Super Bowl Sunday meant a small crowd as the Huskies went back to work for the second time without big man Robert Upshaw against Cal. The sparse Alaska Airlines Arena crowd tinged in Seahawks blue watched as Cal’s Sam Singer hit game-winning three-pointer with four seconds to play, sending Washington to a 90-88 defeat.
Nigel Williams-Goss sank a pull-up 18-foot jump shot for the final two of his game-high 31 points with 19.5 seconds left to give Washington an 88-87 lead. The lead was the team’s first since it led 11-10 at 14:11 of the first half. But after a timeout, Singer took a pass from teammate Tyrone Wallace and hit a straightaway three-pointer in front of Andrew Andrews.
Singer was the player of the game for Cal (13-9, 3-6). In addition to the game-winning shot, Singer led a critical sequence of plays with 7:28 remaining to extend a two-point Cal advantage to six. Singer finished with 11 points, five rebounds and five assists. Jordan Mathews scored 23 points and Wallace added 21 to lead the Bears.
Andrews scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds. Mike Anderson added 12 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Washington (14-7, 3-7) is in the process of an identity change on both ends of the court since dismissing the 7-foot Upshaw Monday. Sunday, the Huskies primarily played small with five guards on the court, pushing an up-tempo offense. It led to a high-scoring contest as neither team offered much resistance. To that end, Cal shot 60 percent from the field for the game and the Huskies shot 53.2 percent.
Cal entered Sunday’s game losers of eight of its past 10 games. A win over Washington State Thursday snapped a six-game losing skid to move the team out of the Pac-12 cellar where the one-win USC Trojans reside alone.
After trailing early, the Bears surged in front on the shoulders of a 9-4 run to take a 17-12 lead at 11:15. The two teams stayed within eight points until Cal went on a 12-2 run, building a 40-27 lead with 2:57 left in the first half.
Washington fought back as the half came to a close, its outside shot beginning to fall. Williams-Goss and Darin Johnson provided six points apiece, including a pair of long jumpers in leading an 11-3 run to close the half trailing by two, 43-41. The Huskies began the half shooting barely 30 percent, including 1 of 6 from beyond the three-point line but finished 6 of 12.
The second half wa more competitive as Washington fought back to tie on multiple occasions. First at 51-51, then at 59, 61 and ultimately 71-71 with 8:30 to play. But every time Washington made a run, Cal had an answer