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Anderson leads California to upset of Washington State

Feb 1, 2008 - 7:15 AM PULLMAN, Washington (Ticker) -- The Pac-10's leading scorer helped California surprise Washington State on its home floor.

Ryan Anderson made the go-ahead jumper with under a minute to play and had a game-high 27 points to go with nine rebounds as the Golden Bears upset No. 9 Washington State, 69-64, in a Pac-10 Conference stunner on Thursday.

The 6-9 sophomore, who came into the game averaging 21.3 points per game, shot 9-of-13 from the floor, including 5-of-8 from the arc.

"I'm really proud of our team's effort," California coach Ben Braun said. "I think in the end you have to come together and tonight our guys really wanted this, and we were able to pull it out."

California (12-7, 3-5 Pac-10) had lost three straight contests - all on its home floor - but found themselves with a one-point lead late in the game.

After Derrick Low gave Washington State a one-point advantage with just over a minute to play, Anderson made a jumper to put California in front, 65-64, with 45 seconds remaining.

Anderson then grabbed a rebound off a missed 3-pointer by Daven Harmeling and the Golden Bears' big man made two free throws, giving them a three-point lead with 20 seconds to play.

"I've said it all week, Ryan Anderson is one of the most underrated players in the conference," Washington State coach Tony Bennett said. "He's tremendous. He can score in a variety of ways and he showed that tonight."

The Cougars (17-3, 5-3) had three chances to tie in the final 15 seconds but Taylor Rochestie missed a 3-pointer and Low was off the mark on two subsequent attempts before Jamal Boykin made two foul shots to seal the victory for California.

"We've been so close in so many games and this was another game where we had the lead throughout the game," Braun said. "Our guys drew a line in the sand and said 'we got to close.' Our guys believed in each other."

It was the first home loss for Washington State, which had won its previous 10 home games this season by an average of 22.2 points.

"Take your hat off. They came on the road without one of their big guns in Hardin and were good," Bennett said. "They caused some matchup problems for us. It's a good league and it's a battle. You're looking at the best league in the country."

Patrick Christopher had 16 points and Boykin finished with 12 for the Bears, who shot 46 percent (27-of-59) from the field and won despite not getting one point from their bench.

The Cougars used an early 8-0 run to open up a 15-7 lead but the Bears hung in and took a 28-25 advantage on a 3-pointer by Ryan Anderson with 4:51 left in the first half.

Kyle Weaver's 3-pointer tied the game at 35-35 at the break but Anderson made back-to-back shots from the arc to cap a 10-1 spurt, giving California a 47-39 bulge with 15:36 to play.

Washington State fought back, outscoring California, 17-8, and a 3-pointer by Harmeling gave the Cougars a slim 56-55 advantage with 10:53 left in the contest. California then answered with six straight points before Washington State responded with six of its own to hold a 62-61 lead with 3:54 remaining.

Weaver had 15 points and Rochestie finished with 14 to lead Washington State, which made just 5-of-20 shots from the arc.

"I think it was a situation where when we needed a big stop, we couldn't get it," Rochestie said. "Towards the end of the game I think we gave them too many easy shots and didn't execute the way we should have."

The Cougars' leading scorer, Low finished just 2-of-11 from the field, including 0-of-9 from the arc for five points.

"Yeah, they just weren't falling tonight," Low said. "I shot the ball the same as I have all season. I don't think I could have shot the ball any differently. A lot of them just rimmed out, but that's the way basketball is."