Cal Basketball: Bears Absorb Worst-Ever Loss Versus Washington - 87-52
Cal's season-long one-game road winning streak ended with a gruesome thud on Saturday afternoon in Seattle.
Three days after winning away the Bay Area for the first time all season, the Bears suffered their worst defeat ever to Washington, a team that had lost its previous nine games.
Cal (11-16, 5-9 Pac-12) made just 5 of its first 34 shots -- that's 15.4 percent! -- on the way to an 87-52 loss to the Huskies (13-15, 3-12).
The Bears actually led 20-17, but UW answered by outscoring Cal 37-6 over the next 15 minutes.
Cal could do nothing against the Huskies' zone defense, which coach Mike Hopkins brought with him from Syracuse, where he was a long-time assistant to Jim Boeheim.
Cal coach Mark Fox, whose team beat the Washington State on Wednesday, was more disappointed with his team's defense.
"We started the game very flat," he said. "It looked like we couldn't score today . . . but our defense was a disaster."
Cal trailed 43-26 at halftime, watched Washington go 11-0 go start the second half, and was down 75-40 with 5 minutes left.
The 35-point margin eclipsed the previous worst Cal loss to UW, a 106-73 defeat on March 3, 2005.
"We haven't made very many stinkers this year. We've had some defeats. Today ws a stinker," Fox said. "We still have a lot to learn. We didn't play well and we have to give Washington credit for being ready to play.
"I didn't have our team ready to play today."
The game spoke volumes about both teams. Cal has struggled off and on offensively all season, and that problem rose up big-time against the Huskies. The Bears wound up shooting 24 percent with 17 turnovers.
For Washington, this was a long-awaited return to its form in the early season, when the Huskies beat Baylor and were 10-2 before Christmas. UW had it all going against Cal, shooting 52 percent from the field, including 11-for-22 from the 3-point arc.
Matt Bradley led the Bears with 14 points, but had just 3 points in the second half and finished 3-for-11 from the field
Paris Austin, who scored a season-high 19 points against Washington State on Wednesday, managed just 4 points. Andre Kelly also has played well recently, but he also wound up with just 4 points before fouling out.
Nahziah Carter scored 16 points for Washington and freshman Isaiah Stewart added 15.
PRE-GAME: Cal entered its weekend road trip to Washington having won just two Pac-12 road games since the start of the 2017-18 season.
With a win this afternoon at Washington, the Bears can make it two conference road wins in four days.
Cal kicked off the weekend with a 66-57 win at Washington State, its first win outside Berkeley in any game this season. The Bears were previously 0-7 in true road games, 0-10 away from home this season.
But with the conquest of the Cougars, the Bears (11-15, 5-8) entered action today in eighth place in the Pac-12 standings. Sure, the standings are clogged, and the Bears are just a half-game ahead of three teams tied for ninth through 11th place. They are also just one game back of seventh-place Stanford, which has faded after a strong start.
Cal beat Washington in Berkeley 61-58 in overtime on Jan. 11 when Matt Bradley banked in a 3-pointer with 6 seconds left in overtime.
Washington (12-15, 2-12) has won just once in 10 games since to slide into last place. The Huskies were picked third in the Pac-12. It was the Bears who were projected to finish 12th.
A victory today would give the Bears two conference road victories in a season for the first time since 2016-17, when they were 3-6 in those games.
Check back for in-game updates:
Cal starting lineup: G Joel Brown, G Paris Austin, G Matt Bradley, F Grant Anticevich, F Andre Kelly.
Washington starting lineup: G Jamal Bey, G Marcus Tsohonis, G Nahziah Carter, F Hamier Wright, F Isaiah Stewart.
15:42 1st H: Matt Bradley is off to a strong start and the Bears enjoy a lead at Seattle. Bradley had eight points on 5-for-5 from the free throw line and a 3-pointer. The Bears led 7-5 at 17:47 without having taken a field-goal attempt. They are 7-for-7 from the foul line. Nahziah Carter had seven of UW's nine points. Cal 12, Washington 9.
13:12 1st H: Washington turned the ball over on four straight possessions but the Bears could not add to their lead until Bradley knocked down a 3-pointer, doubling the Bears' lead to 6 points. Bradley has 11 points. Cal 15, Washington 9.
10:31 1st H: The Bears continue to lead, primarily thanks for Washington's seven turnovers. Jaden McDaniels, the Huskies' big freshman, going to the FT line for 2 shots after the timeout. Cal 17, Washington 11.
7:56 1st H: Cal is 10-for-10 from the FT line, accounting for half of the Bears' points. It's a good thing, too, because they are suddenly struggling to find good shots against the UW zone defense that you might watching at Syracuse, where Mike Hopkins was a long-time assistant to Jim Boeheim. Cal 20, Washington 19.
4:13 1st H: The Huskies have turned this game on its ear with a 12-0 run that included a five-point play. Hamier Wright nailed a 3-pointer at the same time as D.J. Thorpe was called for a Flagrant 1 foul on UW's Isaiah Stewart. The freshman made both free throws and Washington was awarded the ball (Carter missed an open 3). Cal has missed its past 8 shots and 10 of its past 11. The Bears have gone 4:27 without scoring. Washington 29, Cal 20.
2:09 1st H: This is quickly getting out of hand. The Bears are 1 for their last 12 shooting from the field and do not have a field goal since Thorpe's dunk gave them a 17-11 lead with 11:30 left. Cal is 4-for-18 from the field, 14-for-14 from the FT line. Washington shooting 61 percent. Washington 38, Cal 24.
HALFTIME: Washington 43, Cal 26. The Bears missed their final 10 shots of the half, held without a field goal for the last 11:30 of the opening period. They can only see the Huskies' tail lights because they are 16-for-16 from the free throw line. Cal was 21-for-24 from the FT line at WSU, so the Bears have made 37 of 40 over the past 60 minutes of action. However . . . nothing else has worked for the Bears, who are shooting 19 percent (4-for-21) from the field and have 10 turnovers. UW's zone is baffling them entirely. Washington, which has lost its past nine games, trailed 20-17 when it began a 26-6 surge to close out the half. Washington is shooting 60 percent (15-for-25), including 6-for-10 on threes. Carter has 11 points, McDaniels 10 (along with 5 rebounds and 5 assists) and Wright 9 for the Huskies. Bradley has 11 points for Cal, but scored all of them in the opening 6:45. Since then, he and the Bears have rarely gotten a good look at the basket. Washington is outscoring Cal 14-2 in the paint.
18:15 2nd H: The deluge continues . . . Tsohonis has made a pair of 3-pointers for the Huskies to open the half. Cal so far has a turnover and has had two shots blocked. The Bears have now missed 12 consecutive FGs and 14 of their past 15. This is getting ugly. Remember, the Huskies have lost nine straight games. Washington 49, Cal 26.
15:57 2nd H: The Bears continue to unravel, although Anticevich ended what seemed like a three-week drought by making a field goal. Actually, when he connected with 16:17 left, the Bears had gone nearly 15 minutes of game time without making a field goal. In the meantime, Mark Fox was whistled for a technical foul and did his best to get a second one. Washington 54, Cal 28.
11:44 2nd H: A running block, anyone? It just keeps getting worse for Cal. Andre Kelly, riding a string of strong games, picked up his fourth personal foul with 15:57 left, then was whistled for a technical foul, which counts as his fifth personal, so he is gone with 4 points (4-4 FTs) and 2 rebounds in 8 minutes.The Bears are shooting 16.1 percent (5-for-31). Washington 62, Cal 33.
7:14 2nd H: Will this be the worst Cal loss ever to Washington? It's in the running. Cal lost by 32 points, 109-77, at UW on Feb. 10, 2011. The margin was one point bigger, at 33, when the Huskies beat Cal 106-73 on March 3, 2005. The Huskies' lead was 34 points a few moments ago. Washington 70, Cal 38.