Short Stay In Vegas: Cal can’t keep up with Washington State in 66-59 Pac-12 Tourney loss

By Morris Phillips

Several of the elements Cal needed to extend their stay in Las Vegas were present on Wednesday. The key ingredient–made baskets–was completely absent.

The Bears shot a dreadful 31 percent from the floor, missing 16 3-point attempts, in a 66-59 first round loss to Washington State at the Pac-12 Tournament.

“Offensively we seemed to be out of rhythm and didn’t shoot it well in the first half and so we dug ourselves too big of a hole, eventhough in the second half we played a little bit better,” coach Mark Fox said.

Down the stretch Cal stayed within reach, and cut their deficit to six with 23 seconds remaining, but the Cougars–near perfect from the foul line–held them off.

Efe Abogidi led WSU with 19 points, five rebounds and Tyrell Roberts added 14 as the Cougs advanced to a quarterfinal meeting with UCLA on Thursday.

The Bears (12-20) finished their season with losses in five of their last six contests, and took their 20th loss in the finale. They also saw the college careers of Grant Anticevich and Jordan Shepherd, two of their key contributors, come to a close.

The first half contained enough Cal errors to create the hole Fox eluded to as the visitors shot a chilly 23 percent while allowing the Cougars to expand their lead in the last two minutes. Joel Brown attempted to give the Bears a defensive leader, but he only lasted nine minutes before it became apparent that he should not play any further with his knee that foced him to miss the regular season finale an issue.

Meanwhile, Abogidi with his lengthy arms and quickness seemed to slither around Lars Thiemann for a memorable layup, and leading scorer Michael Flowers put Jalen Celestine on skates with some playground moves.

But WSU wouldn’t pull away as Cal’s edge in rebounding, as well as their deliberate pace kept the high-scoring Cougs from gaining any offensive consistency. With 7:35 remaining Celestine’s layup kept the Bears within range, down 49-41.

“They bothered us with their physicality and they got on the glass, but our zone defense was pretty good and we hit our free throws,” WSU coach Kyle Smith said.

Facing WSU’s zone look, the Bears couldn’t find their offense or get any closer. Anticevich (2 for 12) and Shepherd (6 for 17) finished with subpar numbers and no one else stepped up. Defensively, Abogidi’s quickness put Cal in a predicament as Theimann wasn’t quick enough to defend the 6’8″ forward which necessitated Fox to commit Anticevich to cover him. That ultimately kept the Cal senior from having an impactful evening with his scoring.

The Bears will have a new look in the upcoming season without Shepherd and Anticevich, and with the return of the injured Andre Kelly in question as well. Fox has vowed to extract an offensive leader from the graduate transfer market to lead the Bears in 2022-23.

Cal Bears podcast with Morris Phillips: Cal no match for No.2 Arizona in 89-61 loss; Cal moves onto Pac 12 Tournament Wednesday

Cal Bears Jordan Shepherd led Cal in scoring last Saturday against the Arizona Wildcats with 16 points. Cal will be dependent on Shepherd’s offense as the Bears face the Washington State Cougars Wed Mar 9, 2022 at the Pac 12 Tournament. ( file photo by Sports Illustrated)

On the Cal podcast with Morris:

#1 Anytime you know your going to face the Arizona Wildcats (28-3) you know you have your work cut out for you such was the case in Saturday’s 89-61drilling of the basket by the Wildcats who threw up 62% of their shots from the floor against the Cal Bears (12-19).

#2 The Wildcats didn’t show any ware at all after playing five games in ten days in an almost NBA type schedule the Wildcats have won nine of their last ten games.

#3 But what may have been most impressive was the Cats put up 89 points despite having to deal with Cal’s plodding pace, and a couple of impressive, but short-lived stretches of play by the Bears.

#4 Oumar Ballo, the transfer from No. 1 Gonzaga, led the Cats with 16 points on 7 for 7 shooting from the floor. Ballo was the biggest piece of Arizona’s octet of reserves that combined to shoot 18 of 24 from the floor and 7 for 7 from the foul line.

#5 Next up for Cal the Washington State Cougars (18-13) to open the Pac 12 Tournament who have won five of their last six games and also defeated the Oregon Ducks (18-13) by 20, 94-74 at Washington State on Saturday. This will be game one for Cal at the Pac 12 Tournament on Wednesday.

Join Morris Phillips for the Cal Bears podcasts Mondays at

Piling Up The Points: Pac-12 champion Arizona looks NCAA Tournament-ready in 89-61 pasting of Cal

By Morris Phillips

Are the Arizona Wildcats the favorite to cut down the nets and win their second National Championship?

If the Cal Bears wanted to be the voice of dissent regarding UA’s chances, they unearthed very little evidence on Saturday afternoon.

No. 2 Arizona (28-3, 18-2) looked the part, shooting a sizzling 62 percent from the floor in dispatching Cal, 89-61 at the McKale Center in Tucson. It didn’t matter that Arizona was playing its fifth game in 10 days, or that they had little to play for after clinching the Pac-12 regular season title on Tuesday at USC.

But what may have most impressive was the Cats put up 89 points despite having to deal with Cal’s plodding pace, and a couple of impressive, but short-lived stretches of play by the Bears.

How’s that possible? Make shots, and Arizona did that in bunches.

Oumar Ballo, the transfer from No. 1 Gonzaga, led the Cats with 16 points on 7 for 7 shooting from the floor. Ballo was the biggest piece of Arizona’s octet of reserves that combined to shoot 18 of 24 from the floor and 7 for 7 from the foul line.

Those bench contributions were the biggest indicator of the hosts’ ability to impose their will. The team picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12 before the season literarily outplayed expectations down to their 13th man. Coach Tommy Lloyd, who denied any celebrations prior to Saturday’s final buzzer couldn’t hold back his praise.

“These dudes are unbelievable,” Lloyd said. “What they gave me this year has inspired me to coach forever. They practice their ass off every day and they handle me being on them. It’s such a special group to be around.”

Cal was competitive for the game’s first six minutes, then a 9-0 run for Arizona gave evidence that the visitors were in for a rough ride. The Cats extended their lead to 36-17 on Christian Koloko’s layup with 4:21 remaining at which point the Bears settled in with a 14-4 run to end the half that had them within range, down 40-31 at the half.

But the second half saw Arizona shoot 65 percent and their crowd grow more jubilant with each made basket. Despite their starters playing sparingly UA led by 31 before winning by 28.

“We got a little fatigued and made some costly errors there in the second half defensively,” coach Mark Fox said. “Against a team with as much talent as they have, you cannot afford to do that.”

Jordan Shepherd led Cal (12-19, 5-15) with 16 points. Lars Thiemann had 12 points, five rebounds and Makale Foreman added 11. Thiemann was able to go despite being a gametime decision due to an injury, but starting guard Joel Brown was scratched due to a knee injury.

Cal opens the Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday with their opponent to be determined after action concludes on Saturday night, with the Washington Huskies as the most likely opponent in a 7 versus 10 matchup.

Stanford Cardinal podcast with Daniel Dullum: Stanford good first half, lose second half to Arizona 81-69 in Tucson

Stanford forward Spencer Jones (14) drives on Arizona guard Pelle Larsson at the McKale Memorial Center in Tucson on Thu Mar 3, 2022 (AP News photo)

On the Stanford podcast with Daniel:

1 Despite a gallant effort, Stanford bounced back from a horrendous game against Cal and played at least one good half against Arizona.

2 What was working for the Cardinal in the first half, and where did it go south in the second half?

3 How are Stanford’s chances to pick up a win on Saturday against Arizona State to end the regular season on a positive note?

4 What do Stanford’s chances for postseason men’s basketball look like?

5 Meanwhile, Teri Vanderveer just received Pac-12 women’s basketball coach of the year for the 17th time, as the Cardinal women are primed for an extended tournament run.

Catch Daniel for the Stanford podcasts each Friday at

Cal Bears basketball podcast with Michael Duca: Cal opens two game road trip at ASU tonight to close out regular season

The Cal Bears Grant Anticevich makes his way up the floor against the Stanford Cardinal on Sat Feb 26, 2022 at Haas Pavilion (photo by Cal Bears twitter)

Cal Bears basketball podcast with Miguel:

#1 Michael, the Cal Bears (12-17) kept the Stanford Cardinal (15-13) in check in their last game last Saturday holding the Cardinal to only 39 points which would you allude it to, the Cardinal shooting was just simply off or the Bears defense was all over Stanford?

#2  Winning after a lengthy streak of rough results didn’t deter the Golden Bears. Instead it strengthened them, according to coach Mark Fox.

#3 The ball was constantly going to Cal’s Jordan Shepherd who scored a team leading 28 points no other Cal player got into double figures.

#4 In the second half the Cardinal tried to make a valiant effort outscoring the Bears 27-18 but that comes off a first half where the Cardinal scored only 12 points.

#5 The action continues at ASU (12-16) tonight. The Sun Devils just got by the Utah Utes last Sat Feb 26th at Utah 63-61. The Sun Devils are on a roll they have won five of their last six games. How do you see Cal and ASU as they match up on tonight.

Join Michael for the Cal Bears podcasts Thursdays at

Cal Bears basketball podcast with Morris Phillips: How big was Cal’s win for morale over Stanford on Saturday?

The Cal Bears Joel Brown (1) gets up on the Stanford Cardinal Spencer Jones (left) at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley on Sat Feb 27, 2022 (photo by the Santa Cruz Sentinel)

On the Cal Bears podcast with Morris:

#1 Cal (12-17) got a Big Game win over the Stanford Cardinal (15-13) 53-39 in the lowest scoring game of the season for the Cardinal. Was it a matter of Cal’s defense was on or Stanford’s shooting was just off?

#2 Morris, it’s like you wrote in your game recap on Saturday it was a cold night outside in Berkeley and the game for Stanford was like they had to stay outside in their uniforms and warm ups on offense they just froze.

#3 Winning after a lengthy streak of rough results didn’t deter the Golden Bears. Instead it strengthened them, according to coach Mark Fox.

#4 Cal’s Jordan Shepherd led with 28 points no other player got into double figures for Cal but his 28 held up and then some.

#5 Up next the Cal Bears are at Arizona State (12-16) this Thu Mar 3, the Bears are coming off a win against the Cardinal could you see then keeping the momentum going at ASU.

Join Morris for the Cal Bears podcasts through the Pac 12 Tournament which starts Mar 9th at

East Bay Cold Snap: Cal greets Stanford with a chilly reception in 53-39 win

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–Cold? Yes, Stanford’s offense at Haas Pavilion on Saturday evening was quite chilly, almost as if the visitors from Palo Alto were stranded outside the building and forced to watch the sunset on a winter night wearing just their uniforms and warm-ups.

That description best mirrors the Cardinal’s evening as they were frozen in place during Cal’s 19-0 run, and limited to 12 points before halftime. Bolstered by a 23-point lead at the break, Cal cruised, winning 53-39 to extinguish their seven-game home losing streak, while gaining a measure of satisfaction against their biggest rival.

Winning after a lengthy streak of rough results didn’t deter the Golden Bears. Instead it strengthened them, according to coach Mark Fox.

“They really haven’t had their confidence shaken,” Fox said. “For the most part they’ve been resilient and regrouped.”

“We just performed at the level we know we’re capable of and moving forward if we can do that consistently we won’t have any problems,” Grant Anticevich said. “I don’t think we played out of character at all.”

The Bears’ 53 percent shooting in the first half carried them as did Jordan Shepherd, who put up 28 points on 11 for 16 shooting. In a game that ultimately will be remembered for missed shots from both teams, Cal’s first half and Shepherd’s bounce back performance were all it took. Shepherd suffered with his injured hand in Cal’s previous contests against Colorado and Utah, failing to score in double-digits both times. But a week without games, and rest, got the graduate transfer back on point.

“Offensively, I thought we got the shots we were looking for,” Fox said. “It’s a terrific win (with a) great environment, terrific fans and a super energy in the building. It was really good for our seniors to finish their home careers this way.”

No other Bears scored more than six points, but the team tallied 12 assists on 22 made baskets, proof that the ball was moving and the offense was executed. An eight minute scoreless drought in the second half didn’t short circuit Cal as their defensive effort maintained consistency. As a result Stanford never mounted a credible response on a night they shot 23.5 percent while losing for the fifth time in six games.

Logan Alters was honored with a starting lineup nod on Senior Night for Cal, and several familiar faces dotted the crowd of more than 8,000.

Jason Kidd, Jerome Randle, Sean Lampley, Theo Robertson and Markhuri Sanders-Frison were among the basketball alumni in attendance. Kidd was in town in advance of his NBA Mavericks playing the Warriors on Sunday, and Randle came to the Bay Area directly from war-consumed Ukraine where he plays professionally.

The Bears conclude their regular season in Arizona with the rematch with ASU up first in Tempe on Thursday at 5:00pm.

Stanford Cardinal podcast with Daniel Dullum: Cardinal close out regular season with Cal in Berkeley on Saturday night

Stanford forward James Keefe (22) puts the defensive pressure on Colorado forward Evan Battey (21) at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto on Sat Feb 19, 2022. The Cardinal travel to UC Berkeley to face the Cal Bears on Sat Feb 26, 2022 (AP News photo)

On the Stanford Cardinal podcast with Daniel Dullum:

#1 The Stanford Cardinal (15-12) have lost five of their last seven games and lost their last game by a landslide last Saturday 70-53 at home against the Colorado Buffaloes (18-9).

#2 For the Buffaloes Evan Battey led with 15 points to help win their fifth consecutive game.

#3  Battey was followed by Nique Clifford with 14 points and seven rebounds. Keeshawn Bartelemy, Jabari Walker and K.J. Simpson each added 10 points for Colorado.

#4 Jaiden Delaire led the Cardinal scoring on Senior Night, netting 12 points on 5 of 7 field goals, including 1 of 2 from 3-point range.

#5 The Cardinal head to Haas Pavilion for their Big Game match up with the Cal Bears (11-17) the Bears who had lost ten straight games then won at Oregon and Oregon State then dropped games to the Buffaloes and the Utah Utes will to close the regular season with the Cardinal this Saturday night at Cal for a 5:30 tip.

Join Daniel for coverage during the Pac 12 Tournament at

Cal Bears podcast with Michael Duca: Cal squares off against Stanford Saturday for last home game of season

Utah guard Gabe Madsen (55) drives to the basket against California guard Jordan Shepherd (31) at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley on Sat Feb 19, 2022. Cal concludes their regular home season against the Stanford Cardinal Sat Feb 26, 2022 at UC Berkeley (AP News photo)

On the Cal Bears podcast with Michael:

#1 Michael, the Cal Bears (11-17) struggled throughout much of their game against the Utah Utes (11-16) on Saturday but towards the end of the game Cal cut the Utes lead to two but the Utes were able to defend and hang on for the 60-58 win.

#2 The Utes didn’t have a field goal in six minutes but were still able to keep the lead right there did the Bears just fail to execute and take advantage?

#3 Cal got close twice coming within two points the first time was with 19 seconds left in the game and the Utes Lazar Stefanovic hit a pair of free throws before the Bears Jalen Celestine canned a three with five seconds remaining and Utah escaped.

#4 The Bears missed eight of their last 10 shots, and went more than four minutes without a field goal before Celestine’s three pointer in the final seconds. 

#5 The Stanford Cardinal (15-12) are next for the Bears they have lost five of their last seven games and lost their last game to the Colorado Buffaloes (18-9) 70-53. The Cardinal have been hurting on scoring Michael how do you see Stanford at Cal this Saturday night at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley?

Join Michael for the Cal Bears podcasts each Thursday at

Utah Nips Cal: Bears rally falls short in aggravating 60-58 loss

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–The general rule of thumb is when a Pac-12 opponent is trying to give you something, take it.

But on Saturday afternoon at Haas Pavilion, Utah kept giving and host Bears were slow to take, in a frustrating 60-58 loss.

The Utes survived despite going without a made field goal for six-and-half minutes in the second half and losing leading scorer Branden Carlson to injury. Cal got within two points twice, the first with 19 seconds remaining. But Lazar Stefanovic hit a pair of free throws before Jalen Celestine canned a three with five seconds remaining and Utah escaped.

The Bears missed eight of their last 10 shots, and went more than four minutes without a field goal before Celestine’s 3 in the final seconds. Cal shot just 39 percent from the floor, and missed nine of their 11 3-point attempts after halftime when they needed at least one big shot to draw them closer.

“At the end of the night we’ll look back and realize the consequences of some little mistakes throughout the game were great,” coach Mark Fox said. “We had some little mistakes that you look back that were just back-breaking in a two-point loss.”

Marco Anthony led Utah with 13 points, four rebounds and four assists.

“This season, leading up until now, we’ve been on that other side and there’s been some obstacles,” Anthony said. “But now we’re getting over that hump.”

Lars Thiemann led Cal with 16 points, and Kuany Kuany added 10, but they were the only two Bears to make more than half of their attempted shots.

Jordan Shepherd, who scored 33 in the win at Oregon, had 10 against the Utes and was limited by a hand injury suffered in that previous game. Shepard played 34 minutes Saturday but had just two made baskets. Fox touched on Cal’s limitations in playing without Andre Kelly, their leading scorer who has missed the last seven games with a season-ending ankle injury.

“The issue for us, when Lars goes out, we get small really fast,” Fox said.

Utah and Cal have amazing parallels starting with their 10-game losing streaks. Both teams broke their streaks by beating Oregon State less than a week apart, and have gone on to now record road sweeps with Cal winning twice in Oregon last week and Utah beating Stanford and now Cal this week.

Both teams are 4-13 in league play and tied for 10th place after Saturday’s contest. Each will have three more opportunities to come up with a fifth Pac-12 win or more. For Cal, their best shot at another conference victory comes this Saturday against visiting Stanford.