Cal may be running out of players, but the Golden Bears' season lives on.
Playing without starting senior center Markhuri Sanders-Frison, who dislocated his right shoulder in practice the day before, Cal beat Mississippi 77-74 in a first-round NIT matchup at Haas Pavilion on Wednesday night.
Junior forward Harper Kamp, who was throwing up so badly in the early morning hours that he required IV fluids in both arms, made perhaps the biggest shot of the game, a 15-foot jumper with 24.2 seconds left that pushed the lead to 75-72.
After two Ole Miss free throws, Jorge Gutierrez capped a 25-point performance by making two from the foul line with 14.8 seconds left.
Terrance Henry's 3-point try just before the final buzzer was wide to the left.
Cal (18-14) will play Friday at No. 1 seed Colorado (22-13), which beat Texas Southern 88-74. Tipoff is 6:30 p.m. PDT.
"A pretty gutsy performance," Cal coach Mike Montgomery called it.
"They did a real good job," said Sanders-Frison, who overcame plantar fasciitis in both feet to play in 30 of 31 previous games but likely will need surgery to repair his shoulder.
Montgomery said Sanders-Frison caught his shoulder on a teammate during a drill Tuesday. It was the same spot on which he had undergone surgery before arriving at Cal.
If that wasn't enough, the coaching staff arrived on campus Wednesday morning to the news from the trainer that Kamp was sick and taking fluids.
"I was thinking, 'Holy smokes.' It was just not what we needed to hear," Montgomery said.
The Bears started freshman forward Richard Solomon for the first time and got out of the blocks quickly, zooming to a 19-8 lead after barely five minutes. By making seven of their first eight shots, they gained confidence and allowed Montgomery to go deeper in his bench than usual.
Freshman guard Emerson Murray played 11 productive minutes, scoring a career-high five points and delivering the pass that Kamp turned into the big late basket.
Bak Bak contributed four points and two rebounds in 15 minutes, and seldom-used sophomore Robert Thurman played five minutes.
"They definitely gave us a little lift "... and they gave us some rest," said Gutierrez, who shot 9 for 9 from the foul line and added six assists, five rebounds and four steals. "They played hard, they played smart. We needed it."
Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Allen Crabbe had 20 points, five rebounds and three steals, while Kamp had 11 points in 30 minutes. Solomon chipped in five points and 10 rebounds despite a bloody nose in the first half and leg cramps late in the game.
Ole Miss senior guard Chris Warren scored 23 points to become just the fourth Southeastern Conference player with at least 2,000 points and 400 assists, joining a list that included Pete Maravich.
But Warren was just 5 for 14 from 3-point range, and Gutierrez played physical defense against him on the final possession, forcing the ball out of his hands when the Rebels needed a 3-pointer.
Cal (18-14) at Colorado (22-13), 6:30 p.m. TV: ESPNU