SAN JOSE, Calif. — Allen Crabbe had 19 points and nine rebounds, reserve Robert Thurman scored all 12 of his points on dunks, and 12th-seeded California held off fifth-seeded UNLV, 64-61, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday night.
Buoyed by the crowd support of a strong contingent so close to Berkeley, the Golden Bears (21-11) held the Runnin’ Rebels (25-10) without a basket for more than 11 minutes in the second half. Cal turned a tie game into a 9-point lead during that stretch and withstood a late UNLV push for its first tournament win since 2010.
The Rebels rallied to within a point in the final seconds before missed free throws and a costly inbounds pass sealed the loss.
Bryce Dejean-Jones scored 15 points and Anthony Bennett shook off a poor start to finish with 15 points and 11 rebounds for UNLV, which beat Cal, 76-75, in Berkeley Dec. 9.
The Golden Bears advanced to face the winner of Thursday’s late East Regional matchup between fourth-seeded Syracuse and No. 13 Montana in San Jose.
The Bears started the second half just the way they did the first — pushing the pace, swarming around in a zone defense and swishing shots with ease to go ahead 37-31 on a 3-pointer by Justin Cobbs.
Cobbs and Crabbe led Cal’s 8-0 spurt to go up 45-37, with both guards converting layups through traffic. Bennett made three free throws after getting fouled by Crabbe before Cobbs answered with another 3-pointer. The Rebels then missed 16 shots in a row from the field.