In no aspect of the game did Cal out-play Washington. †The Huskies out-rebounded Cal 48-33, with a 20-11 edge on the offensive boards. They scored more from the floor, more from the free throw line, and held an edge in turnovers. Cal did have an 11-10 edge in assists, but that was because Washington kept scoring off their own rebounds (16 2nd-chance points).†
"We talked about offensive rebounds at halftime," said David Kravish, "after the game, before the game. You have to box out. It's a team game, and we didn't play well as a team."
"It was pretty apparent from the start," said Cal coach Mike Montgomery, "that they were way more ready to play than we were. They took it to us physically and dominated us physically, and on the glass, in particular, they took way more shots than we did. We didn't get any rebounds, and they got a lot of second-chance opportunities."
Washington was clearly the more athletic team, and beat the Bears to what seemed like every loose ball in the first half. Neither team shot well, with the Huskies going 0-for-8 from behind the arc in the first half and finishing 2-for-11, while Cal missed all five of their deep shots after the intermission to finish 1-for-6 from behind the arc.
"If you go on the road and only shoot 36 percent and win by 15," said Washington coach Lorenzo Romar,"that means that you did a lot of good things except for making shots. Our guys were very, very active."
Washington was led by C.J. Wilcox's 19 points, while Aziz N'Diaye added 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting and 12 rebounds. The Golden Bears' leading scorer was Kravish, who netted 10 of his season-high 14 after intermission when the game was already decided. Allen Crabbe (nine points, eight rebounds on 3-for-12 shooting) and Justin Cobbs (nine points and one assist on 4-for-15 shooting) combined for what looked like their worst performance together in their Cal careers.
"They just played harder than us," Crabbe said. "We didn't make any plays to get back in the game, we didn't get any offensive rebounds, they just played harder."
The Huskies used a 16-0 run to put the game away in the second half of the first period. Cal scored just one basket in the final 8:52 of play and just two in the last 14:20. Additionally, from that 14:20 mark, they were just 3-for-10 from the charity stripe. Cal was outscored 24-7 during that stretch, effectively the difference in the final score.
"It's embarrassing to lose like that on your own floor," said a disconsolate Allen Crabbe.
Washington missed 25 shots (15-for-40) in the first half, but corralled 14 offensive rebounds (56% of their missed shots).
The second half was an even-up proposition, with the Huskies holding the scoreboard edge 28-27 and Cal the rebounding edge at 20-18.
In an effort to neutralize N'Diaye's height, size and bulk advantage in the low post, Cal head coach Mike Montgomery gave senior Robert Thurman his first career start. Thurman contributed four points, four rebounds and two assists, but stayed out of foul trouble. Richard Solomon stayed on the bench for more than seven minutes to start the game, and collected a foul just 41 seconds after entering the contest.
Kravish added a pair of blocked shots in the first half, and needs just two more rejections to move into Cal's top-10 all-time.
Probably the most telling item from the game is that there were no fewer than four sequences in the contest that began with a Cal player having both hands on the rebound of a missed Husky shot, and ended with Washington scoring. On the other end, time after time the Golden Bears would take the ball to the hoop, only to appear to try to avoid contact, and, usually, fail to finish the play.
"We played with no heart," said Kravish, "no passion. We went into halftime down 14, the consensus (was) that we had to play hard, and we didn't."
Cal will need to rebound from this loss far better than they rebounded during the game. Washington State comes in Saturday afternoon.†
"That's a team that gave Gonzaga all they could handle, and if they make a play or two at the end, they beat Washington," said Montgomery. "We can't take anyone in this league for granted."
Cal will try for a split with the Washington schools in their only contests against them this season. "No matter where you are," Kravish said, "losing is never fun. You win, everybody feels good, you lose, everybody feels like crap. We have another game this week, we have to find the passion, the drive, as a team, as a group. Coming out hard, playing for each other."