Now the Cal basketball team must take its act on the road.
The Bears closed out a 17-1 home schedule Saturday with a 77-63 win over Oregon State on Senior Night, staying in a tie with Washington atop the Pac-12 standings.
It gets only more difficult from here. Cal and Washington each play their final three regular-season games on the road. The Bears (22-6, 12-3 Pac-12) play Thursday at Utah, Saturday at third-place Colorado (7-0 at home in the conference) and March 4 at Stanford.
"We know it's going to be tough," guard Jorge Gutierrez said. "We've just got to stay together, keep playing the way we do, and I think we're going to be fine."
"It looks like Washington's not giving in at all," said coach Mike Montgomery, alluding to the Huskies' 79-70 home win over Arizona. "It's really kind of up to us to take care of our business."
The Bears did that against the Beavers, who beat them 92-85 in Corvallis last month but couldn't prevent Cal from stretching its win streak to a season-best five games.
Gutierrez and fellow senior Harper Kamp got hugs from their parents and cheers from the Haas Pavilion crowd of 11,331 during pregame ceremonies, then scored 17 and 13 points, respectively. With 40.6 seconds left, they left the floor to a standing ovation.
"The game is never really over for me, but I was coming out and I realized it was over," Kamp said. "It was so much fun today."
The seniors got a happy ending because all
OSU (15-12, 5-10), with length and quickness, worried Montgomery. The Beavers shot 76 percent in the second half of the first meeting, but Cal held them to 31 percent over the final 20 minutes in the rematch.
The Bears mixed in a little zone and even a triangle-and-two but mostly just defended better. Pac-12 scoring leader Jared Cunningham of Oakland, who had 24 points last time, managed just 10 on 4-for-12 shooting, hounded primarily by Gutierrez.
But a 3-pointer by Cunningham pulled OSU within 62-56 with 5:22 left, and Montgomery called a timeout. Cobbs responded by driving through the lane for a dunk. Next time up the floor, he dished to Crabbe, who made a 3-pointer from the corner. Then with 4:04 left, Bak Bak put in his own missed shot, and the lead was 69-56.
The final weekend had nice symmetry for Kamp, from Mesa, Ariz., and Gutierrez, a native of Chihuahua, Mexico. Their two families -- about 25 strong combined -- shared the same flight from Phoenix to the Bay Area.
Gutierrez hadn't yet spoken to his parents immediately after the game but said, "I'm pretty sure they feel honor. They're very thankful for Coach giving me a chance that not many people wanted to give me."
Kamp was grateful that emotion didn't get in the way of the task at hand.
"We brought a lot of energy when we needed it," he said. "We got this out of the way and ended it on a good note. Now we can focus on what's ahead of us."