PULLMAN — Justin Cobbs scored 22 points, 15 in the second half and seven in overtime, as California held off Washington State’s 3-point barrage, 80-76 on Wednesday night.
Cobbs’ three-point play put Cal up 69-67 with 26 seconds left in regulation before DaVonte Lacy hit two free throws for Washington State to send the game into overtime.
Cobbs made 5 of 6 free throws in overtime and ended the game with a dunk at the buzzer.
Richard Solomon added 15 points for California (16-8, 7-4 Pac-12) before picking up his fifth foul with less than a minute gone in overtime.
DaVonte Lacy scored a career-high 39 points, including eight 3-pointers, for Washington State (9-15, 2-10). D.J. Shelton added 18 points and a career-high 19 rebounds.
Cal held the Cougars to just seven points in overtime, including one field goal.
A putback by Cal’s Ricky Kreklow tied it at 73 with 2:16 left in overtime. Cobbs then made 3 of 4 free throws on Cal’s next two possessions, the last two coming with 18 seconds left. Then Cal decided to intentionally foul Washington State before the Cougars could launch a game-tying 3-pointer.
“We have had so many situations where other teams in that situation have made 3’s, and with the way they were shooting, we made the right choice to foul,” Cal coach Mike Montgomery said.
Lacy pulled the Cougars within 76-75 after two free throws with 9 seconds left, but Cobbs was fouled again and made them both.
Ahead by three points, Cal purposely fouled Washington State’s Ike Iroegbu with 5 seconds left. He made the first and intentionally missed the second, but the rebound kicked out to Cobbs, who raced down the court for the flush at the buzzer.
It’s the fifth straight overtime loss for Washington State, and its third straight conference loss.
Washington State jumped out to a 19-10 lead as Lacy scored a quick 10 points on his way to 13 first-half points. Lacy made all five of his free throws in the opening 20 minutes and finished the night a perfect 11 of 11 from the line.
Cal trailed 28-25 with 4:22 remaining in the half, but a putback dunk by David Kravish sparked a 14-2 run to end the half to give the Bears a 39-30 edge. Washington State made just 2 for 11 shots to end the half.
The Cougars opened the second half with eight 3-pointers. Lacy and Shelton hit back-to-back 3’s to tie the game at 55 at the 8:59 mark and they combined to make six straight free throws in the final 2:28 to send the game into overtime.
Cobbs scored Cal’s final 10 points of the second half, capped by his go-ahead layup and bonus free throw with less 26 seconds remaining.
“It’s tough to lose a close game, but Cal did the things they needed to do to win the game,” Washington State coach Ken Bone said. “They made shots and they made free throws, and Justin Cobbs was really good in the second half.”