CORVALLIS, Ore. -- The Pac-12's hottest team escaped with another narrow win on Saturday.
After needing a last-second shot from Justin Cobbs to take down No. 23 Oregon on Thursday, California extended its win streak to five games with a 60-59 victory over Oregon State at Gill Coliseum.
This time, it was the Beavers who had the final shot.
With Cal clinging to a one-point lead with 4.3 seconds to play, OSU inbounded the ball to Ahmad Starks.
The 5-foot-9 guard dribbled up court, and under tight defensive pressure, cut loose with a deep three-pointer from the left wing as time expired.
The shot barely drew iron.
"Pretty much a dominant weekend, that's the way I look at it," joked Cal coach Mike Montgomery. "The guys are hanging together and finding ways to win. OSU did a good job. They're playing hard and they haven't given in. (OSU coach) Craig (Robinson) has kept that group together. By all rights, they could have had that one."
With the win, the Golden Bears completed a difficult road sweep of the Oregon schools to improve their overall record to 18-9 and, most important, 10-5 in the Pac-12 to remain within one game of the conference leaders.
They've won seven of their past eight games.
"We got out of Oregon with two wins and that's huge for us," Montgomery said. "It keeps us on track, and gives us a chance, with three games left at home, to maybe take a look at trying to win this league."
The Bears used a 15-0 run to build a 22-8 lead at the 9:25 mark of the first half. Although OSU cut the margin to nine at the break, 29-20, it was the fewest points scored by the Beavers in any half this season.
Still, Montgomery wanted more.
"In the first half, I thought we had numerous opportunities to be up big," he said. "We had a lot of point-blank stuff inside and we didn't get it. That's been an issue for us all along. We've got to finish at the basket."
Those misses nearly came back to haunt Cal, which shot 40.4 percent from the field (23-of-57) and survived a 43-33 deficit on the boards.
With 6-6 junior Allen Crabbe struggling to find his shot -- the Pac-12's leading scorer was held to a season-low six points -- the Bears saw a double-digit lead in the second half shrink to just three points, 45-42, with 8:32 to play.
At that point, Brandon Smith stepped up and drained a three, and Cobbs, who finished with a game-high 18 points, followed with a tough drive to the basket to push the margin back to eight, 50-42.
"It's difficult when your primary guys are struggling," Montgomery said. "Allen was struggling. He missed some shots early that you would expect him to make, and he forced a couple shots late that you just as soon he didn't. He was very frustrated. It's unusual for us to get a win when he's not doing well."
While the Beavers (13-15, 3-12) refused to go away, Cobbs gave Cal a 60-55 lead with a 12-foot fadeaway jumper at the 1:22 mark. OSU answered with four straight free throws from junior Devon Collier.
With 42.3 seconds left, Cal worked the clock down as far as it could, and Cobbs missed from the top of the key.
OSU's Joe Burton, a 6-7, 295-pound senior, who paced the Beavers with 15 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and five steals, grabbed the rebound and OSU called time out to set up the final shot.
"We tried to wait to take the last shot," Montgomery said. "We didn't want them to have a bunch of time, and 4.3 seconds is not a lot of time ... and it ended up with them not getting a very good shot."
And, with three home games to close out the regular season, Cal has a shot to take aim at the Pac-12 title.