FINAL SCORE: Colorado 70, Cal 62. Freshman Jaylen Brown came alive with 21 second-half points but the Bears never recovered after falling behind by 17 points early in the second half.
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Cal is now 14-8 overall, 4-5 in the Pac-12 at the halfway point of the conference schedule, 1-8 away from home and winless in five Pac-12 road games.
After sweeping the Arizona schools at home last week, the Bears are back under .500 in the conference, mired in a 3-way tie for seventh place in the Pac-12 standings.
Offense was the problem most of the afternoon for the Bears, who shot 35.1 percent from the field.
Cal trailed 65-60 with 1 minute left and had the ball, but point guard Sam Singer turned it over — the last of Cal’s 15 giveaways — and Colorado made 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch to ice the win.
The Buffaloes (17-5, 6-3) did not make a field goal in the final 4:50 of the game, but converted 13 of 16 from the foul line down the stretch.
Brown, limited by two fouls to just one shot in a scoreless first half, scored 21 points in the final 16:01 of the game. He attacked the heart of the CU defense, drawing fouls that sent him to the line, where he made 8 of 11 free throws. From the field, he had little more success than anyone else in a Cal uniform, making 6 of 15 attempts.
Guard Jordan Mathews, held without a field goal in the first half, awoke to his three 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 13 points. But he shot 3 for 12 from the floor.
Ivan Rabb added 13 points and center Sean Rooks had a career-best 12 rebounds before fouling out late.
Power forward Josh Scott led the Buffaloes with 18 points, including 8 for 8 from the FT line. But he shot just 5 for 17 from the field.
The Buffs recovered nicely from their 1-for-19 shooting start, hitting 21 of 39 the rest of the way.