BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) Sean Miller wanted the ball in Gabe York's hands to make a hard drive to the basket with a chance at the game-winning shot or a foul.
California defended it all.
York dribbled off his foot to delay Arizona's final chance before going to the basket and missing a contested shot in the waning seconds, and Cal held on behind hot-shooting Jordan Mathews to beat No. 12 Arizona 74-73 on Saturday night.
''You want him to make a hard drive, and he did. He got a shot off,'' Miller said. ''You always hope that a foul happens. It didn't. Then you want a second shot. We were right there to get one, but you know what, they defended it.''
Mathews converted an off-balance layin under pressure with 1:13 to play and finished with a season-best 28 points.
California (14-6, 4-3 Pac-12) improved to 13-0 at Haas Pavilion, where students in the sellout crowd of 11,858 rushed the court after the final buzzer.
''Great win for our program,'' second-year Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said. ''Probably the best offensive team that we've faced this far.''
York's 3-pointer with 54.6 seconds left pulled Arizona (16-4, 4-3) within two. Kadeem Allen's layup the next time down tied it at 73 with 39.3 seconds to play.
Cal's Jaylen Brown made the second of two free throws with 18.4 seconds left, leaving Arizona one last chance to win it. But the Wildcats failed to give Miller his 300th career victory in his first try.
Mathews knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers from nearly the same baseline spot early in the second half as Cal built a 51-42 lead.
Mathews matched his career high with six 3s and moved into fifth on the school's career list with 168. He shot 10 for 17 overall and 6 of 12 from long range in 30 minutes off the bench - a new role he has embraced.
''I knew I was hot on the second one from the corner in the second half,'' he said. ''After the second one I started to feel it a little bit.''
The first sellout of the season made for a rocking atmosphere in a matchup of two teams expected to challenge for a conference title. The first 11,000 received gold T-shirts for Cal's ''Gold Out Game.''
Brown finished with 15 points after a slow start. He also had seven assists and two powerful blocks.
York finished with 15 points and six rebounds. Ryan Anderson had 14 points and nine boards for the Wildcats, who shot 50.9 percent but couldn't hold a 37-35 halftime lead.
Arizona committed five turnovers in the first 3:28 of the second half as Cal opened on an 8-0 run, prompting Miller to say afterward, ''the first four minutes of the second half was about as bad as we can play.''
York's made 3 with 16:05 left didn't count because it went in after a shot clock violation, and the call held up after Miller called for a review.
''Winning on the road, winning in a game like tonight, winning with the crowd they had, we would have had to play a terrific game,'' Miller said. ''We played a good game but we needed to play better.''
Cal snapped a four-game losing streak to Arizona, including three last season. This was the Golden Bears' first victory in the series since surprising then-No. 1 Arizona on Feb. 1, 2014, in Berkeley.
The Bears won in their second game without senior leading scorer Tyrone Wallace, who broke a bone in his right hand last weekend and will be sidelined for up to six weeks.
Sixteen NBA scouts or executives had name tags on press row.
Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin chatted with four-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Missy Franklin before the game courtside. Franklin swam two seasons for Cal and she was recognized at halftime for winning the Honda Cup as the top female college athlete.
Arizona: Broadcaster Dave Pasch was going to try to get straight from Berkeley through the blizzard to North Carolina to call the Cardinals' NFC championship game Sunday against the Panthers.
California: C Kingsley Okoroh picked up his fourth foul 13 seconds into the second half. ... Cal had already topped its home win total from last season of 11-7 and is chasing its best finish on Pete Newell Court since going 17-1 in 2001-02 and 2011-12.
Arizona: Host Oregon on Thursday.
California: At Utah on Wednesday.