Three of the last four meetings between Arizona and Cal have gone right down to the wire, but Arizona’s 107-105 triple overtime victory was the best, perhaps one of the best in PAC-10 history.
A barrage of three pointers fueled Arizona in the first half, which allowed them to take 44-38 lead going into halftime. Arizona shot 14-34 from long distance.
However, Cal refused to go away in the second half and eventually took a 64-61 lead on a 15-3 run.
Down 75-70 with 48 seconds to go, it appeared as though Arizona was not going to come away victorious. But Kevin Parrom made a 3 pointer and MoMo Jones converted an and-1 after Cal missed one of two free throws to tie the game at 76 at the end of regulation. Parrom finished with 25 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. Jones finished with 27 points on 9-18 shooting and 7-9 from the free throw line.
“I never knew the meaning of leaving it all on the floor until tonight,” Parrom said, “I left it all on the court. I’m exhausted.”
The Wildcats were without Derrick Williams in the extra periods, who fouled out just before regulation with 12 points and 18 rebounds.
At the end of the first overtime, Allen Crabbe hit one of many difficult shots to tie the game at 87. Crabbe finished with 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists.
To close the second overtime, it once again looked like Arizona was going to come up short. Down 3 with 6 seconds to go, Jones hit a three point shot to tie the game and force yet another extra period.
Cal had a three point deficit but they also had a chance to tie the game with 4 seconds to play, but Sean Miller opted to foul and put Brandon Smith on the line for two shots. Smith made the first, but Cal could not get the rebound after intentionally missing the second.
“If they would have made a three I probably would have walked home to Tucson,” Miller said. “There were 20 ways the game could have been won or lost. It’s a special win.”
The win brings Arizona to 20-4 on the season and 9-2 in conference play, and is also Miller’s first road sweep in PAC-10 play at Arizona. The Wildcats are 1.5 games ahead of UCLA for first in the conference.