Cal slips past Cal Poly 67-66 on Austin jumper
By MICHAEL WAGAMAN
It was exactly the way Golden Bears coach Wyking Jones described it, even as he was giving Austin other options to go to.
Austin made a 15-foot jumper over Crowe with 3.8 seconds left and California overcame a late shooting slump to beat Cal Poly 67-66 on Saturday night.
"We knew they were going to switch the screen," Austin said. "I crossed (Crowe) over, he bit on the move and I pulled up and made the shot. It felt good. I knew right away."
The Bears led most of the game but made only two baskets over the final five minutes.
Austin had both of them. He cut through the lane and scored on a layup off a pass from Andre Kelly to put Cal up 65-64, then made the winner after Donovan Fields' 15-foot jumper put Cal Poly ahead.
All 10 of Austin's points came in the second half.
"It was good to see him hit that shot," Jones said. "He saw the switch, he knew the bigger guy was guarding him and he knew he could get a clean look, so he took the shot."
Justice Sueing finished with 15 points and seven rebounds as the Golden Bears (4-5) won consecutive games for the first time this season. Matt Bradley added 11 points and Darius McNeill scored 10.
Cal shot 61.1 percent in the second half despite the Bears long scoring drought when the Mustangs made their run.
"It shows our fight," Austin said. "We're just building as a team."
Fields had 26 points but missed four shots over the final 1:45 including an air ball on a 3-point try as time expired.
Mark Crowe added 11 points and five rebounds for Cal Poly (3-6).
Connor Vanover scored a career-high seven points and did it all in the opening five minutes. He didn't take another shot after that and came out of the game in the second after colliding with a Cal Poly player while both were scrambling on the floor for a loose ball. Vanover suffered a bloody nose and was walked off the court with a possible concussion.
Cal Poly: The Mustangs were tentative early but gained a lot of confidence as the second half unfolded. That bodes well for Joe Callero's team, which lost all three games it played against Pac-12 teams this season. Daxton Carr was called for a Flagrant 1 foul midway through the first half.
California: The Bears nearly let this one get away and it would have been a tough one to recover from. The scoring drought at the end has to be concerning, especially since most of the problems down the stretch were self-inflicted.
Cal Poly: The Mustangs play at Bakersfield on Tuesday. Cal Poly has lost eight of its last nine games against the Roadrunners.
California: The Golden Bears travel south to play at Fresno State on Wednesday. Cal leads the all-time series 5-2.
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Updated December 16, 2018