LOS ANGELES — Jorge Gutierrez scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half, Harper Kamp added 17 points, and California avenged last weekend's loss to Stanford with a 77-71 victory over their Bay Area archrivals in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals on Thursday night.
Justin Cobbs scored 15 points while playing strong defense on Stanford freshman sensation Chasson Randle for the second-seeded Golden Bears (24-8) in the schools' second meeting in five days. Stanford beat Cal 75-70 at Maples Pavilion, preventing the Bears from winning a share of the Pac-12 regular-season title.
Thanks to that loss, Cal must win the tournament to breathe easily about its NCAA fate — and the Bears are the highest seed remaining at Staples Center after top-seeded Washington's stunning loss to ninth-seeded Oregon State six hours earlier.
Andrew Zimmermann had a career-high 22 points and seven rebounds for the seventh-seeded Cardinal (21-11), who couldn't respond to Cal's second-half rally in the rivals' rubber match after each school won on its home floor during the regular season.
Gutierrez, the Pac-12's player of the year and its top defensive player, led Cal's impressive comeback from a seven-point halftime deficit. The senior made 6 of 8 shots and finished seven assists and six rebounds for the Bears, who made a 15-3 run to open the second half.
Randle scored 19 points for the Cardinal, but went 5 for 16 — just 2 of 9 on 3-pointers. The freshman dropped 27 of his 30 points on Arizona State in the first half of the Cardinal's opening-round victory.
Cal didn't appear to try anything fancy against Randle, who scored 17 points against the Bears at Maples Pavilion last weekend. Cobbs' man-to-man coverage largely limited Randle's looks and harassed him into ineffectiveness.
Stanford took a 30-23 lead into halftime despite just five points from Randle. Cal, which committed 14 turnovers before halftime and just three afterward, went up 38-33 on Allen Crabbe's 3-pointer 4 minutes into the second half.
Cal maintained a narrow lead until Zimmermann's putback layup tied it at 60 with 6:06 to play. The Bears answered moments later with an 8-0 run capped by Cobbs' four straight free throws.
Cal led 73-64 on Gutierrez's three-point play with 2:31 left, but Randle finally awoke with five quick points. David Kravish drew a key foul and hit two free throws with 40.7 seconds left, and the Bears hung on after stumbling into the league tournament following its first consecutive losses of the season.
Cal had won five of its previous six meetings with Stanford before the Cardinal's surprising victory last weekend. Gutierrez even said he didn't believe the matchup was a true rivalry, given the Bears' domination since Mike Montgomery, the longtime Stanford coach, moved across the bay to Berkeley.
The teams' mutual dislike surfaced repeatedly in the final minutes, with several players posturing and treading on the edge of technical fouls.