BERKELEY -- Two days after coach Mike Montgomery organized a laser tag team outing, Cal found more reasons to smile Saturday with a 66-65 overtime victory against Colorado, giving the Golden Bears the No. 4 seed and a first-round bye in this week's Pac-12 tournament.

"It was fun," senior Justin Cobbs said of the field trip to Concord. "Montgomery was out there doing his thing."

"I didn't finish last," the Bears' 67-year-old coach said.

With his team having lost four of its previous five games, Montgomery sought to lighten the players' mood.

"We just felt we needed a day away from basketball. It had to be fun for them," he said.

The equation worked in front of 9,422 fans at Haas Pavilion, who watched as the Bears played together and harder than they have in a couple weeks.

A loss would have sent them to a No. 8 seed in the Pac-12 tournament at Las Vegas. Instead, Cal (19-12, 10-8) wound up part of a five-way tie for third, with Arizona State grabbing the No. 3 spot and Cal the No. 4 seed through a tiebreaker formula.

The Bears, who probably still have work to do to earn an NCAA tournament berth, open play at the MGM Grand in a 2:36 p.m. quarterfinal game Thursday, most likely against Colorado.

The Buffaloes (21-10, 10-8) could have finished alone in third with a win. They become the No. 5 seed and must beat the No. 12 seed to earn a rematch with Cal.


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Cal missed its final 10 shots against Colorado -- including all seven in overtime -- but converted seven of nine free throws in the extra period.

"Whatever it takes to get it done," Cobbs said. "We defended our butts off and were able to pull it out."

Cobbs said a players-only meeting the night before the laser tag trip emphasized "team, team, team."

"We took some time with ourselves," he said. "It was a whole different team out there."

The lead changed hands three times in the final minute of overtime, with Cobbs converting two free throws at 20.8 seconds to give the Bears the decisive lead.

Colorado's Xavier Talton missed a jumper with about 8 seconds left, Cal's Tyrone Wallace rebounded and was fouled with 4.5 seconds left. He missed the 1-and-1 free throw, and CU's Askia Booker misfired on a running 30-footer at the buzzer.

Cobbs shot just 5 of 17 but played all 45 minutes and made all eight of his free throws -- four in overtime -- to score a team-high 21 points. He seemed to strain his lower back with 2 minutes left in OT but said later, "I'm fine."

Montgomery acknowledged there were times in the game it seemed Cobbs was the only Cal player who could score. The Bears shot 35.4 percent for the game.

"Justin was a warrior," Montgomery said. "He gets to the basket, and he's going to make his foul shots. That's a tremendous asset."

"Justin Cobbs is a heck of a player," Colorado coach Tad Boyle said.

Cal was outrebounded 45-35, but big men Richard Solomon and David Kravish each finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Solomon, who shook off an apparent ankle sprain early in the second half, had four of Cal's eight blocked shots.

thursday's game

Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals in Las Vegas: Cal (19-12, 10-8 Pac-12) vs. TBD, 2:36 p.m. Pac-12 Networks