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Cal Hoops: Bears Drop Second Straight to Stanford

February 7, 2021

It was a different setting, but the same results as the Cal Golden Bears lost 76-70 to the Stanford Cardinal on Sunday night at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto. The game was the second between the two this week. Cal (7-14, 2-12 Pac-12) lost to Stanford (12-7, 8-5 Pac-12), 70-55 on Thursday at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley.

Both games played out similarly with the two teams playing close for the majority of the first half but Stanford putting together a run in the waning minutes to take double-digit leads into the locker room. Tonight the teams went back-and-forth and the game was tied at 22 after a Joel Brown layup with 4:24 to play in the opening half. But the Cardinal put together a 13-2 run over the final minutes to take a 35-24 lead to halftime.

The Cardinal jumped on Cal early in the second half, opening an 18 point lead before the first media timeout. Stanford led by as many as 19 points and Cal didn’t get it back to within single digits until there was 1:15 to play. The Bears got within six with 54 seconds to play after a Grant Anticevich three-point shot brought the score to 70-64. But Stanford senior forward Oscar da Silva was fouled at the other end with 39 seconds to play and made both of his shots, pushing the lead back to eight for the Cardinal.

After exchanging one free-throw a piece, Cal got within five after a Jarred Hyder three-pointer with 21 seconds to play. Cal fouled with 19 seconds to play but Stanford’s Max Murrell made both of his free-throw shots. Junior Matt Bradley missed a three-point attempt with 10 seconds to play, all but ending Cal’s last-ditch run at an improbable come-from-behind win.

“We didn’t end the first half very well and we didn’t start the second half the way we wanted. But we kept battling and gave ourselves a chance to make it interesting,” Head Coach Mark Fox said after the game. “But at the end of the day, our defense just isn’t performing at the level in which we need it to. And again tonight, the percentage we allowed was way too high to allow us to win on the road, or at home, for that matter.”

Once again, Cal had no answer for Da Silva, who scored 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field and snatched six rebounds. Da Silva, who leads the league in scoring at 19.2 points per game had 24 points and 11 rebounds when the teams met earlier this week.

“We have no one that matches up with him on our roster,” Fox said. “He’s long and he’s quick and I think he uses his quickness and speed really more so when I think he played more as a power player.”

Fox said Da Silva is too fast for Cal’s traditional post players in Andre Kelly, Lars Thiemann and D.J. Thorpe and too big for Grant Anticevich and Kuany Kuany.

“We made an attempt to take him off his spot a bit, maybe take away some angles,” Fox continued. “But we really didn’t do a good job.”

Cal’s frontcourt also struggled to contain Stanford’s seven-footer Lukas Kisunas, who was second for the Cardinal in scoring with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field. Overall, the Cardinal doubled-up Cal in the paint, scoring 44 points in the paint compared to Cal’s 22. Stanford shot 66.7% for two-point shots.

“It’s obviously a deficiency in our team, you know,” Fox said about giving up so many points in the paint for the third game in a row. “You go back to last weekend and Arizona just dominated the paint. And Stanford, their starting two-guard tonight is as big as our power forward. We’re small and until we can get bigger, we’re going to have to be very disciplined in how we box out. But I go back to a year ago and we were better defensively. And we’ve got the same guys. We have to play smarter and we need to be a little more physical than we’re being.”

The Bears were once again led by Bradley, who had 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting. But unlike the past few games Bradley has played in since returning from an ankle injury, Cal took a more balanced offensive approach. Hyder added 13 points in 13 minutes. Brown and grad transfer Ryan Betley both added 12.

For the second straight game, Cal struggled to not only keep Stanford out of the paint but also keep them off the foul line. After shooting 24 free-throws on Thursday night, Stanford shot 30 tonight compared to Cal’s 19. Overall, Stanford shot 58.3% from the field while Cal shot just 37.7%.

Despite being outrebounded by one, Cal did finish with 11 offensive rebounds compared to Stanford’s four. Cal ended up taking 13 more field goal attempts than the Cardinal, but that was largely offset by Stanford getting to the line so much and Cal’s poor shooting compared to Stanford’s.

“I thought our team played really hard,” Fox said. “Both teams played hard. It’s interesting with no fans, you know, to really evaluate how hard the teams are playing. But I thought both teams played hard despite the fact there’s no fans at the game.”

Next up, Cal plays Utah at Haas Pavilion on Thursday. The Bears’ last win was against Utah on January 16th.  In that game, Cal overcame a double-digit halftime deficit to beat the Utes, 72-63. That combined with competitive losses to USC and UCLA, which both sit atop the Pac-12 standings made it seem like Cal could be turning a corner. But after a close loss at Arizona State, getting blown out by Arizona and two decisive losses to Stanford, Cal finds itself in a six-game losing streak — the longest of Head Coach Mark Fox’s short tenure so far at Cal.

Since losing to Cal, Utah has only played four games but has won three of them. Oddly, Utah (8-7, 5-6 Pac-12) beat Washington State, Colorado, and Arizona but lost to Washington, which, like Cal, also only has two wins in league play. Utah is coming off a tight win over the Buffs in Boulder and a 15-point win at home against Arizona.

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Discussion from...

Cal Hoops: Bears Drop Second Straight to Stanford

2,508 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 2 yr ago by NathanAllen
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foreman must really be in the dog house

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HoopDreams said:

foreman must really be in the dog house

Fox addressed this a bit in the post-game presser. Basically said the way Brown and Hyder were playing and Stanford's height with Spencer Jones playing the two-guard spot at 6-7 didn't really leave room for Foreman. So, maybe not dog house, but definitely being beat out for time at the guard spot right now. Betley has a bit more height on Foreman and has at least knocked down some shots lately.
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