March 8, 2008
LOS ANGELES (AP) - California took it to No. 3 UCLA for 38 minutes and 17 seconds Saturday. The Bruins escaped with a shot worthy of highlight reels for years to come.
Josh Shipp hit a rainbow jumper from behind the backboard with 1.5 seconds remaining to help rally UCLA from an 11-point deficit to an 81-80 victory, the Bruins' second close call in as many games.
UCLA's school-record 28th regular-season victory was in jeopardy until the very end. The Bruins trailed by four points with 31 seconds remaining, then freshman Kevin Love hit a 3-pointer off an inbounds pass from Darren Collison to make it 80-79.
Cal's Ryan Anderson was stripped of the ball in the left corner by Russell Westbrook. A stunned Anderson got up and looked at the referees, expecting a foul call.
The Bruins eventually got it to Shipp, who was falling out of bounds when he put up a one-handed floater along the right baseline.
"Lucky I play H-O-R-S-E," Shipp said, referring to the can-you-top-this driveway game. "It was definitely a desperation shot. I've never seen anything like that. It's one of those movie shots, it was like a dream."
The call against Anderson was more like a nightmare for coach Ben Braun and the Golden Bears.
Braun said he watched a TV replay.
"Both hands were around him (Anderson) and the ball was off Shipp," he said. "Ryan deserved to be at the free throw line."
The crowd roared as Shipp's shot slipped through the net and began spilling onto the court. Cal inbounded the ball and Shipp punched it out of bounds. The referees reviewed the tape and put .7 seconds on the clock. Patrick Christopher's jumper was well short.
"That was probably a mistake," UCLA coach Ben Howland said of Shipp hitting the ball. "I'll let him slide on that one."
Love scored 22 points to lead the Bruins (28-3, 16-2), who go into next week's Pac-10 tournament on a seven-game winning streak.
"I want to commend Cal. They really played great," Howland said. "I'm really proud of our comeback. They never, ever stop believing they're going to win the game."
Anderson scored 21 points for the Bears (15-14, 6-12), who had won at least once against UCLA in each of the last nine seasons. Jamal Boykin added 18 points and Jerome Randle and Christopher had 13 each.
"It's just one of those calls when you're at home you get," Randle said about the play involving Anderson.
Collison and Shipp said the ball went off Anderson's leg and out of bounds.
A year ago, the Bruins won the league championship on the road at Washington State, then lost by 10 points at Washington. They opened the Pac-10 tourney with a 76-69 overtime loss to Cal before going on to reach their second straight Final Four.
The next-to-last place Bears dominated most of the 40 minutes, much as No. 7 Stanford did before losing 77-67 in overtime Thursday night, when the Bruins clinched their third consecutive Pac-10 title outright.
"We aged Coach Howland about 10 years over these last two games," Love joked.
The Bears never let up, hitting six straight free throws down the stretch. In all, they were 19-of-21 from the line and shot 56 percent from the field.
"We continue to get everybody's best shot and somehow we continue to come out on top," Howland said. "This is good for us because this is how it's going to be next Thursday (in the Pac-10 tournament)."
The Bruins fell behind by 11 points three times in the second half, with Cal shooting 56 percent from the field for one stretch. Anderson's layup extended Cal's lead to 62-51.
From there, UCLA outscored the Bears 18-10 to close to 72-69 with 4:26 remaining. The Bruins went 9-of-9 from the line in the spurt and Mbah a Moute scored seven points.
Westbrook made one free throw and Mbah a Moute rebounded his miss of the second, but Shipp missed a 3-pointer. Anderson scored over Love for a 74-70 lead before Love was fouled and made both to again put the Bruins within two.
Randle was fouled by Collison, made both and Cal led 76-72. Mbah a Moute cleaned up Love's miss inside to make it 76-74 with 1:27 left.
Christopher kept Cal ahead 78-75 on two free throws before Shipp's layup on UCLA's third attempt of the possession cut it to 78-76 with 34 seconds to go.
Mbah a Moute fouled Randle at midcourt and he made both for an 80-76 lead. That's when Love calmly double-pumped with Anderson on him and put up the 3-pointer in front of UCLA's bench with 17 seconds to go.
"I was going for the foul," Love said. "He tipped the ball on the way up and I kept it in my palm."
Two days ago, the Bruins trailed Stanford by 14 points in both halves before dominating the overtime.
Saturday's start was a virtual rerun.
After scoring the game's first basket, the Bruins trailed the rest of the half. The Bears raced to a 21-10 lead before Anderson, their leading scorer, even got his first points. Those came on two free throws at 7:05.
Anderson scored the final five points of the half to keep Cal ahead 37-30 at halftime.