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Cal Basketball

Cal's Problems Continue in Loss to USF

December 5, 2018

The Cal basketball season continued to move in the wrong direction Wednesday night when USF came across the Bay Bridge and handed the Bears a 79-60 whipping at Haas Pavilion.

The second straight defeat at the hands of a local WCC foe -- following Saturday night’s 84-71 loss at Saint Mary’s -- dropped the Bears to 2-5. 

And as decisive as that latest score looks, it is misleading. The game, which USF (8-1) once led by 29, was much more one-sided than even a 19-point differential. The Bears, who took an early 8-4 lead were never really in it after that. They trailed by double digits at halftime, and were blown out of the gym early in the second. 

“We got beat by a better team tonight,” Cal head coach Wyking Jones said afterwards. “They more experienced and it showed.”

Did it ever.  Cal had what is becoming all too familiar problems on defense, leaving shooter after shooter wide open from beyond the three-point line. USF was 10-for-27 from beyond the arc, and Cal’s defense had little to do with some of the misses. They were open shots that were off target rather than well-guarded.

Jones gave all the credit to senior USF point guard Frankie Ferrari and his ability to penetrate, draw the defense to him and find an open man on the outside.

 And although the Bears seemed more willing on offense to look for a teammate rather than a shot, too often that extra pass ended up in the hands of one of the Dons or in the first row of the stands. USF had 20 points off turnovers.

Jones admired their intent, if not always the result.

“Tonight I felt like they tried to continue to play together. You didn’t see a ton of forced shots,” he said. “We just couldn’t find a rhythm offensively.”

The Dons had taken a 34-24 lead into halftime, and after Cal’s Andre Kelly hit three throws to open the second period scoring, San Francisco went on a 12-0 run, the first six on a pair of three-pointers by Jordan Ratinho, and the lead just grew from there.

USF, which came into the game with an average of plus 12.5 rebounds per game, ninth best in the country,  beat the Bears on the boards, 40-28, They had an 14-7 edge on the offensive boards.

“I saw a hunger in them there,” Jones said. “They wanted it more than we did.”

Kelly led the Bears with 17 points and nine rebounds, but his teammates were not up to their usual standard. Justice Sueing, who seemed to shake his shooting slump by going 6-for10 from the floor at Saint Mary’s, was 2-for-9, including 0-for-4 from three-point range. Matt Bradley was 2-for-8 and Paris Austin took just four shots.

Cal, which came into the game shooting 47.6 per cent from the floor, hit 38.8 Wednesday night, 35.7 in the second half. Jones felt the misfires had a ripple effect.

“When you don’t see the ball go through the rim the urgency to make a shot builds,” Jones said. “Our guys started to panic a little bit. That’s when you see silly fouls, that’s when you see guys not box out.”

The announced attendance was 4,039, but the crowd looked much smaller than that. The Cal faithful, especially the major donors, seem to be turning their backs on the program even this early in the season. Even the band didn’t show up, although the team’s record probably had nothing to do with that. Finals and the midweek tipoff might have played a role.

Although he was composed, professional and answered every postgame question, Jones has be feeling uneasy about his status. He is coming off a disappointiing first year, his second is off to a bad start, and he is working for a boss (AD Jim Knowlton) who did not hire him, 

Bears guard Juhwan Harris-Dyson, who has been bothered by a hand injury all year, apparently aggravated it in the first half. He left the game after being on the court just a shade more than two minutes. He will be evaluated today.


Discussion from...

Cal's Problems Continue in Loss to USF

How long do you want to ignore this user?
Poorly coached. Can't watch this team. Feel sorry for the players and fans.
How long do you want to ignore this user?
I'm just like the saddest Cal fan U-verse customer on the planet. Just ate some Bugles and listened to not Jay John on the radio while This is Us played on my TV. Not my finest hour.

Too sad to troll the fire Wyking boards. Going to bed.

Golden One
How long do you want to ignore this user?
The announced attendance of 4,039 is a joke. No way there were more than 1,500 people in the seats, if that many.
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