BERKELEY -- The formula that gave coach Mike Montgomery his 100th win at Cal on Thursday night involved more 3-point shots than the Bears had attempted all season, gritty defense at the finish ... and some strong words by Montgomery.
It added up to a 71-68 victory over Oregon State in front of 8,261 fans at Haas Pavilion, but senior Robert Thurman said Montgomery's message during a timeout with the Bears trailing 51-40 turned the tide.
"Monty really just let us have it," Thurman said. "We really needed it."
"You don't want to know what I said -- you can't handle the truth," Montgomery said. "We were just getting our butts kicked. There's no excuse sitting back and letting them do unto you. I don't think anyone disagreed."
The Bears (12-8, 4-4 Pac-12) responded by cranking up their aggressiveness over the final 15:49 and made big plays down the stretch to overcome the last-place Beavers (11-10, 1-7).
Justin Cobbs gave Cal the lead for good, hitting a 3-pointer with 2:48 left for a 67-66 advantage.
The teams traded baskets before Allen Crabbe rebounded a missed 3-pointer by Cobbs and the Bears ran the clock inside 30 seconds. Cobbs drove into the lane and dished the ball to Richard Solomon, who dunked with 17.6 seconds left.
Thurman blocked a shot by Devon Collier with 7.3 seconds left, and the Bears' defense did not allow the Beavers to get off another shot.
"It shows what kind of defensive team we are when we
The game was not easy for the Bears -- few of them have been.
Faced with a long-armed OSU zone defense, the Bears attempted a season-high 26 3-pointers. They made nine. The trade-off was Cal attempted just two free throws all night.
"I was thinking we're not going to get any," Montgomery said.
Crabbe led the Bears with 15 points on a night when he shot just 5 for 16. Cobbs scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half and added seven assists.
For a change, those two got plenty of support from Cal's big men. Solomon had 12 points and seven rebounds, David Kravish also scored 12, and Thurman came off the bench to contribute eight points, six rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
Those three combined to make 16 of 21 shots.
Montgomery also credited senior guard Brandon Smith for delivering tough defense down the stretch against OSU's Roberto Nelson, who scored 25 points.
"He knew his job," Montgomery said of Smith. "He stayed aggressive. We need more people who do that."
The Bears led early when shots were falling, then went through a first-half stretch in which they made just two of 14 attempts. The Beavers led 41-33 at halftime and by as many as 12 points in the second half.
The win was critical for Cal, which can pull within two games of league-leading and 10th-ranked Oregon (18-3, 7-1) with a victory over the Ducks on Saturday afternoon. Oregon comes off a 76-52 loss at Stanford on Wednesday.
Follow Jeff Faraudo on Twitter at twitter.com/CalBearsBANG.
Oregon (18-3, 7-1 Pac-12) at Cal (12-8, 4-4), 1:30 p.m., KICU