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Bears Stun Huskies, End Losing Streak

February 28, 2019
3,137

At a time when the Cal basketball team was at its lowest ebb, the Bears pulled off the upset of the year, maybe the upset of the 21st Century, Thursday night when they knocked off Pac-12 leader Washington, 76-73 at Haas Pavilion.

The Bears (6-22, 1-15 Pac-12) had lost a school record 16 straight games. The Huskies (22-6, 13-2) were ranked 25th in the country and cruising toward the league championship. And then the Bears turned the conference and the college basketball world on its head. They had to survive some harrowing final minutes, but when David Crisp’s desperation three-pointer clanged off the rim at the buzzer the Bears had the victory.

“I am just so happy for my guys to get a win over a really, really good team,” said coach Wyking Jones afterwards. “When you can say that every single player who played gave us something, it’s a great feeling. We were able to get a win because everybody gave us something.”

Jones has seldom been more accurate. All eight players who took the floor had a hand in the first conference victory since Feb. 3 a year ago. Whether it was Connor Vanover hitting shots or grabbing rebounds, Darius McNeill (19 points) draining threes, Justice Sueing fighting his way to important rebounds, Paris Austin dishing out assists (he totaled 9), Grant Anticevich hitting buckets at key times, Matt Bradley, Juhwan Harris-Dyson, Andre Kelly. They were all important and without the collective efforts, we are probably talking about a 17th straight loss.

This certainly wasn’t easy. The lead the Bears had fought to keep for most of the night seemed in danger as the Huskies mounted a final charge. Sueing stuffed an Austin miss to put the Bears up 71-66 with 5;17 left. But Jaylen Nowell hit a three-pointer and a layup to pull the Huskies even. Vanover put the Bears back up again with a short jumper, but Crisp, who had 21 of his 32 points in the first half, tied it again at 2:18. Those were the Huskies last points..

McNeill hit one of his two free throws for a one-point lead, which no one in the crowd of 6,441 thought was safe.. Sueing made a steal on the Huskies’ next possession and grabbed an offensive rebound after Vanover’s miss. That was negated by a shot clock violation.

The Huskies were denied when Sueing blocked Nowell’s shot at the other end with 35 seconds left.

Twelve seconds later Austin was at the free throw line and calmly hit two to make it a three-point lead. The Huskies had two more chances. Dominic Green missed a three, and Cal had the ball with 12 seconds left. McNeil was quickly fouled, but missed the front end of his one-and-one. Nowell missed a contested three, and after a bit of a scramble, the ball went out of bounds with 1.4 seconds left.

It was initially awarded to the Bears, but after the officials studied the replay they reversed it. Crisp had a not a clear but certainly decent look at his shot. It clanged off the rim and the fans went crazy.

After the traditional handshake with the opponents, the Bear players took a victory lap around the arena, exchanging high fives with the fans who were as surprised as they were delighted.

“We just wanted to stay together,” said Austin. “Once we got the lead with about three minutes left we wanted to make sure we defended.”

The Bears not only defended for the whole game, they scored. They shot 55.6 percent (30-for-54) from the floor and had a season-high 22 assists.

“I just have got to give it to my teammates,” Austin said. “We did a good job of moving the ball, but they were making shots.”

As they have done so often the Bears played a terrific first half leading by as many as eight. The advantage was cut to a single digit at halftime. When the Huskies took a three-point lead early in the second half, memories of the weekend in Arizona where the Bears were strong in the first half but wilted in the second, were in the minds of Cal fans. This time the Bears didn’t wilt. McNeill, hit a three to tie at 54 and when Austin scored on a lay-up the Bears were on top and never trailed again.

“The last two days in practice the guys have been like extra affectionate with each other,” Jones said. “Our huddles have been tighter than they’ve ever been. Just a ton of high fives, just a ton of them loving each other to the point where my assistants are coming up to me and going, ‘What is going on? What’s in the air?’ That gave me a little bit of an indication that they would come out and play well tonight. So my challenge to them before the game was ‘Let’s hunt plays not shots. Let’s hunt to make the right play. Whether it’s for yourself to get a shot, or for somebody else to make a shot.’ And they did that.”

The victory might at least temporarily quiet the calls for Jones to be fired, which have been oh-so-audible in recent days. The players showed their affection for their coach by giving him a shower, coat, tie, shoes and all.

“I’m soaking wet,” he said. “It was a great atmosphere in there (the locker room). Like I said, i am so happy for the guys. We have gone through this losing streak and they have all stayed positive. They have all continued to work and scratch and claw. They’ve gotten close so many times.”

After a day off the Bears host the Washington State Cougars in their home finale Saturday afternoon.

“It will be business as usual at practice tomorrow,” Austin said. “We have a game to play Saturday.”

Discussion from...

Bears Stun Huskies, End Losing Streak

Big C
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I have no idea how anyone would research this, but how many times has a 22-5 team played a 5-22 team... and in how many of those games has the 5-22 team won?

This was not the greatest game*, nor was it the greatest win, but in the close-to-500 Cal Basketball games I have been to, it surely must be the greatest upset! Can anyone cite another?

Go Bears!

* It was a very good game, though.
BEARUPINDC
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Big C said:

I have no idea how anyone would research this, but how many times has a 22-5 team played a 5-22 team... and in how many of those games has the 5-22 team won?

This was not the greatest game*, nor was it the greatest win, but in the close-to-500 Cal Basketball games I have been to, it surely must be the greatest upset! Can anyone cite another?

I've been following Minnesota since the Matz Stockman saga. I quickly noticed a somewhat
familiar fatalistic tone to their Gopherhole Board.It was mostly because they went 8-23 in Richard Pitano's
third season. On a 14 game losing streak, the Golden Gophers (at 6-19) beat 6th ranked
Maryland (22 - 4) 68 to 63. That had to be one of the biggest upsets of the 15-16 season.

BTW: Gopher fans aren't exactly thrilled with Pitano.

It would take me approximately 6 months to fully research this further.
Being a Cal fan: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave
CALiforniALUM
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I didn't watch the game. Looking at the box score no player on either team had more than 3 fouls. Did it seem like the refs were letting them play rather than calling it in their usual way? How much did the lack of foul calls contribute to the result?
socaltownie
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CALiforniALUM said:

I didn't watch the game. Looking at the box score no player on either team had more than 3 fouls. Did it seem like the refs were letting them play rather than calling it in their usual way? How much did the lack of foul calls contribute to the result?
Not much. Washington never got out of its 2-3 and we probably played zone 80% of the time. There just wasn't much of the inside/penetration game that gets whistles. Also helped that with both teams shooting well not a lot of loose ball rebounds.
PtownBear1
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Any chance this knocks UW out of the tournament? That would be amazing
59bear
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PtownBear1 said:

Any chance this knocks UW out of the tournament? That would be amazing
If they lose in Vegas, perhaps.
ilovetogobear
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Interestingly the 1961-62 team, former holders of Cal's longest conference losing streak, ended their losing streak also against Washington - in Seattle.
PtownBear1
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Looks like UW still has 3 games left. I'm guessing if they lost at least 2 of the 3 and an early exit in the tournament, there would be a solid chance the P12 gets no invites aside from the tourney winner.
TheSouseFamily
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PtownBear1 said:

Any chance this knocks UW out of the tournament? That would be amazing


Pretty unlikely. UW lost 3 spots in the NET rankings and is now #32 after the Cal game (and is one of very few top 100 teams with a Q4 loss).

Cal, however, moved up 25 spots and is now at #253.
UrsaMajor
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If we had beaten them in Seattle, it would mean a lot more to the committee. Road losses in conference aren't considered as bad as home. Nice that our sole conference win probably gives Larry Scott another hemorrhoid.
ducky23
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TheSouseFamily said:

PtownBear1 said:

Any chance this knocks UW out of the tournament? That would be amazing


Pretty unlikely. UW lost 3 spots in the NET rankings and is now #32 after the Cal game (and is one of very few top 100 teams with a Q4 loss).

Cal, however, moved up 25 spots and is now at #253.


That's interesting. I have nothing to back this up, but I feel like under the old rpi, they would've dropped a lot more
OneTopOneChickenApple
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PtownBear1 said:

Any chance this knocks UW out of the tournament? That would be amazing
No way. There has to be at least one team from Pac 12. Even if UW doesn't win conference tournament, they are in.
Big C
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Well, the team that won the conference tourney would be the one team in.

Still even if UW were to lose their last three and their first game of the conference tournament, they'd probably still make it as an at-large bid. But geez, they'd be trending downwards and would have last night's huge stain on their profile, so maybe not. However, it's highly unlikely they "lose out".
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