Efe Abogidi scored 19 points and Tyrell Roberts added 14 as Washington State posted a 66-59 victory over California in the first round of the Pac-12 postseason tournament on Wednesday night at Las Vegas.
TJ Bamba and Michael Flowers added 12 points apiece for the seventh-seeded Cougars (19-13), who will face second-seeded UCLA in Thursday’s quarterfinals. Dishon Jackson matched his career best of five blocked shots for Washington State.
Jordan Shepherd registered 19 points and four steals for Cal (12-20) but was just 6 of 17 from the field. Jalen Celestine added 11 points before fouling out for the Golden Bears, who have lost five of six games and 15 of their past 18.
Washington State big man Mouhamed Gueye (ankle) sat out the contest.
The Cougars shot 36.4 percent from the field, including 6 of 21 from 3-point range, as both teams shot poorly.
The Golden Bears made 31.3 percent of their shots and were 3 of 19 from behind the arc. Cal had a 48-35 rebounding edge and collected 21 on the offensive glass.
Washington State led 32-20 at halftime and increased the lead to 35-22 on a 3-pointer by Roberts with 18:01 remaining.
The Golden Bears rattled off the next nine points to move within four with 14:45 to play.
A short time later, the Cougars scored six straight points — all on four throws — to take a 46-35 with 9:50 remaining.
The Golden Bears moved within 49-41 on Celestine’s basket with 7:35 to play. But Washington State scored eight of the next 10 points — four on free throws by Abogidi — to make it 55-42 with 5:59 left.
Shepherd and Celestine scored baskets to bring Cal within 62-54 with 57.1 seconds to play. Shepherd’s basket with 23 seconds remaining cut the Washington State lead to six before Flowers and DJ Rodman each made two free throws to help the Cougars hold on.
Abogidi scored 11 first-half points as Washington State led by 12 at the break.
Flowers hit a 3-pointer to cap a 12-4 run and give the Cougars a 21-12 lead with 6:52 left in the half.
The Golden Bears moved within 24-18 on two free throws by Shepherd with 3:13 left before Abogidi scored all the Washington State points during an 8-2 half-ending dash.