Freshman Michael Rataj drove through the California defense for a go-ahead layup with 16 seconds remaining and Oregon State survived two subsequent Golden Bears opportunities to tie or go ahead as the Beavers wrapped up their Pac-12 Conference regular season with a 69-66 victory Saturday night in Corvallis, Ore.
After blowing an earlier 16-point lead, Cal went up 66-65 when Grant Newell buried a short jumper with 28 seconds left.
Without calling a timeout, the Beavers (11-20, 5-15) put the ball in the hands of Rataj, a backup who to that point had just two points. But he was able to get to the hoop to help Oregon State snap a four-game losing streak.
Down one, Cal (3-28, 2-18 Pac-12) also rushed the ball up the court, but Joel Brown, the Golden Bears’ leading scorer with 22 points, stepped out of bounds with 9.3 seconds left.
Rataj then got behind the Cal defense on a long inbounds pass for a dunk with 6.7 seconds remaining for a three-point lead, and Brown’s desperation 28-footer hit glass only.
Boosted by making 15 of 16 free throws, Glenn Taylor Jr. had a game-high 28 points for Oregon State, which will enter the Pac-12 tournament as the 11th seed.
Jordan Pope added 17 points and Tyler Bilodeau 11 to go with five rebounds for the Beavers, who completed a season sweep of the Golden Bears.
Newell and Kuany Kuany scored 10 points apiece for Cal, which finished in last place in the Pac-12 regular season. Brown added four assists.
Cal put itself in position to snap a 14-game losing streak with one of its best halves of the season in the first 20 minutes. Brown had 13 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, as Cal led by double digits for most of the first half, before settling for a 36-28 advantage at the break.
But it took Oregon State less than 10 minutes to erase the deficit, and when Pope converted a three-point play with 10:57 remaining, the Beavers had a 52-50 lead, setting up a see-saw finish.
–Field Level Media