Thousands of miles apart, Temple’s Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson and Oregon’s Arsalan Kazemi grabbed 18 rebounds, but only one of them won. No. 23 Oregon was stunned by a California team that seems to have been motivated by coach Mike Montgomery shoving Allen Crabbe and yelling, “Do you want to play!” in the previous game. Cal was already the fastest rising team in the Breitbart Sports Middle 20, while Temple also improved their chances of an NCAA bid by holding off fellow Middle 20 member LaSalle Thursday.
California had already moved from 20th to 6th in the Middle 20, the ranking of teams fighting for the final 10 bids the NCAA tournament. The action was rugged in the defensive battle in Oregon (Cal’s Robert Thurman fighting to keep ball from Oregon’s Johnathan Loyd and Waverly Austin in photo).
Thursday they got the signature win they may need to hear their name called Selection Sunday when Justin Cobbs’ shot scored his 14th point on a jumper with less than a second left.
The Golden Bears (17-9, 9-5 Pac-12) overcame Arsalan Kazemi’s had 11 points and 18 rebounds for the Ducks (21-6, 10-4). Oregon led 46-43 with 2:06 to play when Robert Thurman recorded a three-point play for Cal on a dunk and free throw to tie it.
In Philadelphia, Temple was in danger of losing a crucial home game that could have put them on the outside looking in for the tournament, but Hollis-Jefferson’s double-double helped the Owls to an 18-0 run late in the first half in an 82-74 victory Thursday night in Atlantic 10 Conference play.
The Owls (18-8, 7-5) had played five straight one-point games including a devastating loss at home to lowly Duquesne.
This time they led by as much as 53-31 after a 3-pointer by Scootie Randall (15 points).