STANFORD -- Given plenty of opportunity to lose -- injuries, foul trouble, a six-point play by Stanford -- Cal delivered a 69-62 victory in the Pac-12 Conference opener Thursday night in front of 4,234 fans at Maples Pavilion that brought a smile to the face of its coach.
"Pretty pleasing," coach Mike Montgomery said. "I thought we held our poise, made some big plays down the stretch and were able to come out ahead."
Cal (10-4, 1-0) led much of the night before the Cardinal (9-4, 0-1) scored six points in one possession for a 55-54 lead with 5:44 left.
After a free throw by Stanford's Dwight Powell with 5:17 left, Cal ran off eight straight points on the way to its first win at Maples since 2010.
Cal outscored Stanford 15-6 over the final 31/2 minutes, sparked by nine points and an assist from point guard Justin Cobbs.
"Justin Cobbs played like a senior," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "Down the stretch, he made every big play, made every big shot."
Those included a three-point play that gave Cal a 57-56 lead with 3:30 left, and a 17-foot jumper on an isolation play that stretched the lead to 67-62 with 23.9 seconds left.
"He's pretty good in that situation," Montgomery said. "Sometimes he's a little more reluctant shooter than I want him to be."
Cobbs, who finished with 18 points and five assists, said, "Coach told me to be aggressive. It worked out for me."
Sophomore Tyrone Wallace led Cal with 20 points, 14 of them in the first half, and senior Richard Solomon had 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Powell scored 16 points for Stanford before fouling out with 1:06 left. Chasson Randle added 15 and Anthony Brown 14.
Cal, playing without injured guards Jabari Bird (sprained ankle) and Ricky Kreklow (broken hand), ran into a potential manpower disaster when forwards Solomon and David Kravish got into early foul trouble. The Bears played the final 31/2 minutes of the first half without their starting big men.
But seldom-used reserves Jeff Powers, Christian Behrens and Sam Singer helped Cal's bench outproduce its Stanford counterparts seven points to zero and 10 rebounds to one.
"We played combinations of people we have not played," Montgomery said. "To their credit, they jelled very nicely."
"That's what a team is about, guys who can step up when they don't get too many minutes," Cobbs said.
Stanford, which led 12-4 early, lost aggressivess when presented at times with three-quarter court pressure and a zone defense by the Bears. The Cardinal shot just 34 percent after the game's opening seven minutes.
"They became fairly conservative," Montgomery said. "I thought that helped us so we stayed with it. It was a tempo changer."
Still, the Cardinal got its first lead of the second half when Brown made a 3-point basket and Powell hit one of two free throws after a flagrant foul by Cal freshman Jordan Mathews with 6:15 left.
Stanford retained possession and Randle converted a drive to the basket for a six-point play and a 55-54 lead with 5:44 left. After another free throw by Powell, the Cardinal collapsed, going scoreless on its next six possessions.
"We had a couple turnovers that led to them scoring," Powell said."At that point we needed to calm down."
Follow Jeff Faraudo on Twitter at twitter.com/JeffFaraudo.