CORVALLIS, Ore. -- The reaction from senior guard Justin Cobbs was simple when informed Cal's 88-83 win at Oregon State on Saturday gave the Bears their first 3-0 conference start after three road games in 75 years.
"Wow," he said.
The same word might have described the Bears' sluggish first half, when they trailed the Beavers by as many as 14 points. Or the contribution they got from senior reserve Jeff Powers, who exploded OSU's zone defense with a pair of 3-points baskets in a 12-0 second-half run that turned the game.
On the heels of victories at Stanford in the conference opener and at No. 17 Oregon on Thursday, the Bears (12-4, 3-0) find themselves tied for first in the Pac-12. They haven't started a conference season in exactly this fashion since the 1938-39 season.
"Now we've got to go home and prepare for Washington State and protect home court," Cobbs said.
In contrast to the 96-83 win at Oregon, when the Bears offense flowed from the start, Cal was out of sorts at the start in this one.
"We didn't compete in the first half," coach Mike Montgomery said. "We looked very tired. A little carryover from (Oregon), it wasn't the same team. We were just flat. We were lucky to be down 10."
The Bears erased the 45-35 halftime deficit within six minutes and used defense to help secure the win. OSU (9-7, 1-3) shot 63 percent in the first half, just 37 percent the rest of the way.
Cobbs, scoreless in the first half, began attacking the basket and had 20 points over the final 20 minutes to go with nine assists.
Tyrone Wallace provided 17 points, six rebounds and six assists, David Kravish had 16 points, and Richard Solomon 15.
No one gave the Bears a bigger lift than Powers, who made up for lost firepower from freshman Jordan Mathews. Two days after scoring a career-best 32 points, Mathews shot 1 for 8 and had two points.
Powers scored 14 points, took two charges, had a steal and made two free throws to help ice the win with 29.6 seconds left.
"Jeff Powers was fabulous," Montgomery said.
Powers made two of his four 3-point baskets during the 12-0 burst than transformed a 61-60 deficit into a 72-61 lead with 6:37 left.
"I always have confidence in myself and my jumper," said Powers, a former De La Salle High player who transferred to Cal four years ago after a short stint at Denver.
Through Cal's first 12 games this season, the 6-foot-7 guard had played just 21 minutes and was 0 for 4 from behind the arc.
Over the past four games, he's averaging 9.3 points on astonishing 11-for-15 accuracy from 3-point range.
OSU coach Craig Robinson said the Beavers weren't surprised by Powers.
"We knew he could make shots. We just didn't guard," Robinson said.
Cobbs said Powers routinely makes shots in practice.
"He knocks down shots, talks trash," Cobbs said. "I'm not surprised he's doing this."
Washington (10-6, 2-1 Pac-12) at Cal (12-4, 3-0), 8 p.m. ESPNU
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