BERKELEY, California (Ticker) -- California needed every point from its high-scoring trio to keep its best start in over 40 years alive.
Joe Shipp scored 20 points, Brian Wethers added 16 and Amit Tamir had 14 as the 23rd-ranked Bears held off Washington State, 63-53, running their home winning streak to 15 games.
The trio came in averaging 53.2 points per game, tops in the Pac-10 Conference, and California (17-4, 10-2) needed every basket as Washington State (5-16, 0-12) tried to rally.
Only Wethers shot above 50 percent, making 7-of-11 shots. Tamir and Shipp combined to shoot 14-of-30 as the Bears shot 42 percent (23-of-55) and had to sweat out their latest win.
Despite all three being held below their scoring averages, they have reached double figures in at least 18 games, including 27 in a row by Shipp, who is a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Week and came in averaging 22.9 points in league play.
Coming into Thursday's game, the trio accounted for 69.2 percent of the Bears' points. In this one, their output was 79 percent.
The only trio in school history to approach the group was in 1993-94, when Monty Buckley, Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray provided 67.8 percent of the Bears' offense.
The Cougars had dropped their first 11 league games by an average of 16 points but never trailed by more than 11.
They had a chance in this one due to poor free throw shooting by the Bears, who were 7-of-15 from the line before making six straight in final two minutes. Shipp, an 82 percent foul shooter, made just 5-of-10 from the line.
Cal withstood a 15-6 run by Washington State, which got within 54-53 at the 2:12 mark following a 3-pointer by Cedrick Hughey, but that was its final basket.
Tamir drilled a clutch 3-pointer with 1:41 to go, and Wethers stole an inbounds pass, grabbed the rebound and sank two foul shots with 36.2 seconds to play.
California remained a half game behind first-place Arizona but is off to its best 21-game start since the 1959-60 team team opened 20-1.
Thomas Kelati was the only Cougar in double figures. He scored nine of his 12 points in the second half and eight during the spurt that nearly gave them the lead.
Washington State also shot 41 percent (21-of-51) and went to the foul line just six times en route to its eighth straight defeat in Berkeley.