BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Jabari Bird isn't making much of his recent scoring surge, even though it's helped California to climb within reach of the Pac-12 lead. What's more important to Bird is getting the Golden Bears to transfer their home success to the road, something that's eluded coach Cuonzo Martin's squad most of the season.
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Jabari Bird isn't making much of his recent scoring surge, even though it's helped California to climb within reach of the Pac-12 lead.
What's more important to Bird is getting the Golden Bears to transfer their home success to the road, something that's eluded coach Cuonzo Martin's squad most of the season.
Bird had 23 points and seven rebounds to lead four Cal players in double figures, and the Bears remained undefeated at home this season with an 83-71 win over Oregon State on Saturday.
Two days after matching his career high of 24 points in Cal's 83-63 upset of No. 11 Oregon, Bird came within one point of doing it again while shooting 9 of 14 and making four 3-pointers.
"Basically I'm trying to do everything I've been trying to do for the whole year," said Bird, who has reached double figures in scoring six times in the last eight games. "It's just working now. We're trying to make the (NCAA) tournament and I knew I had to step my game up for us to be a better team."
Tyrone Wallace made seven free throws over the final two minutes to offset an otherwise sloppy day at the line for California. Wallace finished with 17 points, Jaylen Brown added 15 while Jordan Mathews had 14.
The Bears (17-8, 7-5 Pac-12) missed 18 of their 44 free-throw attempts and blew most of a 15-point lead in the second half before holding on for their 17th consecutive win at Haas Pavilion dating to last season.
"A tough, rugged kind of game which we figured it would be that kind of way," Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said. "They grind you out. That's a good win for our guys."
Tres Tinkle had 22 points and five rebounds for Oregon State (15-9, 6-7).
The Beavers, who beat the Bears 77-71 on Jan. 9 in Corvallis, Ore., never led but made Cal sweat down the stretch after falling behind 57-42 with 13:52 remaining.
Tinkle scored on consecutive trips down the floor, Gligorije Rakocevic added a tip-in and Derrick Bruce made a 3-pointer to cap a 9-0 run.
Tinkle later scored on a leaning jumper to pull Oregon State within 67-61 with 5:07 left before Cal pulled away down the stretch.
"I'm a little too disappointed in the lack of effort tonight," Beavers coach Wayne Tinkle said. "For whatever reason, we weren't ready for a fight tonight and they were. We were just soft defensively."
Cal built an early 10-point lead but got tentative from the perimeter late in the first half when the Beavers went to a zone defense. The Bears also struggled from the free-throw line, allowing Oregon State to pull within 30-25 with 4:12 left.
Bird stopped the slide with a 3-pointer.
Kingsley Okoroh, the Bears' 7-foot backup center, followed with a three-point play and dunk and Mathews made a deep 3-pointer with time running out to extend Cal's lead to 41-29 at the half.
Oregon State: The Beavers have not won four straight conference games since 2003. . Payton scored on almost identical soaring one-handed dunks in the first half. . Tinkle, the Beavers' best free throw shooter, missed his three of his first four attempts from the line. . Freshman Derrick Bruce received a technical foul in the first half for taunting. . Drew Eubanks had just two points before fouling out with 3:29 left to play.
California: The Bears missed eight of their final 13 free throws in the first half. . Cal has beaten Oregon State six of the last seven times.
FREE THROW STRUGGLES NO BIG DEAL
Over the past three games Cal is just 55 of 93 on free throws, but Martin says he's not too worried. "I don't get consumed with it because I know they spend time on it," Martin said. "You can't let it bog you down. We spend time on it and they'll fall."
Oregon State: At No. 11 Oregon on Feb. 20
California: At Washington on Feb. 18.