Carey's Trey Buries Cal at Buzzer





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If we listened to our parents, we would know it's the little things that count.

The Cal men's basketball team learned that lesson Saturday in a dramatic 54-52 loss to Washington at Haas Pavilion. The defeat raised questions about whether the team possesses the necessary nuts and bolts that make the difference between winning and losing.

Bears forward Sean Lampley said the team's subpar free-throw shooting was a reason for the loss.

"I have no idea why, but our free throws were pretty bad today," the junior said. "We built a lead in the second half, but we let them get back in. We didn't penalize them for fouling us, and it might have been the reason we lost."

And it was freshman guard Donte Smith's missed free throw with eight seconds left that cost Cal the game. With the Huskies down, 52-51, the ball fell into the hands of Washington point guard Senque Carey, who pressed down the court to sink a three-pointer - contested by Shantay Legans - with one second left, securing the win.

Overall, the Bears (11-8, 2-5 in the Pac-10) shot an unimpressive 42.9 percent from the line and went 2-for-8 in the second half.

But Cal coach Ben Braun disputed criticism of his squad's free-throw shooting, pointing toward other factors as causes for the loss.

"You can't give up opportunities at the free-throw line, but there are going to be days when you miss free throws," Braun said. "When those days come, you have to do all the other things well - getting rebounds, controlling loose balls - the things you can control. Those really hurt us, equally or maybe more."

The Bears managed to edge Washington (7-13, 2-6) in rebounds, 41-38, but only secured nine defensive grabs at the glass during the second half compared to the Huskies' 16.

Cal didn't help its case by committing 17 turnovers, and lacked finesse in its ball-handling at times.

"When you don't control those things, you're giving your opponent an opportunity to win the game," Braun said. "(Washington) flat-out took advantage of it."

Huskies coach Bob Bender said he was looking for any way to win after an embarrassing 92-62 loss to Stanford Thursday in Palo Alto.

"We weren't perfect," Bender said. "It's a tall, tall task to come down here and get an easy win. But we felt we were still in it, even being down (nine points) at the half. It was good to win a close one. It was good to win any way we could."

He added that despite having one timeout remaining after Smith's missed free throw, he opted not to use it.

"(Whether he makes the free throw or not), you don't want to have to play a set defense," Bender said. "We'd rather take our chances in a little bit of chaos. I think that helps our offense."

Lampley led the Bears with 20 points on the day, while freshman Nick Vander Laan earned his third straight double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Overall, Cal shot 34.5 percent from the field.

But the game's highlight was Carey's game-winning play at the buzzer.

"I didn't put pressure on myself to make a play that was out of the ordinary. I'm just glad to finally get a win," said Carey, who noted that the roaring crowd had little effect on his ability to drain the winning shot. "In a situation like that, you really don't hear anything."

Carey finished the day with a team-leading 14 points and nine rebounds, and helped Washington to its 40.7 field-goal percentage.

By and large, both teams showed a severe lack of intensity during the first half.

The Huskies shot a dismal 26.9 percent from the field, and junior guard Michael Johnson scored a team-high five points. Cal's field-goal shooting topped out at 34.8 percent, and Vander Laan was the Bears' leading scorer with six points.

At the end of 20 minutes, Cal led, 24-15.

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