STANFORD -- Stanford's defense and its bench made the difference Saturday in a sometimes unsightly 69-59 win over Cal at Maples Pavilion.

With 5,877 fans looking on, the Cardinal (11-7, 2-3 Pac-12) effectively frustrated the Bears' two top players, and John Gage led the way as Stanford's reserves outscored their counterparts 26-3.

Gage, a 6-foot-10 junior forward, scored a career-high 14 points, including 4 for 4 from the 3-point line. "It was a tremendous lift," said Dwight Powell, who led the Cardinal with 17 points and nine rebounds. "We just feed off his energy. It's good for the whole team."

Just as critical was Stanford's defensive effort on Pac-12 scoring leader Allen Crabbe and backcourt mate Justin Cobbs, who were a combined 1 for 11 in the first half. Stanford led 37-29 at the break and Cal never regained the lead.

Stanford shadowed Crabbe with Andy Brown, who has overcome three ACL surgeries on his left knee, then gave him help every time the Cal star tried to get free.

"I come off a screen and the guy's right there waiting for me. They're trying to take everything away from me," Crabbe said. "Just like every other team, they try to find ways to get me frustrated."

Crabbe scored 14 points, but his season scoring average (19.8) dipped below 20 points for the first time all season. Cobbs missed his first seven shots and finished with 13 points on 4 for 15 from the field.

Cal coach Mike Montgomery said the Bears (10-7, 2-3) were unable to make Stanford pay for the extra attention given to Crabbe and Cobbs.

In fact, neither team got much accomplished offensively. Cal shot 34.9 percent, Stanford just 35.8 percent.

But the Cardinal was 25 for 31 from the foul line, including 15 for 17 in the second half. That allowed the hosts to win despite making just one field goal in the final 7:07.

"It was the way we were able to get the free throws," Cardinal coach Johnny Dawkins said. "Our kids played with some aggression, attacked the basket."

Chasson Randle contributed 15 points, but the contributions of Gage, Rosco Allen and Gabriel Harris off the bench were invaluable. Allen had six points and seven rebounds and Harris chipped in six points and three assists.

"I'd like to have 26 points off the bench," Montgomery said. "You can't make excuses. We just don't have a lot of flexibility."

That's because reserve guards Brandon Smith (concussion) and Ricky Kreklow (foot) continue to be sidelined. They have combined to play nine minutes in five Pac-12 games, and Montgomery isn't sure when they will be healthy.

Still, Montgomery said, "I think the group of people we had today were good enough to win this game if we had done the things we are capable of."

With Crabbe and Cobbs starting to come to life, Cal got within 43-42 with 13 minutes left when a series of mistakes sparked a 7-0 Stanford run. The first of them was a cross-court pass by Cobbs that Randle picked off and turned into a basket.

"He kind of telegraphed his pass," Randle said. "I just shot the gap."

"Just a killer ... a dagger," Montgomery called it.

Cal also came away empty on its next three possessions, without Crabbe or Cobbs getting a shot. Asked if perhaps the wrong people took shots at a key time in the game, Montgomery said, "There's no doubt about that."

The right man for Stanford was Gage, whose final 3-pointer came moments after Randle's steal and layup and stretched the lead.

"He found some openings in their defense," Dawkins said. "We want John to take those shots."

Especially on a day when almost no one else could make one.

For more on Cal sports, see the Bear Talk blog at ibabuzz.com/beartalk. Follow Jeff Faraudo on Twitter at twitter.com/CalBearsBANG.