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BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Having lost six games by six points or fewer this season, Cal State Bakersfield coach Rod Barnes didn't mind waiting a few moments to celebrate his most significant win with the Roadrunners.
He might even take a little extra time to enjoy it.
Aly Ahmed had 19 points and 10 rebounds, including two free throws with 3.6 seconds left, to help Bakersfield upset California 55-52 on Sunday night.
The Roadrunners had to delay their celebration as officials reviewed the final play to determine if the Golden Bears had successfully stolen the ball on an inbounds play with 0.9 seconds remaining. Once they waived the play off, Barnes and his players let loose in the locker room.
"It's unbelievable," Barnes said. "We've lost almost every kind of way you can this year, and when they were talking about some time left, I was like, 'Oh no, not again.' We were fortunate that we were up enough already to give us some leeway there."
The Roadrunners (3-10) led by as many as 17 and overcame a late offensive slump when they made only one basket over the final 10 minutes. They offset that by going 10-for-12 on free throws down the stretch — five in the final 28 seconds.
Jaylin Airington added 10 points for Bakersfield. The Roadrunners only other wins came against Delaware and Idaho State.
"We needed this win," Ahmed said. "We lost maybe three games because of our free throws. This is a big win. I feel great."
Tyrone Wallace had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Bears (10-3). David Kravish added 14 points and 10 rebounds for Cal, which has lost two straight following a seven-game winning streak.
Bakersfield had lost its previous two games between the two schools but led nearly the entire game before having to hold off the Bears' late surge.
Cal trailed 50-43 with just over two minutes left before Wallace scored three points and Kravish added a baby hook shot to close the gap.
Redshirt freshman Brent Wrapp made two free throws then added one more after Wallace made two from the line.
The Bears were within 53-50 and had possession before Jordan Mathews' turnover with 6.1 seconds remaining.
"They did a good job of controlling the tempo and making plays," Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said. "I didn't think we set a tone. That's why I always talk about respect all your opponents and don't get consumed with what's on the front of the jersey or the record."
Bakersfield took control with a 15-0 run in the first half.
The Roadrunners repeatedly fed Ahmed down low and he responded with 14 points in the first half — one more than he scored the entire game in a 59-50 win against Idaho State on Dec. 20.
Bakersfield led by as many as 17 in the first half but went cold over the final four minutes, allowing Cal to pull within 30-20 at halftime.
Bakersfield: The Roadrunners held Cal scoreless for nearly nine minutes in the first half. Bakersfield missed seven of its first 3-point attempts.
Cal: Jabari Bird missed his seventh consecutive game with a foot injury. The sophomore guard was expected to shoulder the scoring load with Wallace but remains sidelined and is wearing a walking boot on his left foot. Kravish needs one block to become first Cal player to have 1,000 points and 200 blocks in his career. The Bears were limited to 20 first-half points for the second straight game.
Neither team had a great night from beyond the arc. CSU Bakersfield made just 2 of 11 from the 3-point line, while Cal went 2 of 15.
Cal had 18 turnovers, while CSU Bakersfield had eight steals and nine turnovers.
Bakersfield: Hosts LaVerne on Wednesday.
Cal: Hosts No. 13 Washington on Friday.
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