SEATTLE – C.J. Massingale matched a career high with 25 points to give the Washington Huskies a 75-60 upset victory over California Saturday night.
The victory snapped a four-game winning streak for the Bears.
With Arizona losing earlier in the day, a California victory would have given the Bears a share of the Pac-10 lead. Instead, California stays one game back with four remaining before the conference tournament.
The Bears, the top defensive team in the conference, kept the Huskies’ top scorer Doug Wrenn to two points on a pair of free throws in the first half.
Wrenn, who had led Washington in scoring in each of its previous 11 games, finished with six points and did not make a field goal until 7:15 left in the game.
Washington (9-16, 3-12 Pac-10) led 38-33 after Massingale scored the Huskies’ first seven points of the second half, but the Bears responded with a 12-0 run that gave them a 45-38 advantage with 14:13 left in the game.
The Huskies regained the lead at 53-51 on a 3-pointer by Curtis Allen with 9:06 to play. From that point on, Washington never trailed.
Allen put the game away by scoring the Huskies’ final eight points on free throws in the final minute. Allen and Grant Leep finished with 12 points apiece.
California (18-6, 9-5) failed to post its first five-game Pac-10 winning streak since they won six straight in 1997.
The Bears were led by Joe Shipp’s 15 points. Tashaan Forehan-Kelly had 12, and Solomon Hughes added 11.
The game was tied at 10 six minutes into the contest before the Bears scored the next eight points. The run was stopped when Washington’s Erroll Knight hit a 3-pointer, cutting the Bears’ lead to 18-13 with 11:35 remaining in the half.
The Huskies’ final basket of the half was a layin from Leep after an 18-foot no-look pass from Allen with 16 seconds remaining. It gave Washington a 31-29 lead at the break.
The Huskies’ success or failure in these final weeks of the season may factor into coach Bob Bender’s job security. His team had lost eight of its previous nine games. The Huskies desperately want to avoid losing 20 games three seasons in a row.
Washington is sitting in ninth place in the conference, one game behind Oregon State. The Huskies play the Beavers on Thursday in a game that may determine which team gets the eighth and final spot in the conference tournament.