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Cal Basketball

Cold Shooting Dooms Bears in Loss to Huskies

February 20, 2021
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When Cal’s men’s basketball team beat talented Colorado last Saturday in Berkeley, it looked as if the Bears were turning their season around.

Then they headed to the Northwest and forgot to bring their collective shooting touch.

They hit just 36 percent from the floor in the 82-51 blowout loss to Washington State on Thursday. Saturday in Seattle they were even worse, taking 60 shots and making only 16 (26.7 percent). That wretched shooting is the main reason Cal (8-17, 3-15 Pac-12) lost to Washington (5-17, 4-13), 62-51.

The Bears missed the chance to push the Huskies into last place, a spot they now own by themselves. That’s not where you want to be.  

Leading scorer Matt Bradley, who came in averaging 18.9 points per game and hitting nearly 47 percent of his field goals, was just 3-for-16 from the floor, missing all four of his 3-point tries. There is at least a partial explanation for his difficulties. He was filling up another bucket on the Cal bench. 

“I was proud of Matt,” head coach Mark Fox said. “He had to ask out of the game several times tonight to get sick in the trash can. And he kept playing, the ball didn’t go in for him, but I thought he played courageously and he gave us all that he had.

“It was a tough thing for him to overcome.”

The Bears did show more heart than they did on Thursday, despite their shooting troubles they hung around for most of the game. They cut what was a 14-point Washington lead 5-plus minutes into the second half, down to a 3-point deficit. 

Cal Athletics
Kelly scores

But then the shots stopped dropping altogether. The Bears’ last field goal, a nifty drive by Jared Hyder, came with 8:08 left in the game. Still they were within seven as late as the three-minute mark.

Guards Quade Green with 17 points and Jamal Bey, 15, were the two Huskies the Bears had trouble controlling. It seemed every time the Bears made a push one of the two them would bury a trey or hit a layup.

Fox shook up his starting lineup, starting the game with Grant Anticevich and Andre Kelly on the bench.

“I just wanted to motivate them a little bit,” Fox said. “Those two are really great kids, and they have been solid players for us. But there’s another level we have to get to. I thought Andre really responded well, he had a double-double (12 points, 12 rebounds). 

“I thought Grant was more active tonight. He missed some open jumpers he needs to finish but that will come back.”

In the second half, Kelly had a midair collision with Washington’s Erik Stevenson. The Cal player lay on the floor for several minutes, was assisted to the bench, and disappeared behind it. Cal followers breathed easier when he came back and finished the game. 

“I just hope it doesn’t swell up on him,” Fox said.

Cal Athletics
Bradley on the move

Guard Joel Brown, who has seen a lot of minutes recently, did not play because of what Fox described as a lower leg injury. The coach could offer no guess as to how long he will be out.

Both teams started the game slowly, but Cal simply stayed that way. The Huskies gradually built their way to a seven-point halftime lead and quickly doubled it. However, Cal, playing much better defense than it had earlier in the week, stayed close most of the second half.

Cal wound up hitting just 3-of-17 from beyond the arc. The Huskies, who primarily play the zone defense that head coach Mike Hopkins brought with him from Syracuse four years ago, were more of a minor annoyance than a major impediment on defense. The Bears had many good, open looks, but their aim was off. It carried over to their free throws as they hit just 16-of-27. Eleven misses in a game lost by 11.

“You can’t leave 11 points on the free-throw line and expect to win,” Fox said.

Related:

Bears Pummeled in Pullman

WSU Preview: Cougs Won't Be Easy in the Palouse

Discussion from...

Cold Shooting Dooms Bears in Loss to Huskies

2,013 Views | 6 Replies | Last: 8 mo ago by HoopDreams
calumnus
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Kelly and Grant have not been the problem. Hard to see how benching them made sense.
stu
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calumnus said:

Kelly and Grant have not been the problem. Hard to see how benching them made sense.
Not that I could do any better, but it's starting to look like the plane is going down and the crew are randomly flipping every switch in the cockpit.
Golden One
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stu said:

calumnus said:

Kelly and Grant have not been the problem. Hard to see how benching them made sense.
Not that I could do any better, but it's starting to look like the plane is going down and the crew are randomly flipping every switch in the cockpit.
This plane has already crashed and is completely destroyed.
Big C
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Things are not as bad as they seem right now (well, not quite as bad) and they are also not as good as they seemed a week ago (when posters were gushing about Fox after one victory).
NVBear78
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What is going on with Grant's shooting??? I have never seen anyone so inconsistent. When he has a good game it looks like he should always shoot that way-then he has a game where he gets open looks and nothing is even close.... Even a mediocore shooting percentage from Grant and Matt would make up the points difference...
HoopDreams
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Big C said:


Things are not as bad as they seem right now (well, not quite as bad) and they are also not as good as they seemed a week ago (when posters were gushing about Fox after one victory).
can you point out which posters were 'gushing about fox'?

reminder: posters is plural

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