By Morris Phillips
Cal’s high point was also the beginning of the end for the Bears on Wednesday at Oregon’s Matthew Knight Arena.
A 7-0 run capped by Justice Sueing’s three-point play gave the Bears a 15-13 lead with 9:32 remaining in the first half. It would be the final lead for the Bears on the evening, one they would have two opportunities to extend. But like Cal’s two previous, early leads, the Duck responded with a 3-pointer to regain an advantage.
This time–after Payton Pritchard’s 3-pointer– the Ducks took off.
A 17-2 Oregon run put Cal in a double-digit hole at the half. And Oregon methodically maintained their advantage after the break in a 73-62 win.
The Ducks shot 65 percent from the floor after the break, on their way to becoming the 14th Cal opponent to shoot better than 50 percent from the floor. And while lack of defense was Cal’s biggest issue, it wasn’t their only one.
The Bears got outrebounded 33-23, and while they got to the foul line, and converted (16 of 19), that wasn’t nearly enough to overcome horrid 39 percent shooting from the floor.
The result? Another loss, just not one stuffed with embarrassment. The Bears never let the Ducks run away, but they never caught up either, trailing for the game’s final 30 minutes. Now with an 0-10 record in conference play, the Bears must remain vigilant or confront being the first Pac-12 team to go winless in league play since Oregon State in 2008, a year before Utah and Colorado joined the conference.
Without looking ahead, the Bears don’t want to look back either: they’ve dropped 13 consecutive, conference road games and 18 overall dating back to last season.
Pritchard paced Oregon with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and three other starters scored in double figures led by Louis King with 12.
“I liked our pace in this game,” Pritchard said. “Defensively, we got some steals to easy looks. We were running it up. Guys were attacking in the seams and it allowed everyone else to get open.”
Justice Sueing led Cal with 17 points, and Paris Austin and Connor Vanover added 12 each.
The Bears continue their Northwest swing on Saturday at Oregon State with the tipoff at 2:30 pm.