PALO ALTO, California (Ticker) -- A pair of scoring droughts for 20th-ranked California helped No. 17 Stanford rise to a 72-60 victory in the Pac-10 Conference finale for both Bay Area rivals.
Stanford (23-7, 14-4 Pac-10) earned the second seed in the conference tournament while California (20-7, 13-5) slipped to third place.
"Cal finishing second was important to us, and we did that," Stanford coach Mike Montgomery said. "They're a very good basketball team. ... They're strong, they're aggressive, they're tough."
The Golden Bears suffered their third loss in five games to close the regular season but did not view the late skid with alarm.
"I don't think this team is going to bury its head in the sand and not show up in practice," California coach Ben Braun said. "I think our team will bounce back, so by no means are we brimming over this loss. We are down and we should feel down about the game but shouldn't feel down about our chances moving forward."
The Golden Bears all but sealed their fate when they went nearly eight minutes between baskets late in the first half.
By the time Brian Wethers made a layup with 38 seconds left before halftime, Stanford used a 14-4 run to take a 37-21 lead. Wethers' shot and freshman Richard Midgley's 3-pointer 31 seconds later brought California within 37-26 at intermission.
"We didn't shoot too well," Midgley said. "Most of the guys weren't hitting the shots we usually hit."
The Golden Bears clawed away and got back to 52-48 with 8:24 left in the second half on a 3-pointer by Wethers. But the Cardinal went on a 10-0 run and California did not score again until Joe Shipp's layup with 3:35 left made it 62-50.
Wethers led the Golden Bears with 16 points and Shipp had 14, but they combined to make just 9-of-27 shots and were part of a California attack that shot 33 percent (19-of-57).
"We didn't get the ball where we wanted to and settled for a lot of things," Wethers said. "We didn't pound it down low like we wanted to. We beat ourselves. They played good `D,' but we beat ourselves."
Among Cal's all-time leading scorers, Shipp remained sixth, 15 points behind Leonard Taylor. Wethers moved from 19th place into a tie with Gene Ransom for 16th, passing John Coughran and Chris Washington.
Josh Childress led the Cardinal with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Matt Lottich made four 3-pointers and scored 14 points.
Stanford has dominated Cal at Maples Pavilion, winning each of the last 10 meetings.
"The floor is a little bouncy," Wethers said. "Other than that, we're used to the crowd and we just didn't play well."
With eight points, Stanford senior Julius Barnes fell six short of scoring his 1,000th career point in his final home game.
"Not a great individual performance, but you couldn't ask for more from this team tonight," Barnes said. "It's great to play against them on our home court."
The Cardinal have won seven of their last eight games, with the only loss coming last week to top-ranked Arizona. Stanford has won 10 of 11 home games since losing to Stanford on December 17.
"We didn't really have any rough spots," Montgomery said. "That keeps coming up, like you're perfect and you're not going to lose to anybody. That's not the case in basketball. We were a young team that needed to learn how to play. We need to learn how to play hard every night and compete physically. If you lose a game and that's a rough spot, so be it. But we're pretty doggone good."
Senior guard Olatunde Sobomehin got into the game in the final seconds but missed his only shot in his home finale.
Cal and Stanford last played for second place in the conference in the final week of the 1935 season, with the Bears earning a 50-43 win.