Can’t duck this: Oregon starts fast, shoots the lights out in big win at Cal

Photo courtesy of Al Sermeno/

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY–Slow starts returned, missed shots never went away, and Cal’s losing streak grew longer on Thursday night.

Oregon was present at Haas Pavilion to benefit from each update, winning 66-53 over Cal to keep their slim hopes of post-season play alive, while the Bears fell for the ninth, consecutive time.

Not surprisingly, the artistry on both sides was dwarfed by sloppy play, highlighted by the combined 33 turnovers posted by the two teams.

Oregon coach Dana Altman didn’t necessarily like what he witnessed, but he appreciated the effort counting in the win column.

“We’ve always had a lot of trouble here,” Altman said. “It’s never been an easy place for us. So we were fortunate to get the win, but we need to play better on Saturday. We need to grow as a team and play smarter.”

The Bears were doomed by their scoreless start to the game, going more than six minutes and trailing 9-0 before Don Coleman broke the slide with his made jumper. They would trail by as many as 15 points before a late run got them within 34-26 at the half.

“We have been really good out of the gate as of late, and today I look up at the score and its 0-9 and we have to try and get back into the game,” coach Wyking Jones said. “We didn’t set a good tone coming out of the gates. I wasn’t happy about that, because I thought we had gotten past that.”

The Bears competitiveness kicked in, just not at the critical junctures. Cal outrebounded the Ducks and forced 17 turnovers, but saw all their hustle undone by missed shots. When the Bears climbed to within 53-47 with 5:36 remaining, the Ducks responded with an 8-0 run to put the game away.

Cal shot just 33 percent from the floor for the game, and missed 13 of their 17 3-point attempts. They also played stretches without post players Marcus Lee and Kingsley Okoroh, who were both saddled with foul trouble.

“When we get the ball inside, we get moving, guys cut to the rim, and we have Marcus and King who are great passers out of the post, so when those guys were in foul trouble, we didn’t have that option,” Jones said.

Freshman Troy Brown led the Ducks with 16 points. Elijah Brown added 15, and MiKyle McIntosh had 13. The Ducks put 22 fewer shots than the Bears, but made them count, shooting 55 percent from the floor with nine made threes.

Cal got 16 points from Don Coleman, and 12 from Justice Sueing. Coleman returned from a two-game suspension for a violation of team rules.

The Bears host Oregon State on Saturday at 5pm.


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