Colorado’s Nate Tomlinsin, front, battles  with California’s Harper Kamp during the first half of Thursday’s game in Berkeley.
Colorado's Nate Tomlinsin, front, battles with California's Harper Kamp during the first half of Thursday's game in Berkeley. ( George Nikitin )

BERKELEY, Calif. -- The Buffs lost and still made a statement.

Colorado out-played Cal, the Pac-12 team with the best NCAA Tournament resume, for the majority of Thursday's game before falling 57-50 here at Haas Pavilion.

With Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott watching from the stands, the Buffs' six-game winning streak and early hold on first place in the conference came to an end.

Cal, which was beating opponents by an average 21.3 points in Berkeley this season, is now 12-0 at home. CU dropped to 2-4 outside of Boulder and 1-2 in true road games.

Last season the Buffs won a program record 24 games but were only 3-9 on the road with five single-digit losses.

"Our defense was good enough to win tonight and we battled," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "I love the toughness of this team. I thought we showed some gumption and some pride. For that I'm proud."

The Bears (14-4, 4-1) went on a 12-2 run early in the second half and took a 42-37 lead on a three-point play by Allen Crabbe.

The Buffs (11-5, 3-1) stopped the bleeding with a lob dunk by Andre Roberson and went back in front 45-43 on a 3-pointer by Austin Dufault with 6:40 remaining.

But the visitors did not score again until Carlon Brown's floater in the lane dropped in to end an 8-0 run by the Bears with 2:04 left.

Dufault got the crowd back on the edge of its seats with another clutch basket behind the arc to bring CU within 51-50. Harper Kamp (team-high 14 points) answered on the other end with 49.7 seconds left.

Askia Booker turned the ball over on the next possession. Justin Cobbs missed his second free throw attempt, but Crabbe grabbed the rebound and hit two more to give Cal a 56-50 cushion.

The Buffs missed 3-pointers on their final three trips and Cal moved by them into the conference lead with Stanford.

"We just have to play better down the stretch offensively and make sure we get good shots," Boyle said after his team made just 7 of 27 (25.9 percent) field goals in the second half. "When we get good shots, I'll live with the results. But we turn it over too much and we didn't handle their pressure."

The Buffs, who were 13-point underdogs in Las Vegas, took a 29-22 lead into the halftime locker room after holding the Bears to 31 percent shooting (9-for-29).

CU would have been in complete control if it didn't commit eight turnovers that led to nine Cal points or allow four offensive rebounds that led to seven second-chance points for Cal.

The aggressive visitors also missed five free throws in the first 20 minutes.

Cal's senior point guard, Jorge Gutierrez, was just 1-for-10 shooting with three points at the break. The former Denver Lincoln star's first field goal with 44 seconds left cut the deficit to four points.

Crabbe, who was 9-for-13 from behind the arc last week against the Oregon schools, didn't score in the first half.

CU had some early Pac-12 road jitters, shooting a pair of air balls and failing to score until the 16:04 mark of the first half, the longest drought to open a game this season.

But a 3-pointer from Brown sparked got the visitors on the board and sparked an 8-0 run.

The Buffs held Cal without a point for 6:04 and surged ahead. A nice freshman-to-freshman pass from Booker set up Damiene Cain for a layup to make the score 23-16 with 3:38 remaining before the intermission.

Dufault hit a 3-pointer with 8.3 ticks left to keep the lead at seven points.

"It was another case where we played 20 minutes of good basketball," Shane Harris-Tunks said. "We just couldn't get it together offensively in the second half."

Harris-Tunks and Cain gave Boyle some quality minutes in the paint after Roberson picked up two early fouls.

Dufault led the Buffs with 19 points. Roberson was the only other player to join him in double-figure scoring (11 points, 14 rebounds).

"You have to give them credit," Dufault said of the Bears. "They played well and turned it up a notch in the second half."

CU will try to bounce back on Saturday against Stanford.

The Cardinal improved to 14-3 overall and 4-1 in the Pac-12 with a 68-65 victory over Utah on Thursday.

Cal 57, Colorado 50

COLORADO

FG FT Reb

Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Rbrsn 32 4-12 2-2 4-14 0 3 11

Dufault 33 5-13 6-7 3-6 1 4 19

Tmlinsn 36 0-3 0-0 0-3 1 4 0

Dnwdd 17 1-5 0-2 0-1 1 5 2

Brown 37 3-10 2-2 0-5 4 0 9

Booker 21 1-3 1-2 0-4 1 4 3

H-Tunks 11 0-0 3-6 1-3 2 0 3

Chen 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Adams 6 0-0 1-2 0-0 0 2 1

Cain 4 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 2

Totals 200 15-47 15-23 8-40 10 23 50

Percentages: FG .319, FT .652.

3-Point Goals: 5-19, .263 (Dufault 3-4, Roberson 1-4, Brown 1-5, Booker 0-1, Tomlinson 0-2, Dinwiddie 0-3).

Team Rebounds: 4.

Blocked Shots: 3 (Roberson 2, Brown).

Turnovers: 17 (Brown 5, Booker 4, Dufault 2, Dinwiddie 2, Roberson 2, Tomlinson, Harris-Tunks).

Steals: 1 (Brown).

Technical Fouls: None.

CALIFORNIA

FG FT Reb

Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Kamp 33 6-12 2-4 2-8 2 3 14

Kravish 26 3-5 0-0 3-7 0 2 6

Cobbs 39 3-9 6-8 0-5 2 1 12

Gtrrz 38 2-17 1-4 0-6 4 2 5

Crabbe 38 2-9 4-5 1-5 0 3 9

Slmn 12 2-3 2-2 1-2 0 3 6

Bak 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Murray 5 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 2 3

Thrmn 6 1-1 0-0 1-2 0 0 2

Totals 200 20-57 15-23 9-36 9 16 57

Percentages: FG .351, FT .652.

3-Point Goals: 2-9, .222 (Murray 1-1, Crabbe 1-3, Cobbs 0-2, Gutierrez 0-3).

Team Rebounds: 1.

Blocked Shots: 4 (Kravish 3, Kamp).

Turnovers: 8 (Cobbs 4, Kamp 3, Solomon).

Steals: 8 (Cobbs 3, Solomon 2, Gutierrez, Crabbe, Kamp).

Technical Fouls: None.

Colorado 29 21--50

California 22 35--57

A -- 7,577.

Officials -- Chris Rastatter, Deron White, Melvin Landry.