BERKELEY, Calif. – Saturday night started with an extended standing ovation for guard Jorge Gutierrez and forward Harper Kamp from the near-capacity crowd of 11,331 at Haas Pavilion and ended exactly the same way.
With 25 members of their two families meeting up in Arizona, then flying on to the Bay Area to attend their final home game, Gutierrez and Kamp exited with 40.6 seconds left in the game to hugs from teammates and a high five from California head coach Mike Montgomery in the 77-63 triumph over Oregon State.
“Honestly I was still looking at the clock,” Kamp said. “The game is really never over for me. I realized that was it and was honored to come out that way. It was so much fun today.”
It certainly started out that way, with Gutierrez introduced by the public address announcer in Spanish, followed by Kamp in English to a raucous response, flanked by their parents.
That energy more than carried over as the Golden Bears (22-6, 12-3 Pac-12) opened up a 10-0 lead to start the game.
Gutierrez had four of those points and finished with a game-high 17 points. He also had eight rebounds, a steal and an assist in what Montgomery called a ”typical line for Jorge.
“He just does a lot of stuff,” Montgomery said, but Gutierrez’s biggest contributions came on defense, frustrating the Pac-12’s leading scorer in Oregon State guard Jared Cunningham.
After scoring 24 points in a 92-85 win in Corvallis, Cunningham was held to 10 points on 4 of 12 shooting, Gutierrez setting the tempo early by drawing an offensive foul.
Kamp added 13 points and seven rebounds, as all five starters scored in double figures.
Point guard Justin Cobbs had a career-high 13 assists to go along with 10 points, finishing the weekend sweep of the Oregon schools with 38 points and 21 dimes against three turnovers.
“I would be disappointed and shocked if he wasn’t player of the week,” Montgomery said.
But the Beavers did their best to try and ruin the party. After trailing 16-4 with 11:14 to play in the first half, Oregon State (15-12, 5-10) closed on a 30-16 surge, taking the lead into the locker room on Kevin McShane’s dunk with four seconds to go.
Reserve guard Roberto Nelson scored 11 points during the run, as Cal struggled against the 1-3-1 defense and physicality with which Oregon State attacked the glass.
In the second half, however, Cal employed a triangle-and-two defense, daring anyone else besides Cunningham and Nelson to shoot.
“We got more aggressive,” Montgomery said. “As compared to their place, where they shoot 76 percent in the second half, they shoot 31.”
Improved rebounding also made a difference, especially the eight offensive rebounds which led to 17 second-chance points.
Oregon State did pull within six points with 5:26 to play after Kravish missed a dunk and Cunningham hit his only three-pointer, but Cal closed out the game on a 15-7 tear, keyed by eight points from Allen Crabbe.
“We knew it was going to be a high intensity game because it was Senior Day and I didn’t think we came out with the effort that matched their intensity,” Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said. “We fought our way back, and then just got back into the same cycle.”
The win again puts Cal into a tie for the conference lead with Washington, which defeated Arizona, 79-70. Both teams have three games to play, all on the road.
Cal heads to Utah and Colorado next week before finishing its season at archrival Stanford, while Washington is at Washington State next week before closing at USC and UCLA.
“It looks like Washington is not giving in at all,” Montgomery said. “It’s really kind of up to us to do our job and take care of our business.”
And while pleased with the circumstances of his home finale, Kamp said the team understands that there is plenty more work to be done.
“We got this out of the way and ended it on a good note,” he said. “Now we can focus on what is ahead of us.”