After 50 years, Cal made it look easy Thursday night at Haas Pavilion.
The Golden Bears roared to a 41-17 lead, briefly let Arizona believe it had a chance, then zoomed away to a 95-71 victory, inching closer to their first Pac-10 championship since 1960.
With a national ESPN audience watching, the Golden Bears (19-9, 11-5) rode their 3-point shooting prowess to a 24-point lead with six minutes left in the first half. After Arizona fought back within eight points early in the second half, the Bears flexed their home-court muscles in front of 10,545 delighted fans.
Senior point guard Jerome Randle answered Arizona's comeback bid with three straight 3-pointers and four in a span of 4 minutes, 24 seconds, triggering a decisive 16-2 run.
On Saturday afternoon against Arizona State, the Bears will celebrate Senior Day — and they hope much more. A victory over the second-place Sun Devils (20-8, 10-5) would clinch no worse than a tie for the conference crown.
"It's all right there in front of us," coach Mike Montgomery said.
"It's a great feeling," Randle added. "I feel it. I'm pretty sure everybody else feels what we can do in the next couple days."
Randle finished with 24 points and, by dishing out seven assists, became just the sixth player in Pac-10 history to accumulate 1,700 points and 500 assists in his career.
His credentials for Pac-10 Player of the Year are imposing.
"All I know," Montgomery
All four senior starters delivered for the Bears. Jamal Boykin had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Theo Robertson scored 18 points and Patrick Christopher scored 14 as the Bears put up their biggest point total against Arizona in 14 years.
Even Nikola Knezevic, the seldom-used senior guard from Serbia, chipped in five points, including a crowd-pleasing behind-the-back move for a layup.
Cal converted 10-for-21 from the 3-point line, outrebounded Arizona 34-23 and shot 57 percent for the game to avenge a 76-72 loss at Tucson last month.
Aside from an eight-minute stretch spanning the two halves, Cal outscored Arizona 91-51. Robertson acknowledged it was about as well as the Bears have played all season.
"If we can play like that, we're pretty tough to beat, especially at home," he said, alluding to the Bears' 14-1 record at Haas.
Freshman forward Derrick Williams scored 17 points to lead the Wildcats (13-14, 7-8), but he was scoreless for the game's first 14 minutes. Arizona senior guard Nic Wise, who had 30 points in the first meeting, scored just seven as Cal defused the Cats' pick-and-roll play.
"Cal is a very good team, and they deserve to win the Pac-10 regular-season championship," said Arizona coach Sean Miller, whose team has dropped five of six since the teams last met.
For the game's first 14 minutes, the country saw the Bears at their best. Cal made 16 of its first 22 shots and led 41-17 after a 3-pointer by Christopher with 6:13 left.
But the Bears often have shown an inability to squash an opponent when it's down, and it happened again. Cal made just one of its final 10 shots in the half, allowing Arizona to pull within 43-31.
The rally didn't last long.
Gary Peterson: A perfect setup for Cal. Page 3