and Justin Cobbs hit a 3-pointer with 1:13 left, then another with 22.9 remaining as Cal cut it to 64-62. Evan Gordon, who scored 23 points for ASU, made one of two FTs. But Allen Crabbe lost the ball out of bounds with 10.9 seconds left — his second turnover in the final 40 seconds — and ASU held on.
Crabbe scored 16 points, 12 in the first half, along with seven rebounds, six assists and five turnovers. Cobbs had 13 points. Wallace had eight rebounds and three steals before fouling out in the final minute. Cal had 18 TOs and dug itself too big a hole in each half.
From Robert Thurman’s Twitter account: “If we didn’t dig ourselves into a hole we would be such a hard team to play. Gotta get better and get that split.”
Cal dropped to 13-9, 5-5 in the Pac-12 and missed a chance to move into a tie for fourth place. It only gets tougher, as the Bears visit No. 7 Arizona on Sunday, then return home to face UCLA on Valentine’s Day. ASU improved to 18-5, 7-3 in the conference.
HALFTIME: ASU 37, Cal 27. The Sun Devils used a 15-1 surge over 8 minutes to build a 25-9 lead, fueled by seven Cal turnovers. The Bears answered with their own 10-0 burst, sparked by nine points from Allen Crabbe. That got Cal within 25-19, but the Sun Devils got 3-pointers from Evan Gordon and Jonathan Gilling to rebuild their lead before halftime. Cal shot 50 percent in the half, but turned the ball over 10 times. Crabbe, who attempted only one shot in the first 12 minutes of the game, would up with 12 points at the break. Gordon led the Sun Devils with 13 and center Ruslan Pateev scored eight off the bench.
NOTE: I am not in Tempe with the Bears for tonight’s game vs. Arizona State. But I will provide halftime and postgame wrapups.