SEATTLE — Jaylen Brown scored 14 of his 23 points in the second half and California held on in the final seconds to beat Washington 78-75 on Thursday night for just its second road win of the season.
Brown struggled early but could not be stopped when he started attacking the rim. Brown scored six straight points for the Golden Bears midway through the second half as California (18-8, 8-5 Pac-12) picked up its first road victory since winning at Wyoming in overtime on Dec. 5.
But the Bears nearly choked it away the final few minutes. California led by 10 points with 2:39 left, but saw Washington pull within one with six seconds left on Andrew Andrews’ 3-pointer. Tyrone Wallace split free throws with 4.1 seconds left and Jabari Bird was called for a foul on the rebound. Matisse Thybulle, who was 6 of 6 at the free-throw line, rimmed out the first free throw and purposely missed the second. Wallace got the rebound and added one more free throw as the Bears held on.
Andrews led Washington with 18 points, but the Huskies (15-11, 7-7) were left to lament going 25 of 38 at the free-throw line.
Washington lost its fourth straight and missed out on a needed victory for its NCAA tournament hopes. The Huskies likely need a major surge in the final weeks of conference play and an impressive showing in the Pac-12 tournament to get back into the NCAA conversation.
Wallace and Jordan Mathews both added 18 points off the bench as California won its fourth straight.
Marquese Chriss added 17 points for Washington and Dejounte Murray scored 14, but was just 4 of 10 at the free-throw line.
Wallace’s driving layup gave the Bears a 55-49 lead with 8:28 left, their largest lead to that point. Thybulle hit a pair of free throws for Washington, but Malik Dime tried a difficult reverse layup instead of attacking the rim for a dunk that could have cut the Bears lead to two. Instead, Mathews was fouled, hit two free throws and California maintained a six-point lead with 7:15 remaining.
Chriss’ jumper with 6:53 left snapped a string of seven straight shots missed by Washington and was its first field goal in more than six minutes. Sam Singer answered quickly for Cal and Andrews was shaken up on a turnover in backcourt on the ensuing possession. Brown scored in the lane and Cal’s lead was 61-53 with 6:10 remaining.
Brown followed with a second rim-shaking dunk and California’s lead grew to as many as 10. Washington trimmed the deficit to two on Andrews’ first 3-pointer with 25 seconds left. Brown hit a pair of free throws, but Andrews 3-pointer with 5 seconds left made it a 76-75 game.
Wallace was fouled on the inbound pass and split his free throws. Bird was too aggressive going for the rebound and fouled Thybulle with 3.1 seconds left. But Thybulle’s first free throw rattled out and Washington missed its chance to possibly force overtime.
The Bears six road losses since winning at Wyoming were all by less than 10 points.
The Bears travel to Washington State on Sunday.