Too much, too many shooters: No. 11 Oregon blows past Cal, 86-63

January 20, 2017

NCAA

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By Morris Phillips

Cal’s current situation is this: the opponents the Bears really need to beat, are indeed really good, as exhibited by the host Oregon Ducks on Thursday evening.

The Bears fell to 0-4 against the four, highest-rated opponents on their regular season schedule after Oregon cruised to a 86-63 victory, their 15th straight win tying a school record set 104 years ago.

As if to celebrate the occasion, the Ducks put on a shooting display that would have caused Dr. Robert Naismith to alter the shooting dimensions of his emerging game way back in 1913.  Oregon shot 58 percent from the field, including 11 made threes, the most Cal had allowed in almost two years.

But shooting was just the byproduct of the Ducks’ stifling defense, and then their unselfishness ball distribution on the offensive end. Oregon blocked 10 shots and forced 20 Cal turnovers, which led to their balanced offensive attack, where they compiled 19 assists on their 29 made baskets.

With those sparkling numbers it seemed inconsequential that Cal’s leading scorer, Ivan Rabb missed his first eight shots and finished with just four points. With Rabb struggling, and Oregon’s crisp play, the game was decided early. The Ducks led by 14 points at the half, then maintained a double-digit lead for all but one minute of the second half.

“With the threes we got a little momentum going there in the first half,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “We played pretty well.”

Only an injury suffered by preseason All-American Dillon Brooks before halftime took away from the victory.  Brooks suffered a lower leg injury and missed the second half. The fear being that Brooks may have reinjured his leg that forced him to miss the season’s first two games.

Cal was led by Jabari Bird with 21 points. Charlie Moore was Cal’s only other double-digit scorer with 10 points, six rebounds, five assists, but the Ducks harassed the freshman into six turnovers.

Oregon got 26 points from big guy Jordan Bell, the recipient of the Ducks’ ball movement.  Tyler Dorsey had 16, and Casey Benson contributed 15.

The loss ended Cal’s modest three game win streak, while Oregon extended its home streak to 37 games, also a school record.

The Bears will need to beat Arizona, UCLA or Oregon to catch the attention of the NCAA tournament committee along with beating lesser opponents remaining on their schedule.  But those opportunities are dwindling.  The Bears don’t see UCLA again, unless it’s in the conference tournament, while they have a trip to Arizona on February 11,  and Oregon visits Berkeley February 22.

The Bears play in Corvallis against struggling Oregon State on Saturday.

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