LOS ANGELES -- With one smooth and confident shot from behind the 3-point arc, Allen Crabbe made sure a good day's work by the Cal basketball team wouldn't be lost to a late UCLA rally Saturday afternoon.
After building a 17-point lead, the Golden Bears hadn't made a field goal in nearly 71/2 minutes. But Crabbe took a pass from Justin Cobbs and swished an open 3-pointer with 1:20 left, and the Bears stayed in first place in the Pac-12 with a 73-63 victory at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
"Honestly, I didn't even know I was going to get the ball," Crabbe said. "(Cobbs) got into the air, and I thought he was going to throw it down low. He happened to see me, and I was surprised I was that open.
"I just shot it with confidence."
With the victory, Cal (20-6, 10-3 Pac-12) sits alone in first place in the conference, with Washington (16-8, 9-3) positioned to move back into a share of the top spot with a win at Oregon State on Sunday.
The Bears etched a couple historical footnotes:
"I was coaching at Pixby Elementary School at that stage," Montgomery joked.
"That's a long time," said Cal junior center Robert Thurman, who wasn't born for another 40 years. "That's amazing. It's a very good win."
Montgomery called it "just a solid, workmanlike job, which is what we do."
And he was pleased his team showed little panic after the Bruins came back on them. The Bears led 64-47 after a jump shot by Cobbs with 8:41, then went 11 possessions without a field goal.
Mixed into the drought were a few poor decisions -- an ill-fated tomahawk dunk try by Cobbs, a charging foul by Jorge Gutierrez.
"We were rushing things," Cobbs said. "We lost our focus a little bit."
But they had enough of a cushion to survive. And they got the one big shot they needed from Crabbe, who had been tightly guarded by the Bruins and attempted only eight shots all day.
"I came off (the pick), and I was going to shoot the same shot I'd been taking all game," said Cobbs, who played one of his better games with 18 points and five assists. "And I saw (Crabbe) in the corner of my eye and I knew he was going to knock it down."
The 3-pointer gave the Bears a 70-59 lead, and ended any threat by the Bruins (14-11, 7-6).
Crabbe finished with 14 points and Gutierrez contributed 13 points, five rebounds and four assists. Harper Kamp wound up with 10 points and seven rebounds and became just the 18th Cal player with at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds for his career.
UCLA had won four of its previous five games and was unbeaten in conference home games. But Cal bottled up 6-foot-10 center Joshua Smith and made the Bruins their 15th opponent to shoot under 40 percent (39.7).
The Bears led 32-26 at halftime, despite the fact Kamp and fellow frontcourt starter David Kravish each had two first-half fouls.
Cal then scored 20 points in the first 5:02 of the second half to zoom into a 52-39 lead that eventually reached 17 points.
Montgomery was less concerned with the milestones than simply the fact that his team continues to deliver in a Pac-12 race that had five teams within a game at the top when the day began.
"We've got our program where at least people know who we are," he said. "We're competing favorably, and that's really all you can ask -- to have a chance."
For now, at least, they're alone in first place, which certainly gives them a chance.
Oregon (18-7, 9-4 Pac-12) at Cal (20-6, 10-3), 7:30 p.m., CSNCA