Jorge Gutierrez has played a lot of gutty games for the California Golden Bears, but it's hard to think of any game more impressive than tonight's performance against the UCLA Bruins. After Cal gave up a 13 point second half lead and trailed 53-52 with two and a half minutes remaining, Gutierrez took over, scoring 15 of the last 24 points for the Bears. He was involved in almost every crucial play down the stretch to lead Cal to a 76-72 overtime victory. Gutierrez scored seven of his points at the free throw line, and nailed four big shots to help tie or give Cal the lead down the stretch.
Gutierrez got some help from his teammates. Harper Kamp had a quite offensive night, but grabbed five offensive boards, including two in overtime (one of those led to the go-ahead-for-good points for Cal, the other led to a Markhuri Sanders-Frison layup that gave Cal a three piont lead with under a minute left). Cal finished with 16 offensive rebounds on the night. Sanders-Frison finished with 12 points on 6 of 7 shooting, and came up with a crucial steal near the end of regulation on a driving Reeves Nelson that ensured Cal wouldn't lose the game in regulation. Brandon Smith hit two threes down the stretch, including what turned out to be the game-clincher with 15 seconds left in overtime. Gutierrez sucked in the defense, kicked it out to Smith in the corner, who promptly drained a triple to make it a four point lead.
Cal nearly blew the game when Allen Crabbe didn't foul Malcolm Lee at the end of regulation, allowing Lee to hit a three that bounced once on the rim, took one hop up, and sliced down through the net to tie the game at the buzzer and send it into overtime. Lee finished with 19 points, but the Bruins couldn't overcome their 18 turnovers.
For more postgame reaction, head on over to the California Golden Blogs.