TUCSON, Ariz. -- Cal coach Mike Montgomery wasn't talking about moral victories after Thursday night's 73-71 loss to Arizona at McKale Center.
But maybe a silver lining.
"I'll take that (loss) and a commitment like that," Montgomery said. "I know wins and losses are the whole deal, but they came together as a team and played with a lot of heart. I can't complain about that.
"They hurt. They feel bad -- and they should. But that tells me they're committed."
One day after freshman guard Gary Franklin quit the team, there was no quit in the players who made the trek to the desert.
Cal (7-7, 0-2 Pac-10) led by as many as nine points in the second half, but they had no answer for Arizona star sophomore Derrick Williams, who used a school-record 22 trips to the free throw line to fuel an outstanding 31-point, 12-rebound performance in front of 13,863 fans.
Arizona (13-3, 2-1), which had won its first eight home games this season by an average of more than 24 points, didn't lead in the second half until MoMo Jones made two free throws for a 64-62 advantage with 3:39 left.
Ultimately, the Wildcats beat Cal for the 15th time in the past 16 meetings at McKale.
"Cal did a fantastic job coming in here," Arizona coach Sean Miller said.
"Definitely, we should have won this game," said senior center Markhuri Sanders-Frison, who scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half.
Part of what motivated the Bears was
"It definitely hurt. It's something I took personally. It's pretty upsetting," said junior Harper Kamp, who had 12 points. "It just reminds me how committed I am and how committed I want the rest of the guys to be. They came out and reacted with the kind of effort I expected."
Junior Jorge Gutierrez played in front of his parents and 11 other family members who made the 12-hour drive from Chihuahua, Mexico. He delivered 14 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists.
Freshman Allen Crabbe tied his career high with 17 points -- 15 of them in the first half. He got to the line for three free throws with 33.5 seconds left and Cal trailing 70-67. He made the first and third, but missed the second.
"It was pretty nerve-racking," Crabbe said, "but I kept trying to tell myself, 'This is what you do. You're a shooter.' Free throws are supposed to be automatic."
Cal got one more chance.
After Arizona's Solomon Hill missed the second of two free throws with 2.6 seconds left to leave the margin at two points, Crabbe grabbed the rebound and called timeout. Nigel Carter inbounded to Gutierrez, who took two quick dribbles and fired off a 40-foot shot that could have given Cal the win but was not close.
Cal used a zone defense for much of the game, and Arizona struggled to solve it. The Wildcats shot 40 percent from the field and were 6 for 17 from 3-point range.
But Williams was unstoppable. He had 19 points in the second half, including 15 free throw attempts.
"It's hard to minimize him," Kamp said.
"We can't defend the foul line," Montgomery said. "Williams (had) 22 foul shots. Our center had zero. Zero. That's hard."
Afterward, the Bears were disappointed but encouraged.
"We're young," Crabbe said, "but it shows we can compete with anybody."
Cal at Arizona State, 11:30 a.m. CSNBA