Third-ranked Kansas pushed Wednesday night, and Cal pushed back.
Down 17 points less than 2 minutes into the second half at Haas Pavilion, the Golden Bears responded to aggressive tactics by the Jayhawks and fought their way back within three points.
Ultimately, KU had too much muscle -- and too much skill -- and took home a 78-63 victory in the inaugural Pete Newell Classic, its 10th straight win over the Bears dating back to the 1954-55 season.
In front of 11,250 fans -- many of them cheering for the visitors -- Kansas (11-0) responded to Cal's rally with a 13-2 run that rebuilt the lead to 63-49 with less than nine minutes left.
"It was great environment. We've been waiting for this for a long time," said Cal senior Markhuri Sanders-Frison, declining to take a shot at the Jayhawks. "We were ready to play physical. It was two teams just going real hard. That was it."
The Bears (6-5) played much of the decisive stretch without starters Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp, on the bench with foul trouble. In their absence, the Jayhawks easily seized control, beating their fourth Pac-10 team this season.
The Jayhawks scored the first nine points of the second half, extending a 38-30 lead to 47-30. Then it got heated, and the Bears refused to back down.
Sanders-Frison scored on a put-back before Crabbe made a 3-pointer from the left corner with 17:23 left. After officials looked at a video replay, KU's star forward Marcus Morris was ejected for a flagrant foul against Kamp. When Kamp made both foul shots, the Bears were down just 10 points.
Barely a minute later, tempers flared again when players hit the floor for a loose ball in front of the Cal bench. As they were pulled from the pile, KU's Thomas Robinson and Cal's Gutierrez looked ready to fight and had to be restrained by teammates. Both were assessed technical fouls, and Gutierrez went out with his fourth personal foul.
Robinson already had been tagged with an intentional foul for throwing an elbow at Gutierrez in the first half.
"After that we had a little run," Crabbe said. "It fired us up and the crowd got into it, too, so that helped us."
But it was a double-edged sword. "We've got some guys that tried to take care of themselves out there, and it ended up costing us," coach Mike Montgomery said. "Jorge getting his fourth with the technical hurt us."
Two possessions later, Gary Franklin buried a 3-pointer and Cal trailed just 47-41. Two free throws by Sanders-Frison cut the margin to four points, and the Bears got within 50-47 when Nigel Carter converted a layup off a feed from Brandon Smith with 12:48 left.
The rally died there. Less than a minute later, Kamp went out after picking up his second and third fouls in a span of six seconds, and the Jayhawks went to work. When Markieff Morris scored on a put-back with 6:47 left, KU led 71-53.
Playing in Berkeley for the first time since Wilt Chamberlain's sophomore season 54 years ago, Kansas got 21 points from forward Markieff Morris and 18 apiece from super freshman Josh Selby and guard Tyrel Reed.
Gutierrez scored 15 points to lead the Bears, Crabbe had 11 and Sanders-Frison contributed 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Cal competed but did not execute well enough to beat its first top-five nonconference visitor in 52 years. The Bears shot 4 for 22 from the 3-point line, missed 14 free throws and turned over the ball 17 times. They shot just 30 percent in the second half.
"The guys will compete," Montgomery said. "But basketball, at the end of the day, is a performance game."
Hartford at Cal, 7:30 p.m.