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Wallace scored 19, Cal Golden Bears fend off Colorado 68-61 for fifth straight win

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BOULDER, Colorado — Jordan Mathews has the California Golden Bears on the upswing at just the right time.

The sophomore sharpshooter led Cal to a 68-61 win over the slumping Colorado Buffaloes on Thursday night as the Golden Bears stretched their winning streak to five.

Mathews hit five 3-pointers and scored 22 points as the Golden Bears (16-9, 6-6 Pac-12) snapped a six-game skid in Boulder, where they last won on Dec. 16, 1974.

"We're coming together at the end of the year and that's what you want," Mathews said. "It's my second go-round in college basketball, it's a really good feeling to have, a five-game winning streak in February. Hopefully, we can roll it into March."

Tyrone Wallace's 5-foot jumper with 21 seconds left put Cal ahead 65-61 after the Buffs had used a 13-5 run to pull within two. Sam Singer then stole the ball at midcourt from Askia Booker and David Kravish was fouled and sank two free throws to seal it.

"It was huge, Sam makes plays like that all the time," Mathews said. "He has a nose for the ball."

The Buffaloes (11-12, 4-7), who were coming off a 28-point blowout to Utah, lost back-to-back home games for the first time under fifth-year coach Tad Boyle.

Mathews' first 3-pointer came during a run that put the Golden Bears ahead 26-20 before the Buffs pulled to 28-27 at halftime.

Mathews scored 14 of his points in the second half as the Golden Bears never succumbed to the altitude that usually bothers so many visitors.

Josh Scott led Colorado with 17 points in his second game back from a bad back that had sidelined him for eight of the previous nine games, but he had a big miss in the closing minutes.

Scott sank a pair of free throws with 2:11 left to pull Colorado to 63-58 and Booker's 3-pointer with 1:40 remaining made it a two-point game.

After Singer missed a wide-open 3-pointer from the right corner, Scott was open for a 15-footer to tie it, but the ball rattled out and Cal secured the rebound.

"You live in the driveway to shoot shots like that," Scott said.

Scott said losing at home "hurts a lot. We really care about showing love for the hometown and we want to win for ourselves here at home. This is our turf. We don't want people to win here. It's pretty miserable to have the CU song playing knowing that we just lost. That's not a good feeling at all."

The Buffs are 9-4 at home, and those four defeats represent the most losses at home that Boyle's teams have ever had at Colorado.

"I told our team Cal's a team that lost six in a row and now they've won five in a row," Boyle said. "So, I want our players to know Cal is no more talented than we are but they had some better individual performances tonight and that's what won them the game."

Boyle, whose team had never been below .500 this late in the season, wants his players to realize they, too, can go on a run.

"As bad as we're feeling, it can change," he said. "But we are the ones that have to make that change."

TIP-INS

Cal: Wallace finished with 16 points and Kravish had 14. ... Mathews leads the Pac-12 with 37 3-pointers in league play. He's made at least one 3-pointer in 14 consecutive games.

Colorado: Booker scored 11 points in his return from a hip injury. ... Freshman Dominique Collier made his first career start, in pace of Jaron Hopkins (ankle). ... This was the 11th different lineup Boyle has used this season. ... Colorado had been 9-0 at home under Boyle in games immediately following a loss at the Coors Events Center. ... This marked the first game since Jan. 7 at Utah where Booker, Xavier Johnson and Scott have all started the same game.

WHAT's NEXT

Cal visits Utah Sunday night.

Colorado hosts Stanford on Sunday afternoon.

COURTSIDE

Seated behind the Golden Bears bench was Cal alum C.J. Anderson, coming off a breakout Pro Bowl year for the Broncos.

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