Jabari Bird scored 19 points, David Kravish had 13 points and eight rebounds and California beat Arkansas 75-64 on Monday night to advance to the third round of the NIT.
Tyrone Wallace added 16 points for the Golden Bears (21-13), who play top-seeded SMU on Wednesday.
California (21-13) led by 24 with 12:30 remaining before a late flurry by the Razorbacks trimmed the gap to single digits in the final minute following a three-point play by Rashad Madden.
Wallace, who struggled with his shot in the second half, made four free throws and Justin Cobbs added two down the stretch to help the Bears advance to the quarterfinals of the NIT for the first time since 2000.
Madden had 15 points while Bobby Portis added 12 points and 10 rebounds for Arkansas (22-12).