Green hits winning shot as Utah beats California 67-65

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(AP Photo/Dino Vournas)

By JOSH DUBOW AP Sports Writer

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Shaun Green was just hoping to draw some contact for a foul. Utah coach Jim Boylen would have been satisfied with going to overtime.

Somehow Green's stumbling shot with 1.4 seconds remaining went in the basket, helping the Utes hand California its first home loss of the season, 67-65 Saturday.

"It was a prayer," Cal forward Ryan Anderson said. "He kind of threw up a prayer, especially with a big guy like DeVon (Hardin) coming after him. Lucky stuff like that happens in basketball. That's why it's such a fun game to watch."

It was much more fun for Utah (7-3) on this day. After Nikola Knezevic hit one of two free throws to tie it at 65 for Cal with 37.9 seconds to go, the Utes worked the clock down.

"We were trying to make sure we got to overtime," Boylen said. "We wanted to get a shot, we wanted to put it down. ... At the end you just have to make a play. It's not always perfect, it's not always you draw it up and it works. Big players make a play. Shaun Green made a play."

Patrick Christopher committed a non-shooting foul for Cal with 5 seconds remaining, setting up the winning play for the Utes. Green got the ball of an inbound play and nearly lost his footing as he drove to the basket. He threw the ball up for the winning basket just before traveling.

"I was really just trying to draw a foul, try to take the last shot and try to get it up there so they had no chance to come back down the court," Green said. "It just happened to go in for me. It was exciting."

Johnnie Bryant scored 14 points and made two key 3-pointers in the second half to lead the Utes, who won for the first time in three meetings against Pac-10 schools this season. Luke Nevill added 12 points.

The win was especially sweet for Bryant, who grew up in Oakland and had been looking forward to this homecoming.

"Every summer I come up here and play," Bryant said. "I'm here a lot. I grew up in this area and have a lot of fans and family here. Winning at home means a lot to me and is something I'll remember the rest of my life."

Anderson had 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead Cal (7-2), which had won its first six home games of the season. Christopher also had 19 but the Golden Bears didn't make a basket for the final 3:50 after rallying from 16 points down to take the lead.

Bryant hit a pair of 3-pointers from the corner to give the Utes a 59-52 with 7:06 remaining before Cal fought back.

Christopher scored on a 3-pointer and a drive before Anderson hit two more free throws to tie the game at 59 with 4:39 to go. After Nevill scored down low to put the Utes back ahead, Christopher hit a 3-pointer to give Cal its first lead since the opening minutes at 62-61. That was the Bears' last basket of the game.

Jamal Boykin, a transfer from Duke, made his debut for Cal midway through the first half and got a standing ovation. Boykin committed two fouls and a turnover in his first three minutes. He helped spark the second-half comeback, feeding Hardin for a dunk and making a baseline jumper. Boykin finished with two points in six minutes.

The Bears made their first three shots of the game and then struggled mightily on offense for most of the rest of the opening half. They went more than 7 minutes without a field goal and they often relied on outside shots against Utah's double-teaming defense.

The Bears missed their first eight 3-pointers of the game and finished 4-for-21 from long range.

"There was a tendency for us to get discouraged to go inside because of the double team and settle for some perimeter shots," coach Ben Braun said. "We're an inside oriented team. For us to get a good percentage from the 3, we have to establish our inside game."

Cal even missed what should have been easy shots. Hardin tried for a windmill dunk on a breakaway attempt late in the half but hit the ball hit the back of the rim and bounced out of bounds. That led to a few boos from the frustrated home crowd.

"I kind of lost it in the air," Hardin said. "Just keep it simple next time."

Utah took advantage of the slow start, going on a 13-0 run to take a 33-17 lead on Bryant's 3-pointer with 3:45 left in the half. The Bears managed to get the deficit down to 37-28 when Christopher hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the half.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-12-22-07 1908MST

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