Drick Bernstine’s uncontested layup with two seconds remaining in the game gave the Washington State Cougars picked up their first road win of the season as they beat the California Golden Bears, 78-76.
It also was the Cougs’ second win in their last three games, moving them up to 11th place in the Pac-12 (11-16 overall, 3-12 Pac-12) and leaving Cal (8-20, 2-13) all alone in the basement of the conference.
Bernstine’s layup capped a wild final couple of minutes of the game.
After Cal had retaken the lead with 1:38 remaining at 74-73, Malachi Flynn missed a three-pointer. On the ensuing possession, Cal called a timeout to set up its best play, knowing another bucket would make coming back that much harder for WSU.
But the possession ended when Darius McNeil carelessly overshot a pass and the ball landed in the hands of Robert Franks with 44 seconds to go. Seventeen seconds later, Flynn rejected a screen — as he so often does in the final minutes — pulling up for a three-pointer that found only the bottom of the net.
Cal could take the last shot, but the Golden Bears initiated offense with about 10 seconds to go. Justice Sueing drove into the lane before dishing off to Marcus Lee for an open layup. That gave WSU the opening it needed.
The Cougs quickly got the ball to Flynn, who streaked into the frontcourt. Some confusion on Cal’s part led a defender to run at Viont’e Daniels on the three-point line, which left Bernstine unguarded under the basket. Flynn found him with a simple lefthanded feed, and the Cougs were in front with two seconds to play.
The desperation heave at the end of the game by Cal fell short, and WSU picked up the win.
Robert Franks led a balanced scoring attack with 15 points and six rebounds in 35 minutes. Daniels, Flynn and Bernstine each contributed 14.
The Cougs are back in action on Saturday against the Stanford Cardinal.