By Morris Phillips
The uncertainty of which players would be available for Cal’s visit to Washington State was quickly replaced by the certainty of the outcome, an 82-51 runaway victory for the host Cougars.
Noah Williams led WSU with 32 points in the absence of Isaac Bonton, the Cougars leading scorer who was a gametime decision but sat out his second consecutive game with an ankle injury. Williams, the team’s second leading scorer, added nine rebounds and seven assists in just 31 minutes of floor time.
Cal trailed 21-10 with 9:38 remaining before halftime and never recovered. The Bears shot 36 percent from the field, and trailed 48-26 at halftime. The 31-point loss marked their biggest margin of defeat this season, one game after they registered their biggest win, an upset at home of NCAA Tournament hopeful Colorado.
Matt Bradley–in an unexpected lineup change–came off the bench and led Cal in scoring with 16 points. Ryan Betley replaced Bradley in the starting lineup but scored just six points in 28 minutes, missing five of his seven 3-point attempts. Andre Kelly had 10 points, five rebounds.
The Bears afforded WSU way to many scoring opportunities by being outrebounded 39-26, and committing 11 turnovers to the Cougars seven.
Not that Washington State (13-10, 6-10) needed any additional help from Cal. WSU shot 52 percent for the game, making 12 threes in the process as Cal’s defense, especially on the perimeter, was severely lacking.
WSU coach Kyle Smith spoke in the leadup to the game about Cal’s recent competitiveness, as well as a rough stretch for his Cougars, which has them playing five games in nine days. But in the end, none of Smith’s fears were realized.
Cal (3-14, 8-16) continues its northwest road swing on Saturday in Seattle against Washington, which lost to Cal earlier this season in Berkeley, and were beaten soundly by Stanford on Thursday night.