PULLMAN — Jerome Randle scored a career-high 39 points as California beat Washington State 93-88 on Thursday to retain first place in the Pac-10 men’s basketball standings.
California (11-5, 3-1 Pac-10) jumped out to big leads at the beginning of each half, then held off Washington State rallies to win for the fifth time in six games.
Washington State (12-5, 2-3) fell behind by 20 points in the first eight minutes, but came back to trail by only four at halftime. Hot shooting by Cal, including 11 of 20 3-pointers, kept the Cougars from taking the lead.
Randle added nine assists for the Golden Bears, while Patrick Christopher scored 21 points and Jamal Boykin 16. The Bears sank 20 of 25 free throws, all in the second half.
Klay Thompson of WSU, the Pac-10’s leading scorer at 23 points per game, was held to 18 points, 13 in the second half. He had a poor shooting night, including a 2-of-10 performance from 3-point range. Reggie Moore led the Cougars with 25 points, and Nik Koprivica added 15.
Cal rode 10 points by Randle to a 59-45 lead with 13:30 remaining. The Cougars got within nine at 65-56, but Randle scored nine points as the Bears rebuilt a 76-62 lead with 7:13 left.
Washington State closed to within 80-71 with 4:16 left, but the Bears sank free throws to hold the Cougars at bay.
Cal made 10 of its first 13 shots in the game and hit four consecutive 3-pointers for an early 16-3 lead. Theo Robertson made consecutive 3-pointers for a 26-8 Cal lead, as the Bears sank six of their first seven from beyond the arc.
Moore’s steal and stuff launched a 16-4 WSU run as the Cougars closed to within 32-24 with seven minutes remaining in the half. Washington State made 11 of its last 15 shots of the half to cut Cal’s lead to 41-37 at intermission.