Crabbe scores 31 as Cal stuns No. 7 Arizona
Crabbe enjoyed the best overall game of his college career, scoring 31 points on 12-of-15 shooting and playing tough defense at the top of a zone that stifled the seventh-ranked Wildcats in the Bears' 77-69 victory in front of 14,545 at McKale Center.
"I don't know how to explain this feeling. It's wonderful," Crabbe said. "To come in and play a No. 7-ranked team in front of a sold-out crowd and upset them out of nowhere is something. Arizona is the only team I haven't beaten in the Pac-12, and to do it here in their house is a great feeling.
"I can't think of any other moment in my college memory that felt this great."
Crabbe scored 19 points in the second half, including 11 as Cal started on a 17-2 run after the break. During the game, he converted a four-point play, hit a long 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock, scored on a fast-break layup with one second left in the first half, and hit a key hanging baseline jumper over 6-foot-10 Grant Jerrett with 1:42 remaining to give Cal a four-point lead.
Basically, he was unguardable.
"Allen Crabbe is a great player," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "It wasn't even close how much he dominated the game and the activity. He is truly a great player. Today, I think he showed everyone in a performance like that how special he is. We had no answer for him."
Crabbe, a 6-6 junior who came into the game averaging 19.3 points per game, finished two points off his career high, set on Nov. 13 against Pepperdine. Crabbe also had seven rebounds and five assists Sunday. Junior guard Justin Cobbs added 21 points for Cal. They combined to make 20 of 29 shots, and the Bears shot 58.5 percent (30 of 51).
Mark Lyons led Arizona with 16 points, and Solomon Hill added 13.
Arizona (20-3 overall) fell into a tie for first place in the Pac-12 with Oregon and UCLA at 8-3.
Cal (14-9, 6-5) hadn't defeated a team ranked as high as seventh since beating No. 3 UCLA in the quarterfinals of the 2007 Pac-10 tournament.
The game capped a wild week in college basketball in which No. 1 Indiana, No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Michigan, No. 5 Kansas and No. 7 Arizona all lost to unranked teams.
The Wildcats struggled against the zone defense, which Cal has not often used this season. Using 2-3 and 3-2 defensive looks, the Bears were particularly effective early in the second half when they took control.
"The real key was we scored every time," Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. "That's an obvious one, but the point being is that it allowed us to get back and settle into the zone."
Arizona shot 39.3 percent for the game (22 of 56), 36.7 percent in the second half.
"We just let the zone affect us," Hill said. "We were stagnant. We didn't move. Every shot was kind of a one-on-one shot, rather than a shot from a pass-and-kick. That is why our percentage was low."
Cal trailed 38-33 at halftime but started the second half on a 17-2 run, including a 15-0 stretch. Crabbe scored 11 points in the first 4:25 of the half, capped by a four-point play when he was fouled on a 3-point basket by Nick Johnson. The Bears started the half by making their first five shots from the field, plus all four free-throw attempts, en route to a 50-40 lead.
Arizona had erased much of that deficit by the 12-minute mark of the half, pulling with 52-49 on a steal and fast-break layup by Johnson. But the Bears were excellent in transition, often beating Arizona down court on the fast break, and they never surrounded the lead.
Arizona has pulled out several close games this season (Florida, San Diego State, Colorado, Utah), but it could not climb all the way back against Cal.
Lyons hit a 3-point shot with two minutes left to bring the Wildcats within 71-69, but Crabbe came back with his jumper over Jerrett. Arizona missed three shots at the rim on its next possession, and Cal wasn't threatened after Cobbs drove for a layup to give the Bears a six-point edge.
Notes: Cal entered Sunday's game with a 1-15 record in its past 16 trips to McKale Center, dating to the 1994-95 season. ... Arizona freshman post player Jerrett, who missed Wednesday's home game against Stanford because of a low-grade stress reaction in his left foot, entered the game with 17:06 to go in the first half. He scored five points in 17 minutes. His unavailability against Stanford was the first player-game Arizona has lost to injury this season. ... The Bears entered the game with a 1-9 record against Top 100 RPI teams. ... Arizona had been plagued by slow starts in three of the previous five games, and Miller said he was contemplating changing the starting lineup. He ended up sticking with his usual five.
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