Two offensive stars were clearly on display at Haas on Friday night as Cal ended their two-game losing streak with an 81-75 win over the Washington Huskies. Jordan Mathews (31 points) and David Kravish (21 points) were the big scorers, but it was two bench players that made a huge impact on Cal's strong second half.
After the game, Coach Cuonzo Martin said, “I thought the two biggest keys for us tonight were Kingsley (Okoroh) and Roger (Moute a Bidias). I thought those guys gave us big minutes off the bench with great energy defensively.”
Their contributions don't show up in the box score. Okoroh played 17 minutes with two points and one rebound. Moute a Bidias had 5 points and did not get a board in 20 minutes.
But their contributions had a great deal to do with the fact that the Huskies shot 13 for 34 (38.2%) in the second half as Cal overcame a five-point halftime deficit.
Okoroh battled inside with huge Washington big man Robert Upshaw. “I thought King made some timely plays around the rim,” said Martin. “I thought King did a great job battling.”
Moute a Bidias did an outstanding job on Husky star Nigel Williams-Goss. Williams-Goss had an strong first half as the visitors built their lead, but had a much tougher time after the intermission.
“Roger's a big time defender,” said Mathews. “Coach is trying to get him a killer instinct on defense. He's a really good defender in practice and tonight he got to showcase his length, his athleticism. That was just a glimpse of what Roger can do on the defensive end.”
Martin went on to say of his sophomore wing, “He (Roger) needs to be a defensive stopper. As his offense continues to grow and mature he needs to be a guy that we can count on to take the best perimeter guys and take pride in doing it. I thought he did a great job.”
Williams-Goss had a much tougher time getting into the paint against Moute a Bidias.“He (Roger) did a really good job of battling and using his length,” said the coach.
For this first conference game, Cal's coach shortened his rotation. Dwight Tarwater played just eight minutes, and freshman Brandon Chauca two minutes. That meant that Wallace (38 minutes), Kravish (39 minutes) and Mathews (37) played heavy minutes in the victory. Martin suggested after the game that this pattern could be a common occurrence during conference play.