Lopsided second half says it all as Cal drops its fourth straight to Washington State in 78-53 loss

Photo courtesy of Al Sermon/klcfotos.com

By Morris Phillips

The second half of Saturday’s California-Washington State game couldn’t have provided a greater contrast.

Washington State’s high volume turnover factory closed early, the Cougars shared the basketball beautifully, struggling Robert Franks caught on fire, and the smallish home crowd in Pullman sounded like a crowd.

At the same time, Cal wilted, displaying competitiveness akin to an off-season workout. But it wasn’t: the meeting of the two teams anchored to the bottom of the Pac-12 standings was instead was a critical moment, the Bears occasion to right their ship after three lopsided defeats. In the 20 minutes after the half, the Bears appeared almost disinterested.

Given the contrast, Coach Wyking Jones admitted he was bewildered.

“I’m just wondering which team is going to show up,” Jones said of his Bears. “There’s a team that battles and competes and executes and follows the game plan, and there’s the team that looks like this.”

After trailing 30-25 at halftime, Cal simply let this one get away. The Cougars outscored Cal by 20 in the second half and they registered an easy 78-53 win, WSU’s first in conference play after starting 0-4.

Meanwhile, Cal’s dropped four straight, all by double-digits, erasing any momentum built in their stirring comeback win at Stanford in the Pac-12 opener. The Bears scored just 53 points while totaling just six assists, both season lows.

Franks hit seven of his school-record 10 3-pointers in the second half, including three in less than 90 seconds as WSU increased their lead to 48-36 with 14:15 remaining. In all, the junior forward put up 25 of his career-best 34 points after halftime, capped off by a team statistician-mandated capper with 43 seconds remaining to set the record.

Franks’ breakout came after his self-admitted poor game against Stanford. That gave Jones another reason to be irked with his team.

“Somebody has to step up and say: ‘He’s not going to get five, six, seven, eight,” said Jones.

Justice Sueing led Cal with 14 points, well off his 27 against Washington on Thursday. Sueing played with great restraint against the Huskies. On Saturday, he appeared rushed, committing five of Cal’s 14 turnovers.

After 22 turnovers against Stanford, 23 against Washington, and 10 in the first half against Cal, the Cougars had just five turnovers in the second half.

“I thought we did a much better job of taking care of the ball and the big reason for that is not over-dribbling,” WSU coach Ernie Kent said. “This is a passing system, not a dribbling system.”

Cal returns home to face conference co-leaders Arizona on Wednesday at 6 pm PT. The No. 17 Wildcats are tied atop the standings with Stanford, winners of four straight.

Dorian Pickens notches career-high 28 points as Cardinal hold on for 79-70 win over Washington State

Photo credit: GoStanford.com

By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Thursday, January 11, 2018

Dorian Pickens had a career-high 28 points–including a key three-pointer–with 1:16 remaining in the second half, helping Stanford to a 79-70 win at Washington State in a Pac-12 men’s basketball matchup in Pullman, Washington, on Thursday night.

Pickens scored a career-high 28 points for the Cardinal (9-8 overall, 3-1 Pac-12), including 7-of-10 three-pointers. Freshman Kezie Okpala contributed a career-high 21 points and Daejon Davis was 6-of-7 on field goals while adding 15 points for Stanford.

Washington State (8-8 overall, 0-4 Pac-12) had a 55-47 lead when Stanford’s Reid Travis drew a hard foul from the Cougars’ Kwinton Hinson. Both players were separated by teammates, and the Cardinal responded with a nine-minute, 57 second 21-3 run to take a 68-58 lead with 6:26 remaining.

WSU cut its deficit to three points twice, but Pickens hit a pair of 3s as Stanford was able to hold on for its third consecutive victory.

The Cougars were hot out of the gate, making 11 of its first 12 shots, including four three-pointers. Pickens kept the Cardinal close, hitting 22 first-half points on 8-of-9 floor shooting. Pickens gave the Cardinal a two-point lead on a pair of threes before Washington State’s Malachi Flynn closed out the first half with three three-pointers. WSU led 45-38 at the half.

Flynn scored 24 points–along with seven threes–to lead the Cougars. Milan Acquaah was next for WSU with eight points, while Drick Bernstine added eight points and 12 rebounds. Robert Franks, the Cougars’ leading scorer at 17.3 per game, was held to eight points and committed six of Washington State’s 22 turnovers.

Travis, the Pac-12’s third-leading scorer coming into the weekend at 21.3 points per game, was held to six points and six rebounds.

The Cardinal’s road trip continues Saturday, when Stanford visits Washington for a 5 p.m. contest.

Stanford Cardinal Men’s Basketball Podcast with Alexandra Evans: Stanford opens up two game road trip with WSU tonight

Photo credit: @StanfordMBB

On the Stanford Cardinal Podcast with Alexandra:

1 Looking at last week’s Stanford (8-8) results the Cardinal getting surprise wins over UCLA (12-4) and USC (12-6). The game last week against UCLA was called the best game of the season for the Cardinal.

2 In the USC game, the Trojans came out dominating as four players finished the first half in double figures and it would look like the Trojans would be controlling this game throughout.

3 In the second half, the Cardinal came alive with a strong defense, holding the Trojans to just 30 points in the second half.

4 In that second half, the Cardinal’s Reid Travis scored 29 points, 10 boards, and a double-double.

5 Stanford’s on the road for two games starting tonight at Pullman. Alexandra talks about tonight’s match up with Washington State (8-7).

Alexandra podcasts Stanford basketball each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com




Washington State edges Cardinal in the snow 24-21

Photo credit: @18dMedia

By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Saturday, November 4, 2017

Washington State effectively bottled up the injured Bryce Love, then pushed across a go-ahead touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, as the No. 25 Cougars stunned the visiting No. 18 Cardinal 24-21 Saturday in Pac-12 football at snowy Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash.

With the victory, the Cougars (8-2 overall, 5-2 Pac-12) stayed in the Pac-12 North race. The Cardinal (6-3, 5-2) had not played in the snow since 1936, in a game against Columbia in New York.

The snow started falling heavily at the end of the first quarter.

The Cougars’ 94-yard winning drive was capped by an 11-yard touchdown pass from Luke Falk to Jamire Calvin with 6:56 remaining in the game.

Falk needed 132 passing yards to break the Pac-12 career record of 13,600 established by Sean Mannion of Oregon State. Falk was 34 of 48 passing for 337 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He needs three more touchdown passes to become the conference’s all-time leader in that category.

Cardinal quarterback K.J. Costello took advantage of a fortuitous bounce when he fumbled a snap. The ball bounced back into his hands, and Costello ran for a 14-yard touchdown pulling Stanford to within 17-14 in the third quarter.

On the Cougars’ next possession, Falk’s pass on fourth-and-one from midfield was intercepted by Bobby Okereke, who returned the pick 52 yards for a Stanford touchdown, giving the Cardinal a 21-17 lead.

After WSU regained the lead and chewed up three minutes of clock near the end of the fourth quarter, Frankie Lubu’s interception of a Costello pass ended the Cardinal’s final threat.

Love was held to 69 rushing yards, his lowest total of the season. Slowed by an ankle injury, Love came into the game as the nation’s leading rusher, averaging 198 yards per game.

After scoring on a 52-yard touchdown run on Stanford’s first play of the second quarter, Love ran 15 more times for 17 yards.

WSU outgained the Cardinal 430 yards to 198 in total offense.

Up Next
The Cardinal returns to The Farm this Friday night to host No. 12 Washington.

Ogwumike Shines in Final Game, Cardinal Beat Cougars to Finish Undefeated at Home

By: Joe Lami

Chiney Ogwumike enjoyed her final regular season game at Maples Pavilion.  As she led her team to victory over the Washington State Cougars by the final score of 84-64.  Ogwumike finished her Cardinal career with a new career high 37 points, 21 of them came in the first half.  Ogwumike also added 13 rebounds to achieve her 22nd double-double of the season.  She also achieved her 30th double figure scoring game of the year and later achieved her 13th 30-point game of the season.  She stated after the game “I really don’t care about points and statistics, all I care is that I do enough for us to win, even if I only score two points.”   She later added on her feelings of Saturday’s game “It just felt like another game.  I just care that we won, and that we are playing better basketball going into the post season.  We are growing as a team and that’s what matters.”

The Cardinal started the first half strong, getting the first five points of the game and forcing Washington State to call an early timeout.  Stanford led the entire first half, but did have struggles shooting from beyond the arc.  Stanford went 3 for 13 from three-point range in the first half with Bonnie Samuelson knocking two of them down.  Brianna Roberson drained the other.

Roberson, a freshman, had her most impressive half of her young Cardinal career.  She finished the first half with eight points, a new career high.  Roberson also added a rebound and an assist in the seven minutes that she played.  She finished the game with eight points, as she didn’t see much playing time in the second half.

The Cardinal shot the lights out from the free throw line, as they finished the first half going 14 of 15, for a 93%.

Stanford came out of the second half strong, as they went on a 10-0 run to start things up in the first 4:47.  The Cardinal defense came to play in the second half only allowing 23 points, forcing the Cougars to shoot a dreaded 28%.

Even though the Cardinal held Washington State to 64 points, three different Cougars got into double figures.  They were led by Lia Galdeira, who finished with 16 points.  Both Tia Presley and Sage Romberg finished the game with ten points each.

Amber Orrange went under the radar once again, but had one of her best performances of the year.  The Junior Point Guard finished just two points shy of her career high, scoring 20 points.  She also finished the game with eight rebounds.  “This was one of Amber’s best nights she’s ever had for us” stated head coach, Tara VanDerveer.  VanDerveer also pulled Orrange aside and congratulated her on a great performance.  The key to Orrange’s night “I was being a lot more aggressive.”

The Cardinal finish the year undefeated at home going into the Pac-12 tournament next week.  They will be ranked the first seed and will get a first round bye, and will play their first game on Friday, March 7.

Cal mistake prone again, falls to Washington State


Cal’s offensive numbers are eye-popping, but they don’t obscure the fact that the Bears are rapidly losing ground in the otherwise upwardly-mobile Pac-12.

The Bears fell prey to early miscues and turnovers again, and fell to Washington State on Saturday, 44-22.  With only one win over Portland State in the previous 12 months, Cal has dropped nine straight games to FBS competition and fell to 1-4 on the season.

Daniel Lasco’s fumble at WSU’s 3-yard line on Cal’s first possession and a bushel of penalties on the second poisoned Cal’s first quarter that ended with WSU leading 14-0.  In the previous two games, Cal trailed Oregon 27-0 and Ohio State 21-0 establishing a disturbing pattern that has Coach Sonny Dykes looking for answers.

“Right now we are having a very difficult time running the football, which is putting a lot of pressure on our offensive line,” Dykes said.  “We are not good enough up front to pass protect.  Jared (Goff) had pressure on him all day and got a little rattled because of it.”

Goff may have been rattled, but in Dykes’ system the pass plays just keep coming.  The true freshman signal caller again threw for 400 yards, attempting 58 passes that produced two lengthy touchdown plays.  But the Bears never got closer than 14-12 in the second quarter as Washington State’s Connor Halliday attempted 67 passes, completing 41 for a total of 521 yards and three touchdowns.

Ultimately, the 44,000 that attended saw another lengthy football game, filled with big plays but lacking in competitiveness.   The mistake-plagued Bears committed 11 penalties and five turnovers to rob the afternoon of any drama.

And while the Bears fluctuated between the mistakes and the home runs like Chris Harper’s 89-yard touchdown catch and run, Washington State was remarkably steady in moving the ball via the pass as Halliday was sacked just once.

“The offensive line played unreal,” Halliday said of his protectors.  “That was huge.  Those guys really got in a rhythm up front and dominated the game.  I think I got hit twice.  That’s a lot of fun back there when you have all that time to get rid of the ball.”

The Bears had beaten Washington State eight straight times prior to Saturday, but the slow start and mounting injuries put a stop to that streak.  Prior to the game, Dykes announced that center Chris Adcock will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury.  Also, this week safety Alex Logan retired due to recurring injuries and prominent pass rusher Chris McCain was dismissed due to repeated personal conduct issues.

During the game, the Bears lost linebacker Jalen Jefferson, safety Joel Willis and corners Stefan McClure and Kameron Jackson to injury, more bad news for a defense that has surrendered a whopping 45 points per game.

As for the rest of the challenging schedule and Cal’s mounting losing streak against conference competition, they will see three currently-ranked teams (Washington, Stanford and UCLA) as well as Oregon State, currently 4-1 and 2-0 in the conference in the final seven weeks.   On the positive side, the Bears could be healthier once the schedule eases in November with home games against USC and Arizona and a road trip to Colorado.

Next Saturday, the Bears face 12th-ranked UCLA at the Rose Bowl.