By Morris Phillips
If awful shooting at Washington State didn’t get the job done, even worse marksmanship at Washington wasn’t going to cut it either.
Call it Cal’s easily forgotten weekend in the Northwest, one that almost assures that the Bears will finish the Pac-12 regular season in last place.
The Bears fell 62-51 to UW Saturday night, shooting a season-worst 27 percent from the floor, two nights after they shot 36 percent in a 31-point loss at Washington State. After fighting back to trail just 45-42 with 9:07 remaining, the Bears failed to make a basket over the game’s final eight minutes.
“When we got back initially, we didn’t have the poise to seize the moment,” coach Mark Fox said. “You can’t miss 10 or 11 free throws, the shots on the floor, and win on the road.”
Quade Green led the Huskies with 17 points, and Jamal Bey added 15 as the Huskies celebrated senior night with a pre-game ceremony and by welcoming fans into Hec Edmondson Pavilion for the first time this season. Governor Jay Inslee’s “Healthy Washington” edict just announced on Friday allowed 200 family members and friends of the UW program to provide a vocal presence at one of nation’s oldest on-campus arenas.
The Huskies (5-17, 4-13) had dropped four, consecutive home games. They also lost to Cal in Berkeley, 84-78 on February 9.
“Our defense was better tonight against them,” Washington coach Mike Hopkins said. “I thought there was some really good post defense. We did a good job on their 3-point shooters, knowing where they were, taking away their space.”
What Hopkins’ described in positive terms for his Huskies, was characterized more negatively by Fox. While the Bears’ coach liked his team’s movement on offense and play execution, the shots didn’t fall. Shaking up the starting lineup seemed to motivate Grant Anticevich and Andre Kelly, who came off the bench. But the play execution and motivational tactics couldn’t keep Cal in the game.
“I thought Andre really responded well, gave us a double-double,” Fox said. “I thought he answered the bell. I thought Grant was more active tonight.”
Matt Bradley led Cal again with 13 points, but he missed 13 of his 16 shots. Anticevich missed 11 of 15, Ryan Betley and Makale Foreman both missed four of five.
Joel Brown was a late scratch for Cal due to swelling in his Achilles.
The Bears were even at 10, but then they trailed 24-14. They would go on to trail for the game’s final 29 minutes, and by as much as 14 (42-28).
The ensuing 14-3 run for Cal was as good as it would get… all weekend.
The Bears (8-17, 3-15) return to Haas on Thursday to face Oregon State. They’ll see Oregon on Saturday. Both games start at 7pm.