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Cal Basketball: Visiting WSU Pits Four-Game Win Streak Against Bears' Nine-Game Skid

The Cougars, one-half game out of 4th place in the Pac-12, visit on Saturday afternoon.

WASHINGTON STATE (13-7, 6-3) at CAL (9-14, 2-10)

WHERE: Haas Pavilion, Berkeley

WHEN: Saturday, 1 p.m.

TV/RADIO: Pac-12 Networks/810-AM

CAL-WASHINGTON STATE HISTORY: Cal leads the all-time series 81-54, but Washington State won 65-57 at Pullman on Jan. 12 and took both meetings last season.

CAL STORYLINES: The Bears are without a win since beating Arizona State on Jan. 2, having lost nine in a row, including 84-63 to Washington on Thursday night. Cal began the season 9-1 in home games but has dropped its past four. Saturday’s game will be the team’s fifth in a span of 10 days. . . . And now the Bears expect to go the rest of the season without Andre Kelly, their second-leading scorer (13.4 points) and top rebounder (8.4 boards), who suffered an ankle injury on January 29. On Friday Cal announced it does not expect Kelly to play again this season . . . . The Bears are now 17-69 in Pac-12 play since the start of the 2017-18 season . . . In the video above, Fox talks about the Bears' defensive slippage in recent games and suggests they may have to make schematic changes to compensate for the absence of Kelly . . . In order to rest his starters, Fox gave 12 players at least 8 minutes of playing time against the Huskies . . . The Bears have slipped to 11th in the Pac-12 in scoring (64.2 points) after scoring more than 63 points just twice during their nine-game losing streak . . . Freshman forward Obinna Onyanwu, who scored a career-best 10 points against UW, has grown an inch since arriving on campus last summer, Fox said. He is listed on the team’s official roster page at 6-foot-7, 220 pounds . . . Senior guard Jordan Shepherd, who leads the Bears in scoring (14.0), is shooting just 35 percent over the past five games.

WASHINGTON STATE STORYLINES: Picked eighth in the preseason Pac-12 media poll, the Cougars have won four straight games and are in sixth place, just a half-game back of Oregon and Washington in fourth. WSU has climbed to No. 36 in the NET rankings, making the Cougs a contender for their first NCAA tournament bid since 2008 . . . WSU's 66-60 win over Stanford on Thursday was its first road victory over the Cardinal in 11 years. WSU has not swept the Bay Area trip since 1993, when it beat a Cal team featuring freshman Jason Kidd and a Stanford squad that went 7-23 in coach Mike Montgomery's only losing season on The Farm . . . The Cougars lead the Pac-12 in scoring defense (62.1 points) and are allowing just 53.5 over the past four games. Opponents are shooting 39 percent from the field and 30 percent on 3’s against the Cougars . . . WSU is led by senior guard Michael Flowers (13.4 points, 3.2 assists), who scored 22 points at Stanford. WSU is Flowers’ third school — he averaged 21.0 points at South Alabama last season after 16.9 and 15.7 the two previous years at Western Michigan. He needs 23 points to reach 2,000 for his college career . . . Junior guard Noah Williams (11.1 points) is the son of Guy Williams, who starred at Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High and once scored 43 points in a game for WSU. . . . Completing the backcourt is junior Tyrell Roberts (11.0 points), a 5-11 transfer from UC San Diego, who scored more than 1,000 points in two seasons for the Tritons before they began their transitioned to Division I.

Cover photo of Washington State guard Michael Flowers by James Snook, USA Today

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo