TUCSON, Arizona (Ticker) -- Top-ranked Arizona used its ability to score in spurts to bounce back from a tough loss.
Jason Gardner scored 18 points and Channing Frye added 12 and 12 rebounds as the Wildcats took over sole possesion of first place in the Pac-10 Conference with a 95-80 victory over No. 24 California.
California (14-4, 7-2 Pac-10) was within 33-29 following a basket by Brian Wethers with 2:24 left in the first half. But freshman Hassan Adams had a jumper and a 3-pointer and Frye scored at the buzzer for a 40-30 halftime edge.
Salim Stoudamire had a pair of 3-pointers and Gardner scored five points in a 13-5 run to open the second half that left the Wildcats with a commanding 53-35 cushion. The Golden Bears never got within single digits thereafter.
"I still don't think it was a complete game tonight," Gardner said. "I think we still haven't played for a full 40 minutes. Tonight, our halves were a little better. I think the guys realized we needed to defend our home court."
Arizona (16-2, 8-1) moved one game ahead of California and Stanford. The Wildcats could fall from their top ranking after Thursday' 82-77 loss to the Cardinal.
"I'm happy that we're all by ourselves in first but I'm not happy about the one loss," Arizona coach Lute Olson said. "We won one at Oregon that probably figured to be a loss and lost one at home to Stanford that we never should have lost so I guess overall we're where we should be at 8-1."
The Wildcats avoided a second straight home loss for the first time under Olson since losses to Washington State and Washington from January 12-14, 1984.
Stoudamire scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half for Arizona, which has won eight straight against California. Rick Anderson also netted 10 of his 15 points over the final 20 minutes.
"I was just getting up and down the court better and Jason was finding me," Anderson said. "After losing to Stanford, we were just determined we were not going to lose to anybody here again."
Arizona placed six players in double figures as Adams and fellow freshman Andre Igoudala scored 10 points apiece off the bench. The Wildcats made 52 percent (11-of-21) of their 3-point attempts with Anderson drilled all three of his shots from beyond the arc.
Joe Shipp led Cal with 21 points and Wethers added 16 and seven rebounds. But the Golden Bears, who lost at Arizona State on Thursday, suffered a second straight loss for the first time this season.
"This is definitely frustrating," Shipp said. "We wanted to come down here to Arizona and get two wins and hopefully the Pac-10 lead but we didn't do that. Jason Gardner is a great point guard and led them in transition. Jason runs their team really well."
Frye had 10 points at halftime, but the rest of the Wildcats had trouble getting untracked, shooting just under 37 percent (11-of-30) over the first 20 minutes. But a combination of Arizona's pressure defense and hot 3-point shooting helped extend the margin in the second half.
Gardner finished with seven assists, no turnovers and four steals as he efficiently ran the team.
"Jason Gardner gets seven assists and no turnovers and that's impressive," Cal coach Ben Braun said. "Fans may not notice it, but coaches sure appreciate it."
Cal also hurt itself at the foul line, misfiring on 12-of-21 attempts.
The Golden Bears have lost two straight road games after winning their first four road contests. However, they have lost nine straight straight visits to Tucson.