Cal squandered a huge opportunity Thursday night at McKale Center, one few teams have enjoyed on Arizona’s home court.
The 25th-ranked Bears led 61-53 with 1:51 left, then were outscored 11-0 the rest of the way by the No. 18 Wildcats and lost 64-61.
Cal’s final three possessions netted nothing:
— A turnover by Tyrone Wallace, who dribbled under the basket and stepped out of bounds
— A charge call against Jaylen Brown, who extended his arm to create space and fouled out
— And a tough, spinning drive in traffic by Wallace, who missed in the final seconds.
The Bears’ seven-game win streak ended, as did their already remote shot at securing a tie for the Pac-12 title this weekend. Cal fell to 21-9 overall, 11-6 in Pac-12 plays.
Cal led 61-53 after a steal and end-to-end layup by Wallace, which came just moments after a 3-pointer by Jordan Mathews.
But Arizona senior guard Gabe York, scoreless in the first half, capped a spectacular 19-point second half by making a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute to rally the Wildcats (23-7, 11-6).
Cal and Arizona are now tied for third place. If both win Saturday, the Bears will retain the No. 3 seed into the Pac-12 tournament because the Bears own a win over first-place Oregon.
Freshman Ivan Rabb played a superb game for the Bears, totaling 15 points and 13 rebounds, including four second-half putbacks and his first collegiate 3-pointer.
But fellow freshman Brown, who has played at a high level through much of the Pac-12 schedule, scored just five points on 2-for-9 shooting before fouling out. Wallace wasn’t any better, scoring five points on 2-for-12 with five turnovers.
Jabari Bird had 13 points and seven rebounds and Mathews scored 12 points.